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75 Losing Jobs At CSN Houston

Jason Barrett

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Seventy-five of the 115 employees of Comcast SportsNet Houston were informed Tuesday their jobs will be eliminated if a bankruptcy judge approves a plan backed by the Astros and Rockets to sell the financially troubled network to DirecTV and AT&T.

Employees were informed of the potential layoffs as mandated by the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, which requires companies with at least 100 workers to provide 60-day notice in advance of certain plant closings or mass layoffs.

As company officials delivered the news, one employee said a funereal atmosphere descended over the network’s studios in downtown Houston, midway between Minute Maid Park and Toyota Center.

“You just watched rows and rows of people walk into a room and come out with letters telling them, ‘Hey, thanks for two years, and now you’ve got nothing,’” the employee said. “There wasn’t a lot of outward anger. It was pretty subdued.”

But after the announcements, another employee said, “Everybody was back at their desks, working on the next show.”

Based on details in letters prepared for city and state officials, 40 employees were notified their jobs will be retained by the AT&T/DirecTV partnership, which will rebrand CSN Houston as Root Sports Houston under a Chapter 11 reorganization plan pending before Bankruptcy Judge Marvin Isgur.

Isgur is scheduled to decide Oct. 2 whether to approve the plan, which is opposed by Comcast. If the reorganization is not approved, the Astros-Rockets-Comcast partnership will be liquidated and all jobs eliminated.

Root Sports will include distribution on DirecTV and AT&T U-verse in addition to Comcast. The AT&T/DirecTV partnership plans to drop its contract for Dynamo games, but team officials say the network has expressed interest in a new deal for the 2015 season.

Most employees who will be retained for Root Sports Houston are employed in game production. Also retained will be Rockets broadcasters Bill Worrell, Matt Bullard and Calvin Murphy; Astros field reporter Julia Morales; and sportscasters Bart Enis and Kevin Eschenfelder.

Astros announcers Bill Brown, Alan Ashby and Geoff Blum and Rockets analyst Clyde Drexler are team employees and are not affected.

Among those whose contracts are not being retained by AT&T/DirecTV, according to court documents, include reporters and anchors Tiffany Blackmon, Steve Bunin, Howard Chen, Bill Doleman, Sara Eckert, Cory Hepola, Kelli Johnson, John Kelly, James Palmer, Marius Payton, Leila Rahimi and Sebastian Salazar.

Several of those likely will be offered jobs with other NBC Sports Group networks. Johnson, Doleman, Palmer and Payton came to Houston from other NBC-owned networks.

The announcement came on the same day it was announced that CSN Houston has been nominated for 16 regional Emmy Awards, including several of those who face layoffs next month.

For more visit the Houston Chronicle where this story was originally published

 

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Eli Gold to Call Games in the Arena Football League

“Eli is the gold standard of sports announcing,” said former Titans and Rams head coach Jeff Fisher. “We are very excited to have him be a key component in helping us return the Nashville Kats and the Arena Football League to the Music City.”

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Eli Gold and the Nashville Kats
Courtesy: Nashville Kats

Eli Gold, who was not retained by the Crimson Tide Sports Network after 35 years calling University of Alabama broadcasts, will be taking his talents to Nashville. Gold has been named the play-by-play broadcaster for the Arena Football League’s Nashville Kats, who are set to kick off in April.

According to a release put out by the team, the games will air on Cromwell Media stations in Nashville, either on 102.5 The Game or Classic Hits 93.3.

“It is an honor and privilege for the Kats to have the legendary Eli Gold be our voice and be part of our franchise in a variety of ways,” said Nashville Kats founding partner and CEO Tamara Dadd Alan, an Alabama graduate. “We are not only excited to hear him on the calls of our games, but also how he will become a leader in the community as part of our franchise outreach.”

“I am so very excited about returning to the Arena Football League as the voice of the Nashville Kats,” Gold said. “I say returning, because I was the TV voice of the league back when the games were on NBC and TNN, and I came to love the product. The Nashville Kats are a franchise with a great history of success, and now with Jeff Fisher and Dean Cokinos heading the football operations, the new Kats should pick right up where the old Kats left off. I look forward to bringing you all the action of the 50-yard indoor war.”

“We are thrilled to be a part of the return of the AFL and the Nashville Kats franchise,” Cromwell Media Nashville general manager Shawn Fort said. “In addition to the great people involved like Jeff Fisher and Eli Gold, we are excited for the opportunity to continue to connect on a local level with football fans in Middle Tennessee.” 

“Eli is the gold standard of sports announcing,” said former Titans and Rams head coach Jeff Fisher. “We are very excited to have him be a key component in helping us return the Nashville Kats and the Arena Football League to the Music City.”

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Rob Parker to Launch ‘Sports Rap Radio’ in Detroit

“It will be young people getting opportunities and former athletes, from Detroit or with ties to Detroit.”

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Rob Parker and the Sports Rap Radio logo
Rob Parker Photo Courtesy: FOX Sports

Rob Parker, co-host of The Odd Couple with Chris Broussard on Fox Sports Radio, is launching ‘Sports Rap Radio’ in Detroit. Parker and a group, which includes former NBA player BJ Armstrong, will air the programming on WXYT 1270 AM through an LMA with Audacy who owns the signal. Currently, the station airs Audacy’s BetQL Sports Betting network.

The Detroit News was first to report the announcement and said the brand will feature an all-Black host lineup and plans to hit the airwaves in mid-May. Parker said the lineup will be all local from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and will also then carry The Odd Couple at its normal time of 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. About the lineup, Parker told the newspaper, “It will be young people getting opportunities and former athletes, from Detroit or with ties to Detroit.”

Parker said the intent is to build a network of stations in the top 20-25 black markets. He also said he will use the overnight hours to air podcasts with Black hosts.

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Andrew Fillipponi: Jac Collinsworth “Was Dreadful” at Play-by-Play

“Jac Collinsowrth was underqualified…for the position he was in in. He didn’t deserve to have the job, I’m glad he doesnt have that particular job anymore and I dont even feel remotely bad about sayiing it.”

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Andrew Fillipponi and Jac Collinsworth
Andrew Fillipponi Courtesy of 93.7 The Fan Jac Collinsworth Courtesy of NBC

Count The PM Team with Poni & Mueller hosts Andrew Fillipponi and Chris Mueller amongst those who will not miss Jac Collinsworth on Notre Dame broadcasts. The 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh hosts were responding to the news Andrew Marchand of The Athletic had reported earlier in the day that Collinsworth was being taken out of the play-by-play role for Notre Dame games on NBC.

“He just was terrible on those broadcasts,” Fillipponi said. “… if anyone thinks I’m being too hard on a guy who got his job in large measure because of who his dad is, feel free, if I ever lose my job to just dunk on me endlessly…Jac Collinsowrth was underqualified…for the position he was in in. He didn’t deserve to have the job, I’m glad he doesn’t have that particular job anymore and I don’t even feel remotely bad about saying it.”

Reminded that Collinsworth is a Notre Dame graduate, Fillipponi asked, “Do you know how bad you have to suck at the job to be a Notre Dame alum and they don’t even want to keep you on the broadcast?”

“Taking him off that assignment, I bet he’s livid,” Mueller said. “Because he wants to call his alma mater’s games. I wonder how Cris Collinsworth takes it? And it makes me think, ‘is Collinsowrth, the elder, the dad, how much longer is he going to be at NBC?’ If Cris Collinsworth is seeen as their top analyst and someone they want to have call their games until he’s ready to retire ten years from now, they are basically firing his son off of Notre Dame football games.”

“He was dreadful at the job,” Fillipponi added. “As a desk guy, in all those roles, pretty much dreadful.” Fillipponi also went on to say if the response is for Cris Collinsworth to leave NBC, he had a suggestion on who could take his place. “I’d put Greg Olsen with [Mike] Tirico on Sunday Night Football in a heartbeat…I think [Cris] Collinsworth is very good…the fact that virtually every fanbase hates Cris Collinsworth and thinks he hates thier favorite team, is proof positive that he is good at his job.”

In case anyone thought Fillipponi was just mad Jac Collinsowrth got the Notre Dame job because he is the son of Cris Collinsworth, he said, “You don’t hear me going on and on about nepotism with Noah Eagle, because I think Noah Eagle is excellent already at the job.”

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