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Marty & Miller Reunite

Jason Barrett




They will tell you it’s their last go-around.

But anyone who’s listened to “Marty & Miller” through two tumultuous decades — on three different sports talk radio stations — knows better.

This is Marty Tirrell and Ken Miller we’re talking about. And when they return to the airwaves at 3p.m. Monday on The Champ (KBGG, 1700 AM), it’ll mark a new chapter, not an epilogue.

“I believe we can still do it,” Miller said. “The buzz that has been created since it’s been announced exceeded my expectations.

“People love to listen to Marty and I talk sports. We’re just excited to do our show again.”

The origins of “Marty & Miller” date to the mid-1990s.

Miller, a Canadian by birth and a contrarian by nature, arrived in central Iowa on Memorial Day weekend of 1989 after being hired as a race caller at Prairie Meadows.

Tirrell, a carnival barker from Greenfield, Mass., who always seems mired in legal entanglements, moved to Indianola six years later, intent on pioneering a new radio format.

While meeting with potential advertisers at Prairie Meadows, it was suggested Marty meet Miller.

“I can remember the exact booth on the fourth floor where we were sitting,” Tirrell recalled. “We started talking and I knew right away, ‘That’s the guy.’ Like spontaneous combustion.

“I didn’t agree with a thing that came out of his mouth.”

Tirrell and Miller have reunited more often than Fleetwood Mac, once doing a show from inside a barber shop.

After Tirrell was fired from KXNO (1460 AM) in 2009 — following a profanity-laced tirade that was inadvertently caught on a live microphone — Miller began working with a variety of different partners.

“Matt Perrault and I had really good chemistry,” Miller said. “(Jim) Brinson and I took a long time to develop that. Ironically, at the end, I think it was better than it had ever been.”

When Brinson left for Arkansas, Miller drew strong numbers as a solo host.

KXNO then paired him with longtime media personality Heather Burnside, which lasted two days.

Miller was already exploring the possibilities of rejoining Tirrell and says his departure from KXNO is not a reflection on Burnside.

Still …

“It was going to be a challenge for me to argue with a woman,” Miller said. “People think I hate women. It couldn’t be farther from the truth. I hate women’s sports, but I certainly don’t hate women.

“I can argue with Marty and at the end of the day feel we had good banter, raised our voices a little. I’m not sure I could do that with a woman. And if I can’t, I have no chance.”

Tirrell, meanwhile, maintained a presence in the market despite working on low-power stations.

He’d pop up on morning television programs, as the play-by-play voice for the Iowa Energy or covering high school football and basketball games.

His name would also show up on court documents pertaining to creditors, his home being foreclosed, a dispute over payments for tickets to sporting events and a suit Tirrell filed against a former employer.

“I was never jealous of any one of Kenny’s partners,” Tirrell said. “I thought they all stunk. I really did.

“What I was jealous of was the time slot, and not being able to work with him. I missed him, but I wasn’t jealous of the partner.”

The Champ gives “Marty & Miller” a strong signal (10,000 watts), while they provide an afternoon jolt.

They’ll also be simulcast on KXLQ (1490 AM) out of Indianola

According to Radio Online, The Champ ranked 17th among Des Moines radio stations last winter, with 0.6 percent of total listeners 12 and older.

Miller helped KXNO, which will launch its new morning and afternoon programs on Monday, hold steady at No. 12 with 2.3 percent (second best among AM stations and tops in the sports talk format).

WHO (1040 AM) sets the bar, with 7.2 percent of listeners last fall.

“It means a lot,” said Robert Rees, program director for The Champ, “getting the guys who started sports talk radio in the market.

“It not only keeps us relevant — I actually think it’s going to give us a huge bump putting both of them on.”

In order to survive as long as Tirrell and Miller, however, you have to evolve.

Younger audiences prefer live-streams. Older listeners with hectic schedules often take an a la carte approach, catching up with their favorite shows via podcast.

So even if Tirrell and Miller tell you this is their last stop on the dial, it doesn’t mean they’ll fade away anytime soon.

“The way that the industry is changing, with all the new technologies, there’s various opportunities and avenues to listen to us,” Miller said. “There just came a time where we wanted to be the ones who made those decisions.

“And here we are.”

Credit to the Des Moines Register who originally published this story

Sports Radio News

Los Angeles Angels: Costs Don’t Justify Sending Radio Crew On Road

“We just found that the economics – 40,000-50,000 miles is not going to change that experience.”

Jordan Bondurant




The 2023 Los Angeles Angels begin their new season Thursday in Oakland, and almost 400 miles south of RingCentral Coliseum at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. The team’s radio broadcasters will be virtually alone in the broadcast booth calling the game remotely.

Terry Smith and Mark Langston, the Angels’ radio broadcast team, will not travel for road games this season. It marks the fourth year since the COVID-shortened season in 2020 that the team has decided to keep the radio crew grounded.

The Angels and the Toronto Blue Jays are the only two teams that don’t send their main English speaking radio broadcasters to road games. Both in Anaheim and Toronto, the moves are viewed as a cost-cutting measure.

“We just found that the economics – 40,000-50,000 miles is not going to change that experience,” Angels owner Arte Moreno said earlier this month in a press conference earlier this week.

As for the Angels’ Spanish speaking broadcasts, half of the 2023 season will air on KWKW. Rolando Gonzalez will be the play-by-play voice.

Gonzalez replaces longtime Spanish broadcaster Jose Tolentino, who told The Athletic that he was forced out of the role by the team.

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Sports Radio News

Mike Valenti: Mike Tannenbaum’s Mock Drafts Show Why He Got Fired As GM

“I think Tannenbaum’s gotta be drug tested, but I’ll take it.”

Jordan Bondurant




Former New York Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum released the third edition of his mock first round of the upcoming NFL draft on Tuesday, and one host at 97.1 The Ticket in Detroit couldn’t stand some of Tannenbaum’s selections.

Mike Valenti asked for some of the surprises that Tannenbaum had in the first round and lost it when Tannenbaum had University of Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker coming off the board fifth overall.

“What is this guy on crack? Maybe that’s why Tannenbaum lost his job as a GM,” Valenti said Tuesday on The Valenti Show with Rico. “Hendon Hooker is a system quarterback where Josh Heupel managed to create unnatural matchups by putting receivers out of bounds basically.”

“Automatically I hate this mock draft,” he added.

Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter falls to the home town Lions at 18th overall on Tannenbaum’s board, and Valenti doesn’t believe Carter waits that long to be selected. But in this case, with Carter dealing with charges related to a fatal crash in January that killed Georgia teammate Devin Willock and recruiting staffer Chandler LeCroy, Valenti thinks Detroit gets a steal if Carter is still available.

“I think Tannenbaum’s gotta be drug tested, but I’ll take it,” Valenti said.

To be fair, Tannenbaum did write that he was going “a different route” with this year’s mock.

“I’m sliding into the general manager chair for each team with a first-rounder and making my own picks,” Tannenbaum wrote. “This isn’t what I’m expecting but rather how I’d personally approach each Day 1 selection. And what follows is based off my own evaluations, preferences and philosophies.”

The first round of the NFL draft is on Thursday, April 27.

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Sports Radio News

Dan Patrick: NBC Created ‘Something That Was Brilliant’ With Flex Scheduling

“Networks were so upset that NBC would go ‘Hey, you know what? We’re gonna take that game and we’re gonna have it on Sunday night.’ Then FOX and CBS would be scrambling there.”





Roger Goodell wants flex scheduling to come to Prime Video’s Thursday Night Football package. It could happen this season, but we won’t know for sure until May after league owners decided to table a vote on the proposal. On Wednesday, FOX Sports Radio’s Dan Patrick joined the chorus of critics calling it a bad idea.

Patrick said that the league always prioritizes revenue. If it were thinking about the fans, this isn’t something that would even be discussed.

The idea of flex scheduling was first introduced for NBC’s Sunday Night Football package in 2006. The goal was to make sure the prime time TV package could deliver high quality games every week.

“NBC did something that was brilliant where they were able to flex Sunday night games,” Patrick said. “Everyone wanted it.”

While the fate of flex scheduling for Thursdays remains up in the air, we do know that flex scheduling is coming to Monday Night Football on ESPN this season. Patrick, who worked for NBC when the practice was introduced, said that it always took care of one broadcast partner by screwing others.

“Networks were so upset that NBC would go ‘Hey, you know what? We’re gonna take that game and we’re gonna have it on Sunday night.’ Then FOX and CBS would be scrambling there.”

Dan Patrick suggested that perhaps Amazon’s Prime Video doesn’t deserve the same treatment as NBC or ESPN. Far fewer people watch the Thursday night game than any other primetime NFL contest.

Whether or not flex scheduling comes to Thursday Night Football, Patrick says it does not guarantee to change the package’s reputation for delivering largely unappealing games.

“I’ve long said it’s crazy to say you have to play Sunday and then turn around and play Thursday and we’d always go ‘Man, these Thursday games aren’t good,’” he concluded. “Well, was it the matchup or just the quality of play?”

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