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Mo Egger: ESPN2, NFL Network Misled Fans With Bengals Pep Rally Coverage

“You can’t tell me that you’re covering the pep rally and then give me a handful of seconds – a few morsels – of the pep rally.”

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Earlier this week, the National Football League AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals hosted a pep rally at Paul Brown Stadium in their home city where the team gave away 30,000 free tickets to fans to send the team off to Super Bowl LVI in style.

The stadium was loud with chants of “Who Dey?” for the home team and featured player introductions, appearances from team alumni and speeches from members of the team to the fans in “The Jungle,” all concluding with a fireworks display that lit up the Cincinnati skyline along the Ohio River.

As the Bengals seek to #RuleItAll this Sunday in “The Big Game,” ESPN2 and the NFL Network both promoted the event and said they would broadcast it to fans who could not be at the event in-person.

One of the people who was unable to attend in-person was Mo Egger, afternoon host at ESPN 1530 in Cincinnati. Egger had hosted his Monday afternoon show from Twin Peaks Restaurant in West Chester Township, Ohio, and had to run some errands after it concluded at 6 p.m. While he was unable to attend the pep rally in-person, he disclosed that he listened to it on his car radio with Lance McAllister and Dave Lapham serving as on-air hosts.

“I think [they] did a very good job of describing what was unfolding on the field,” said Egger. “You got to hear all of the speeches; You got to hear the players being introduced… [It] was really, really good.”

Once Egger returned home at approximately 7:40 p.m., he turned on ESPN2, which said it would broadcast the pep rally on television. In fact, he had promoted it himself on his radio program earlier that day.

To his surprise, the network showed a 90-second cut of the rally, with shots of Bengals fans being at Paul Brown Stadium, and then moved on. Upon turning to NFL Network, which also said it would broadcast the pep rally, it was a similar situation: a short clip showing the event, followed by a brisk transition.

“Compared to what we were told [the networks] were going to show, they didn’t really show anything,” said Egger. “That’s okay, but you can’t tell me that you’re covering the pep rally and then give me a handful of seconds – a few morsels – of the pep rally.”

Egger’s frustration with the networks apparently misleading their viewers is something he views as a type of wrongdoing in sports media. While Egger was able to see plenty of clips from the pep rally on social media, other people may not have utilized or known to utilize that option to enjoy the event from afar, diminishing the congeniality that the NFL-produced event sought to foster.

“[I] love the NFL Network,” said Egger. “[I love ESPN]. ESPN2 last night: ‘We’re carrying the pep rally.’ Awesome! Great! If you’re not going to do it, don’t say you’re going to do it. Last night, they said they were going to do it and, well, they didn’t.”

Nonetheless, for Egger and other Cincinnati sports fans, the Bengals winning the AFC championship and having a chance to win their first Super Bowl game in franchise history is quite surreal, and they are just trying to take it all in prior to kickoff on Sunday.

“The scene… at Paul Brown Stadium: festive, celebratory, hopeful, vibrant. It was one of those [moments] that makes you kind of pause and go, ‘Holy crap. This is happening,’” explained Egger.

“A handful of times last Friday, I had NFL Network on when I was around the house, and they’re talking exclusively about the Bengals. Then… as I’m driving around, and I was in the car for a better part of an hour-and-fifteen minutes… I said to myself: ‘I am listening to a Bengals pep rally before the team leaves to go play in the Super Bowl. This still doesn’t seem like real life,’ and yet it is, and the planes have landed, and the team is in Los Angeles.”

Sports Radio News

Jonathan Zaslow No Longer With WQAM

An attempt to reach out to Zaslow for comment went unanswered.

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WQAM midday host Jonathan Zaslow is no longer with WQAM in Miami.

The radio station has removed his show from the website and references to him and his normal 10a-2p ET midday timeslot program have been scrubbed from the station website.

Zaslow tweeted at 5:19p ET confirming the news.

Whether or not this has any effect on his involvement with the Miami Heat broadcasts is unknown as of now.

Zaslow had been with 790 the Ticket since 2004. He was transitioned from Audacy-owned 790 to sister station AM 560 Sports WQAM last October. During his tenure he has worked with a number of established local voices including Joy Taylor, Amber Wilson, Brett Romberg, and Brendan Tobin amongst others.

WQAM has gone thru a number of changes, including a rebranding effort to call the station “560 The Joe”. That ended last year with the station returning to the AM 560 Sports WQAM brand listeners were more familiar with. What they have planned next in Zaslow’s timeslot is unclear but local listeners will likely get some answers next week.

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Sports Radio News

Vanessa Richardson Named Houston Rockets Sideline Reporter, Paul Gallant to Host Solo on ESPN 97.5

Vanessa Richardson will be on the sidelines for the Houston Rockets and Paul Gallant will host solo show on ESPN 97.5.

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Vanessa and Gallant

Changes are taking place in Houston sports media. First, the Houston Rockets will have a new television sideline reporter this season, and she’s a familiar name to Houston sports fans.

Vanessa Richardson, the now former co-host of ESPN 97.5’s Vanessa and Gallant, revealed that she will be on the sidelines for the NBA franchise covering the team for AT&T SportsNet Southwest.

She tweeted the news saying, “Elated to be the new Houston Rockets sideline reporter! I can’t wait to travel the country & share the stories of this dynamic team during 80+ games on AT&T SportsNet Southwest. I’ll continue to fill-in as a host/reporter for Astros broadcasts as well.”

Richardson’s co-host, Paul Gallant, tweeted that with Richardson leaving the show for the Rockets sideline gig, Vanessa and Gallant will become the Paul Gallant Show. The solo show led by Gallant begins Monday September 26th.

“We’re excited to have Paul host his own show”, said Todd Farquharson, General Manager of ESPN 97.5 & 92.5.  “He’s super creative, energetic, and likeable.  He’ll get the audience involved and have fun.”

Paul commented, “You know what I’ve always loved about sports talk radio?  That it’s interactive.  Whether through a phone call, text message, tweet or on Twitch, it’s the best place for sports fans to come together and celebrate…or vent.  And that’s what The Paul Gallant Show is going to be…Houston’s platform to talk about its teams. THE most interactive sports talk show in Houston.”

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Sports Radio News

Ken Carman: Al Michaels ‘Feels Untethered’ On Amazon Prime Video

“The thing that stuck out was Kirk Herbstreit ripping the elf,” said Carman. “Don’t be ripping Brownie the Elf, man.”

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The Cleveland Browns defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers during Thursday Night Football on Amazon Prime Video. 92.3 The Fan morning host Ken Carman applauded Al Michaels for his performance during the presentation.

“Al Michaels feels untethered for the first time. He’s not network television anymore and he can say whatever he wants. We interviewed him on the pregame show and I was nervous,” Carman said.

“He’s a legend,” co-host Anthony Lima added.

During the final play of the game, the Steelers fumbled a lateral into the endzone which the Browns recovered to make the final score 29-17. Michaels said “that may be meaningful to some of you. And you know who I mean”, alluding to people who had placed wagers on the game.

Carman, who hosts two-hours of pre-game coverage on the Browns Radio Network, continued to discuss how nervous he was interviewing Michaels. He also discussed how impressive Amazon’s behind-the-scenes production was, pointing out the only football broadcast with more cameras is the Super Bowl. More than 400 people work behind the scenes for Amazon Prime Video.

“The thing that stuck out was Kirk Herbstreit ripping the elf,” said Carman. “Don’t be ripping Brownie the Elf, man.”

Carman later said people angry that Michaels misspoke by saying the Pro Football Hall of Fame is “down I-71” instead of I-77 were unreasonable, and joked “Al Michaels hasn’t been on a highway in 20 years”.

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