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Shore Vows To Strengthen 105.1

Jason Barrett

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Back in February, when it was announced that Dave Shore would become the new programming director at Detroit Sports 105.1 (WMGC), his friends back in Los Angeles were understandably puzzled.

Why are you leaving this weather?

“I’m not in the weather business,” Shore said, laughing, over coffee on Thursday morning. “I’m in the sports business. I grew up in the Midwest. I can handle it.

“If Detroit isn’t the best … it has to be No. 1 or 2 of the top sports cities in America.”

Shore, 49, a radio veteran whose career has taken him through Los Angeles, Dallas, North Carolina, Oregon, Kentucky and Indiana, has a tall task ahead of him here, trying to take a sliver of the ratings away from chief competitor 97.1 The Ticket (WXYT).

It’s a tough battle, considering 97.1 is round-the-clock local — and among the top-rated sports-talk stations in the country, not just Michigan — while 105.1 remains local only from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays. Detroiters have proven time and again that they want local content, not national.

So no surprise, Shore, who takes over for Jason Dixon, who was the station’s programming director for its launch in August 2013, said more local programming is essential, and while he doesn’t have a time frame, he said, “I like to work fast.”

“You’ll hear more right away, you’ll hear more from us,” Shore said. “The bottom line, we’re not going anywhere. (Greater Media is) committed to local content. When you move to sports (format), you don’t do it to take a dip in the shallow pool. You have to get in it for the long haul.”

Among the new things you’re hearing on 105.1: Rob Pascoe is getting more of a presence on the update desk during ESPN Radio’s flagship morning show, “Mike & Mike”; Pistons pregame and postgame host Jake Chapman is starting to get more air time to talk about all sports; and on Wednesday nights, Chapman and veteran Detroit sports journalist (and former News staffer) Rob Parker are teaming up for a show.

Shore wouldn’t comment on the Parker-Chapman combo, other than saying, “What you’ll hear me do is, I will try a lot of things. Jake is one of our regular staff members. I want to hear him do all kinds of sports.”

Shore also already is starting the planning for beefed-up fall football coverage, which isn’t nailed down yet but figures to include more weekend programming geared toward Michigan, Michigan State and the Lions. Friday night high-school football coverage could be in the works, as well.

He may not be a Detroiter, but Shore knows the business, knows Detroit is a passionate sports town — and knows you can’t do enough local programming.

“Do I want more local programming?” Shore said. “I do.”

When the rapid growth will start is unclear, and Shore isn’t naming any names — though he said he values entertaining voices above anything else, because it’s an entertaining business. In past stops, he’s hired a longtime caller (Jay from Compton) to be a fill-in host, and even found on-air talent in comedy clubs.

Detroit Sports 105.1 has three regular shows under contract: Ryan Ermanni and Rico Beard weekday mornings; Matt Dery weekday mid-days; and Drew Lane and Marc Fellhauer weekday drive time. The station also has an excellent reporter in Denny Kapp, and a great producer/booker/update man in Tom Mazawey.

Shore said he’s spent his first weeks on the job taking everything in, including listening to the station’s shows — and analyzing the shows’ strengths.

One of the biggest knocks on 105.1 is that its billboard hosts, Lane and Fellhauer, are as likely to talk about an 80-year-old porn star as they are the Wings playoff series. Asked for his philosophy on how much sports his hosts should talk, Shore defended going off on government or pop-culture rants if they can grab listeners’ attention.

“If you and I meet for lunch, we don’t sit down and say, ‘Do you want to start with sports?'” Shore said. “So I don’t have a daily rule book for the guys.

“Remember, every market and every show is different. We’re 18 months old. If you go to most markets where they’ve started a sports station, and you’ve got guys who every day talk Xs and Os, they don’t do have half the ratings after 18 months that Drew and Marc have.”

Shore said Lane and Marc are just being themselves, and that’s important in any line of work. “You don’t want to be something you’re not,” Shore said.

While 97.1 remains the undisputed ratings champion in Metro Detroit, 105.1 gets decent numbers from Lane and Fellhauer, and the ratings book doesn’t include the number of folks who listen on streamed apps, or who download their podcasts. The podcast numbers, Shore said, are substantial.

Detroit Sports 105.1 landed the Pistons for the 2014-15 season, and continues to hold their rights — which could be huge if the Pistons turn things around, as they’re expected to do under Stan Van Gundy. It’s unclear if Greater Media will at least make a play for other pro teams’ rights, including the Tigers, who are a significant reason behind the massive ratings at 97.1. During Tigers off-season, 97.1’s ratings drop quite a bit — though, of course, nowhere near enough to knock it from its pedestal.

Shore acknowledges he spends a little time listening to 97.1, though he doesn’t obsess. He’s got his own house to fix up.

“I try to listen some,” Shore said. “But when you get to a place and you completely switch gears, I’ve gotta spend a lot of my time listening to my station.

“I check them out and I have mutual respect for the amazing job that they’ve done over the years. But there’s room for more.”

Credit to the Detroit News who originally published this article

Sports Radio News

Chris ‘Mad Dog’ Russo: I Don’t Do As Much Prep As You Think

“Sometimes the radio show is a lot better when it’s a little more spontaneous and you can craft it in your imagination as the day moves along, instead of having it programmed in front of you.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Chris “Mad Dog” Russo would much rather go with the flow for his radio show than try and put everything together ahead of time and hope it comes out well.

Russo was the featured guest on the Golf Digest podcast The Loop, and hosts Christopher Powers, Alex Myers and Steve Hennessey first congratulated Mad Dog on his induction into the Radio Hall of Fame last year. Russo mentioned how he had written a short speech but decided against that after seeing the other inductees run long with their speeches.

Mad Dog was asked about preparing for his SiriusXM sports talk show every day, and he said he really doesn’t put a ton of work into putting a show together.

“On certain days a little more, because on Mondays I do that NFL recap so that takes a little while to put that together at 5 o’clock – probably a couple of hours,” Russo said. “Outside of that not as much as you’d think. I mean obviously I’m gonna follow what’s going on.”

“Sometimes the radio show is a lot better when it’s a little more spontaneous and you can craft it in your imagination as the day moves along, instead of having it programmed in front of you,” he added. “This segment do this, this segment do that. Sometimes when you sort of ad lib it, and you figure it out as you’re moving the program into the second hour and the third hour, it’s a better show.”

Mad Dog talked about how he likes that his radio show is the reverse of when he does First Take on ESPN or High Heat on MLB Network. He likes not having a rundown packed to the gills for his radio show.

“The radio is more of a host’s medium,” he said. “So it’s up to me what we’re going to do.”

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Sports Radio News

Stetson Bennett IV Fires Back at Steak Shapiro Over Parade Criticism

“P.s.: I don’t like you very much mr Steak “and shake” Shapiro.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Georgia walloped TCU last week to win their second straight national championship, and the Bulldog community came together toward the end of the week to celebrate with a parade.

Quarterback Stetson Bennett IV took part in the parade, but 92.9 The Game host Steak Shapiro wasn’t thrilled with how Bennett acted during the celebration.

Shapiro on Tuesday took a shot at Bennett, who appeared to spend some time fiddling with a cell phone during the parade.

Tuesday night, Bennett responded first with a quote tweet.

Bennett followed that up with a longer statement he posted under his quote tweet explaining the situation.

“I appreciate your concern with my image/intentions/loyalties/obligations (as well as your willingness to reach out to me to confirm them),” Bennett wrote. “You obviously thought quite deeply about some motives I might’ve had.”

Bennett said ultimately he was trying to soak up the moment with his teammates, and he was just trying to make sure the celebratory mood was set with the right music on his phone.

“So to finish it off nice and neat: I was controlling the aux and playing bangers so sed and Chris and I could have a blast on our last ride into Sanford,” he said. “That’s pretty much the gist of it.”

Bennett finished with a little dig of his own at Shapiro.

“P.s.: I don’t like you very much mr Steak “and shake” Shapiro,” he said. “But to be fair, I’m not a fan of your work either.”

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Sports Radio News

Ryan Edwards Moves to The Sports Zoo on KOA

“Edwards has been on the radio in Denver since 2009. He spent eight years with 104.3 The Fan. He also did a short stint at Mile High Sports Radio.”

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Ryan Edwards is staying with KOA, but his hours are about to change. The Denver sports radio staple is moving off of Broncos Country Tonight to join Alfred Williams and Dave Logan on The Sports Zoo in afternoon drive.

“I am thrilled to join radio and football legends Dave Logan and Alfred Williams on The KOA Sports Zoo,” Edwards said in a press release. “I look forward to bringing a fans’ perspective to the Denver Broncos and all things Denver sports.”

Edwards has been on the radio in Denver since 2009. He spent eight years with 104.3 The Fan. He also did a short stint at Mile High Sports Radio.

He joined iHeart Denver in 2017. He was on Orange & Blue 760 before the company replaced the station with a conservative talk format. He moved to KOA in 2019, where he has worked on Broncos Country Tonight with Benjamin Albright.

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