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ESPN Signs Vitale To New Deal

Jason Barrett

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Hall of Famer Dick Vitale, one of sport’s most influential and recognizable personalities, has reached a new contract extension with ESPN to continue as a college basketball analyst with the company through 2016-17. Vitale will call some of the season’s top games across ESPN networks, including regular-season action primarily on ESPN and ESPN2 and the Men’s Final Four for ESPN International. The agreement was announced by John Wildhack, ESPN Executive Vice President, Production and Programming.

“Dick is the ultimate ambassador who has always recognized the importance of both educating and entertaining the audience,” Wildhack said. “He puts his heart and soul into everything he does – his work, his life, his family – and we are all better for it. We are thrilled to have his unmistakable presence on ESPN for years to come.”

Vitale added, “I am just so honored to be at ESPN for over three decades. I am absolutely thrilled, at my relatively young age of 75, ESPN feels I am still passionate enough to talk about a game I love, college basketball. I am just so grateful to be part of the ESPN family. Without ESPN, there would no Dickie V; there would be no Hall of Fames. I am forever indebted to them.”

Vitale joined ESPN during the 1979-80 season — just after the network’s September 1979 launch — following a successful coaching career. He called ESPN’s first-ever major NCAA basketball game – Wisconsin at DePaul on Dec. 5, 1979 (a 90-77 DePaul win). Since then, he’s called more than a thousand games.

Over the years, Vitale has been widely recognized for his work and his positive impact on others. Just recently, he was honored by the American Cancer Society for his dedication to cancer awareness; by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) with a Court of Honor Award; as well as by Seton Hall University with the Humanitarian Award.

Beyond the numerous awards he’s received for his work, including the sport’s highest honor in 2008 (Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductee in the contributor category), Vitale has been celebrated for his many charitable contributions. He’s been an outspoken and passionate fundraiser and board member for The V Foundation for Cancer Research and has also worked closely with the Boys & Girls Club and Make-A-Wish, among other organizations.

While his knowledge, preparation and enthusiasm are unparalleled, his “Vitale-isms” have become part of the sports lexicon, including “Awesome, Baby!,” “Get a TO, Baby!” and “PTP’er.” Vitale, who has authored nine books, has been selected for nine halls of fame. In addition to TV, he contributes to numerous other ESPN outlets, including ESPN Radio, ESPN.com and more.

Vitale’s roots are in teaching the game he’s loved since childhood. Following college, he got a job teaching at Mark Twain Elementary School (Garfield, N.J.) and coaching junior high school football and basketball. He began coaching for eight years at the high school level in 1963, and in 1970, moved on to his first of seven years of college jobs with Rutgers and later University of Detroit. In May 1978, he was named head coach of the NBA’s Detroit Pistons, the job he held prior to joining ESPN.

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101.9 The Horn in Austin Sold to Norsan Media

Norsan has appointed Edgar Saucedo as Southwest Market President overseeing all of the company’s Texas operations and Ramon Loo as Austin Program Director.

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Logo for 101.9 The Horn in Austin, TX

A Radio Insight report says Norsan Media has purchased 101.9 The Horn in Austin, Texas from Genuine Austin Radio. According to the report, Norsan had already been operation a couple of Genuine Austin Radio’s stations and will now take add the rest of their stations, which also includes country stations 99.3 FM.

The report also says Norsan has appointed Edgar Saucedo as Southwest Market President overseeing all of the company’s Texas operations and Ramon Loo as Austin Program Director.

The Horn used to also be on 104.9 FM and was the University of Texas flagship station for Longhorn athletics. That stopped when Norsan took over the signal to air Regional Mexican programming. The Texas Rangers games air currently on The Horn.

Should anything change with the programming or format at The Horn, we will keep you posted.

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AJ Hoffman Headed to Mornings on San Antonio’s Sports Star

“Excited for my next chapter post-Vegas and stoked to start building an audience in San Antonio!”

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Photo of AJ Hoffman and a logo for 94.1 San Antonio's Sports Star

AJ Hoffman announced via his X account he will be back on local radio in Texas doing mornings at San Antonio’s Sports Star. “Life announcement,” Hoffman wrote. “I’m moving back to Texas. Starting May 6, you can find me back on local radio, doing mornings on San Antonio’s Sports Star. Excited for my next chapter post-Vegas and stoked to start building an audience in San Antonio!”

Hoffman had worked for several years at ESPN 97.5 in Houston and was most recently in Las Vegas serving as the executive vice president and director of digital content for Pregame, an information site for sports wagering.

Hoffman had hosted the popular show, The Blitz, with Fred Faour for more than 10 years and then became the station Program Director in 2019. He exited the station in the summer of 2021 to take the position with Pregame.

San Antonio’s Sports Star made a change earlier this year in mornings when Rudy Jay left the station in mid-January. RJ Ochoa, Managing Editor of the ‘Blogging the Boys’ website, took over for Jay, doing the show with station Program Director Rob Thompson.

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Steak Shapiro About Pat McAfee: “Dude, Relax”

“That is the definition of cringe. You have to be authentic.”

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Graphic for The Steakhouse on 92.9 in Atlanta and a picture of Pat McAfee

Sports radio has spent a lot of time during this football offseason talking about Bill Belichick. From his ending in New England to the search for a new head coaching position to being a free agent in the sports media world, his name has come up often. Steak Shapiro and Sandra Golden hit on the topic this week during The Steakhouse on 92.9 The Game in Atlanta.

A lengthy story from ESPN’s Don Van Natta Jr., Seth Wickersham and Jeremy Fowler this week reported Belichick may not have landed the Atlanta Falcons head coaching position because of a conversation Falcons owner Arthur Blank had with New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft. Another part of the story says the executives around Arthur Blank didn’t have Belichick in their top 3 of candidates which had interviewed for the position.

The same report also divulged that Belichick is expected to sign a deal with Omaha Productions to provide analysis and is interested in potentially coaching either the Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles or New York Giants after taking this year off.

The same day, The Pat McAfee Show had Belichick on as a guest and announced the coach would join McAfee and team for their annual Draft Spectacular.

Shapiro and Golden talked about the article as it related to Atlanta, but also about Belichick’s appearance on McAfee’s show. “[Belichick] on McAfee trying to be this lighthearted guy that loves The Pat McAfee Show, it’s a stretch dude, that is a stretch.”

“That is the definition of cringe,” Golden replied. “You have to be authentic.”

Shapiro does an impersonation of McAfee talking excitedly about hanging out with Belichick and said, “Dude, relax, relax…the whole thing…I wish we hadn’t gotten started on this…”

Back in late January, McAfee had said on his show about Belichick, “I would like to let everybody know…I will make this promise that if Bill Belichick is going to do TV, ol’ Pat McAfee will be in the running to try to get Bill Belichick to join our progrum [sic],” McAfee said. “Belichick… knows everything about the NFL. Every game that’s ever been played…every player that’s ever been great — that’s why he was so great on [NFL 100 All-Time Team]. And after what we saw on College GameDay, he’s got moxie too. He’s great on TV, I think we’ll all be incredibly lucky if that’s the case.”

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