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Steve Haywood Dead At 49

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In radio talk, there is one trait needed above all others – and that is the ability to create the conversation.

Steve Haywood had that, and the sports knowledge to back it up. It’s what made him a popular show host on WAUK-AM 540 ESPN. He knew how to stir the pot, and his passion for Milwaukee and its teams was well known in sports circles.

Haywood passed away from heart failure early Sunday morning. He was 49.

“Have known Haywood for 20 years. Passionate Bucks fan,” Chuck Freimund of WSSP-FM 105.7 The Fan posted on Facebook. “I’ll miss my sports debates with him at games!!!”

Many in the community shared their condolences online after hearing the news. That included a good number of those in the media.

“Hard to hear that Steve Haywood passed away,” Bill Michaels, of the state-wide “Bill Michaels Show,” wrote on Sunday. “We had so many good times covering the Bucks and just chatting life in general. I’ll miss the laugh the most.”

Haywood was a graduate of Milwaukee Tech High School and went to UW-Whitewater. Lately, he had been an outspoken member of the crowd to keep the Bucks in the city.

“Sorry to hear about the passing of my friend Steve Haywood, a well-known Milwaukee sports personality,” former OnMilwaukee.com writer Eugene Kane posted on Facebook. “For many years, Steve was my go-to guy for sports information concerning the Black community. He will be missed as a professional and a friend.”

“Steve Haywood. A real class act. Tremendous loss,” wrote Andy Olivares, who does play-by-play for the Chicago Bears and worked with Haywood while at ESPN Deportes 1510 AM. “Very sad time indeed …”

“Every time I saw Steve Haywood, he made me smile,” wrote Kevin Holden of WDJT-TV CBS 58. “Steve brought a passion and energy to every press conference, every work day. Even the physical troubles he faced never changed the fact that Steve was a champion of spirit. We’ve learned a lot from you, Steve Haywood.”

ESPN 540 posted news of Haywood’s passing on Facebook and its website.

“It is with great sadness that we report the death of our teammate, mentor and friend, Steve Haywood, who passed away this morning,” the radio station posted Sunday.

Drew Olson, a former OnMilwaukee.com staffer and sports radio colleague, wrote that Haywood faced a number of health ailments including diabetes and kidney problems. Haywood had both legs amputated.

“He had every right to be bitter, but instead he handled all of his issues with grace and laughter,” Bill Johnson, who co-hosted “The Game” with Haywood, told Olson for the station’s story.

“I think he was in a lot more pain than he ever let on to any of us. He went through it with a smile and with laughter. I hope nobody has to go through what Steve did the last 15 years of his life. If you do, and you can do it the way Steve did, I’ll tip my cap to you.”

I had the opportunity to meet Haywood when I worked with Scott Wisniewski on Friday night high school football game broadcasts on 540 ESPN. Haywood and former Packers player Mark Chmura came out to one of our first broadcasts. Haywood stayed in the press box and spotted for us.

Later, like many others in media, we’d stay in touch through social media. Haywood always had a positive attitude despite the negative turns his health seemed to take. He will be missed.

Godspeed.

Credit to OnMilwaukee.com who originally published this article

Sports Radio News

NBC Sports Names Al Michaels To Emeritus Role

The partnership will keep Michaels on for the Olympics and NBC’s NFL playoff coverage.

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Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images

NBC Sports, which had been the home of Al Michaels since 2006, will still feature the veteran broadcaster despite Michaels’ moving to Amazon for Thursday Night Football.

The network announced that Michaels will still be a part of NBC Sports’ high-profile broadcasting properties including the Olympics and NFL Playoffs. Michaels’ last broadcast with the network had been Super Bowl LVI in February, his eleventh Super Bowl.

NBC Sports Chairman Pete Bevacqua said in a statement, “Revered by viewers and colleagues, Al has been the soundtrack for many of the greatest moments in sports television history. We are thrilled that he’s staying in the family and raising the stature of our events for years to come.”

“I’m looking forward to continuing my longtime NBC relationship while also launching the Thursday Night Football package on Amazon this fall. A special thanks to NBC Sports Chairman Pete Bevacqua and the folks at NBCUniversal for their help in making this happen,” Michaels said.

Michaels moved to Amazon Prime Video this season for their Thursday Night Football package. He will be paired with ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit. This season will mark his 37th NFL play-by-play campaign in primetime.

Following another historic broadcasting moment in which Michaels deftly demonstrated his expertise and versatility, he became just the second sportscaster in history to receive a News Emmy nomination for his coverage of the San Francisco earthquake during the 1989 World Series.

In addition to the 11 Super Bowls, Michaels has worked nine Olympics and called eight World Series.

In December 2020, Michaels was honored with the 2021 Ford C. Frick Award for excellence in broadcasting by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. Michaels is one of only five distinguished broadcasters to be recognized with the baseball honor and the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Pete Rozelle Award (Dick Enberg, Lindsey Nelson, Jack Buck, and Curt Gowdy).

One of television’s most respected journalists, Michaels has covered more major sports events than any sportscaster, including 20 years as the play-by-play voice of Monday Night Football. He is the only commentator to call the Super Bowl, World Series, NBA Finals and host the Stanley Cup Final for network television. In addition, Michaels called the classic 1985 championship boxing match between Thomas “Hit Man” Hearns and “Marvelous” Marvin Hagler.

Among his many accolades, Michaels has captured eight Emmy Awards – seven for Outstanding Sports Personality – Play-by-Play and one in 2011 for the Lifetime Achievement Award, and has three times (1980, 1983 and 1986) received the NSSA Award from the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association; he was inducted into the NSSA Hall of Fame in 1998. Michaels was named Sportscaster of the Year in 1996 by the American Sportscasters Association, and, in 1991, he was named Sportscaster of the Year by the Washington Journalism Review.

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Sports Radio News

Thom Brennaman Continues to Search for a Second Chance

Brennaman has been searching for a broadcasting gig since he spoke a homophobic slur in August 2020 on a Cincinnati Reds broadcast.

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USA Today

The last time Thom Brennaman sported the microphone for a major broadcast was August 19, 2020. It was game that featured a doubleheader between the Cincinnati Reds and the Kanasas City Royals and in between the two, Brennaman blurted a homophobic slur that has thus far kept him off radio and television.

Brennaman has struggled to find his footing since that error. Recently, Brennaman recorded an episode of Tell Me A Story I Don’t Know, a podcast hosted George Ofman. That episode was available Tuesday and in it, Ofman asks where Brennaman thinks he’ll be in six months.

Brennaman said, “I have no idea. I really don’t. There were a couple of times I thought that maybe somebody out there was going to give me a chance to broadcast again and then this same thing comes up again.”

Brennaman sounded baffled that he’s still searching for work, citing other influential local leaders and what they opined in the days after the incident. “You know what you find out George, the guy who’s considered to be the leading voice of the LGBT community here in Cincinnati, he’s a big executive with Johnson and Johnson, a guy named Ryan Messer. He had written, and I had never met Ryan Messer at this point in time, like two days after what I said, he wrote a letter to the editor of the Cincinnati Enquirer, local paper, that Thom Brennaman should not be fired. There is room for growth here in so many areas and a great opportunity for him, for the gay community, for the Reds, for our society.”

Brennaman added that the two met as well as did Brennaman with other leaders in the LGBT community at the time. “I reached out to the guy and made contact with him and he’s the guy who’s house we went to that I made reference to earlier in listening to a bunch of the stories with some gay leaders. But anyway, I said ‘if you have people there – and I know you do – that are gay that work there, I would put up the amount of hours that I have spent in the gay community in some form or fashion over the last year against anybody you have that works in that office that’s gay’.”

Despite his efforts, the broadcasting veteran is dismayed that it’s failed to sway opinion, “it’s almost like in some cases it just falls on deaf ears.”

Regardless of where he is at now, he’s confident that eventually he’ll be afforded another opportunity. “But I ‘d like to think there’s somebody out there – and there will be and all it takes is one – is just to say ‘you know what, this was a mistake. Here’s the documentation of what the guy’s tried to do since then. We’re going to take a chance – answer some tough questions – and take a chance and get him back in the booth.”

And if another opportunity doesn’t present itself? “If it doesn’t happen, it’s not going to be the end of my life.”

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Sports Radio News

The Rundown With Jeff Michael Coming To SportsMap Radio

“The Rundown with Jeff Michael will debut on June 6.”

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Jeff Michael is getting a promotion at SportsMap Radio. He is moving from the part-time staff into a new midday show.

The Rundown with Jeff Michael will debut on June 6. The network describes the new two-hour show as energetic and fast-paced.

“Sports talk radio always meant the world to me,” Jeff Michael said in a press release. “Having an opportunity to reach such a large national audience is something I do not take lightly. While I’m so grateful for the opportunity, my focus will always be on creating captivating and informative content.”

Michael has been with SportsMap Radio since 2020. He has also been a prolific host in the podcasting space.

“I feel this is a perfect format for Jeff to excel,” CEO David Gow added. “From listening to fill-in appearances, you can tell he has tremendous command of his audience. You cannot easily teach what Jeff Michael already possesses.”

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