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Damon Bruce, A’s Team President Agree To Live Streamed Debate

“When you’re led by a guy like that, it’s no wonder that your fanbase has dwindled.”

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Oakland was once a three-sport city. Throughout each year, Oakland-based fans could catch Athletics baseball, Raiders football and Warriors basketball without having to drive across a bridge to San Francisco. That all changed in 2019 when the Warriors left Oracle Arena in Oakland and relocated to the glamorous new Chase Center in San Francisco. After the first metaphorical domino fell, the Raiders officially relocated to Las Vegas, Nev., and now play home games in the new $1.9 billion Allegiant Stadium.

The Athletics are the lone professional team remaining in Oakland and play their home games at RingCentral Coliseum. Yet proposals within different cities, including Las Vegas and Portland have made it entirely plausible that the A’s may follow the Warriors and Raiders out of town.

The Athletics are in the midst of a two-game series against the San Francisco Giants at Oracle Park, a stadium that was entirely privately-funded and has consistently attracted many fans. After a photo of empty seats at the ballpark last night was shared online, Oakland Athletics Team President Dave Kaval tweeted an emoji and tagged a Twitter account that posts pictures of empty stadium seats – despite the total attendance figure of 32,000. The Athletics, through their first seven home games of the season, are averaging a crowd of just under 8,000 fans per matchup. Kaval questioned whether San Francisco-based media would comment on the lack of attendance after he had opined earlier in the day that Oakland does not receive “fair and balanced” media coverage.

Damon Bruce, the co-host of Damon & Ratto on 95.7 The Game in San Francisco, replied to Kaval saying that the station’s parent company Audacy has not directed him to discuss a single subject, including fan attendance. Additionally, he claimed that Kaval and his team are tacitly engaging in “intentional fan suppression” because of the owner’s direction of the team.

This began a Twitter exchange between the two, which ended in an agreement to hold a live-streamed Twitter debate about the Athletics organization’s treatment of their fans.

Bruce has a $5,000 appearance fee which he will donate to the Alameda Food Bank, and Kaval said that he will match it by contributing another $5,000 of his own.

While Kaval originally thought the debate would be this Friday, Bruce has yet to agree to a date and has refused to partake in it live on his show.

“Because we’re not giving three hours to any single subject in the middle of the NBA playoff[s] and the day after the NFL draft,” said Bruce in a tweet as to why he prefers to have the debate off the air. “There are levels to this.”

On Wednesday, The Morning Roast on 95.7 The Game reacted to the Twitter exchange between Kaval and Bruce.

“When you’re led by a guy like that, it’s no wonder that your fanbase has dwindled,” co-host Joe Shasky said of Kaval, “and I don’t blame the fans at all. You’re being run into the ground and they’re trying to leave.”

Kaval appeared as a guest on The Morning Roast last year and, according to show co-host Bonta Hill, did not directly answer any of the questions they posed to him. While he is not an Oakland Athletics fan himself, Hill said he feels bad for those who root for an organization Kaval runs.

“You’re a team president,” stated Hill. “You shouldn’t be commenting on whether or not a stadium’s empty…. Everything about it was minor league…. He’s a carnival; He’s a circus act.”

Hill believes that Kaval’s Twitter exchange and forthcoming Twitter debate with Bruce is a plea for attention amid an inauspicious start to the 2022 regular season both on and off the field.

The sentiment around the Bay Area seems to be that the team will soon be headed elsewhere, leaving the city of Oakland with no professional sports teams of its own. He does not blame Athletics fans for being dismayed with the current state of the team and for neglecting to show up to games this year.

“It’s just tone deaf,” asserted Hill. “You can’t draw 5,000 people right now because you’ve lost all the faith in your fanbase.”

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Jeff Rickard Named Program Director of WFNZ in Charlotte

“After our first conversation I knew Jeff was the one to take us to the next level.”

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Jeff Rickard is headed to Charlotte. The sports radio veteran has been named the new program director of WFNZ, one of the Southeast’s premier sports radio brands.

Rickard replaces Terry Foxx who announced in February that he was leaving Charlotte to take over KUT in Austin. 

“We are committed to making sports radio even bigger in Charlotte, adding the 92.7 FM signal in March was just the beginning of that commitment,” Marsha Landess, Regional Vice President of Radio One, said in a press release. “Having a successful veteran like Jeff Rickard join our team will help take us to the level that a passionate sports city like Charlotte deserves. Jeff brings to WFNZ extensive sports experience, talent, drive, and a passion for success. He will be a great complement to our incredibly talented local Charlotte on-air team. After our first conversation I knew he was the one to take us to the next level. As the flagship station for the Charlotte Hornets as well as Charlotte FC we are looking forward to an incredibly successful future with Jeff leading the charge.”

Rickard’s resume in sports radio speaks for itself. He was most recently the brand manager at WEEI in Boston, a role he exited in January. Prior to that, he spent six years at 107.5 The Fan in Indianapolis serving as both a weekday host and the station’s program director. He has also worked nationally for ESPN Radio, FOX Sports Radio, and SiriusXM, and spent time during the early part of his career working in Denver and Salt Lake City.

“I had been planning on taking a professional sabbatical this year but after meeting with Marsha Landess and learning more about Radio One, I began to get more excited to get back to work,” shared Rickard. “Radio One as a company, combined with Marsha’s leadership and the potential for WFNZ, was just too appealing to not be a part of. I am extremely grateful to Radio One for this opportunity and can’t wait to start working with the talented staff in Charlotte. My family and I are all in on this situation and can’t wait to get started on this new chapter.”

Not one to waste time diving in, Rickard officially stepped into the Charlotte offices today to meet his new staff.

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Kirk Herbstriet Wants To Be Held To Same Standard For NFL As College Football

“Herbstreit was on The Pat McAfee Show on Friday and he said he is already at Pro Football Focus in Cincinnati doing his research.”

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The NFL schedule was released last week, and Thursday Night Football has a lot of interesting matchups for its first year on Amazon Prime. It is also a new broadcast booth with Al Michaels and Kirk Herbstreit on the call. 

With Herbstreit now adding Thursday Night Football to College Gameday, he has already started preparing for the upcoming season. Herbstreit was on The Pat McAfee Show on Friday and he said he is already at Pro Football Focus in Cincinnati doing his research.

“I’m just trying to lay a foundation,” said Herbstreit. 

Herbstreit told McAfee that whenever anyone asks him to talk about a college team, he can quickly tell them what the DNA of that team is. Now he wants to bring that level of preparation to his NFL broadcasts. He will look at a different matchup every week this summer to get a more detailed idea of what each team is about: 

As for his connection with Al Michaels, Herbstreit mentioned he has gone out to dinner with him a couple of times and he wants to make going out to eat with his broadcast partner a frequent deal.

“Hung out with him 2-3 times. Had a chance just to get to know him. When you go into a new deal, I love like Wednesday night dinner, I want to make a staple and just hang out and get to know him and hopefully he will get to know me. When you do that, it allows you to have natural chemistry.”

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Andrew Mason To Succeed John Clayton At 104.3 The Fan

“Mason comes to The Fan from DNVR, a digital outlet where he provided written and audio content for the last three seasons.”

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John Clayton passed away earlier this year. That left 104.3 The Fan without a lead Broncos writer for the 2022 season. On Monday, the station announced that it had hired a successor in Andrew Mason.

Mason comes to The Fan from DNVR, a digital outlet where he provided written and audio content for the last three seasons.

“Mase’s work speaks for itself as one of the market’s most respected analysts when it comes to writing about and discussing the Broncos,” Raj Sharan, The Fan’s program director, said in a press release. “Replacing someone of the legendary stature of John Clayton was not something we took lightly, and we believe Mase is the perfect person to pick up that mantle and bring tremendous credibility and content to our rapidly growing digital platforms.”

Andrew Mason has a lot of credibility with Broncos fans. He has covered the team for 19 years. He has also written a book called Tales from the Denver Broncos Sideline.

The Fan won’t be his first foray into Denver radio either. Mason has previously been a host on Mile High Sports Radio and the defunct KDSP- AM.

“I’m thrilled to join The Fan team and add what I can to the efforts of building Denver’s premier online destination for Denver fans,” said Mason. “Being tasked with replacing a legend like John Clayton is a responsibility I take very seriously, and I’m honored The Fan has entrusted me with this opportunity.”

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