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Miklasz Prepares For Change

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Bernie Miklasz is the most well-connected member of the St. Louis sports media, with many sources near and far, and has been a force on the internet and social media as well as in print. He doesn’t mince words, as he’s paid not only to provide information but also give his opinion.

But those offerings soon will be on the move. Miklasz, who has been a sports columnist for the Post-Dispatch since returning to the publication in 1989, has his farewell pieces this weekend in the paper and its online component, STLtoday.com.

On tap is a “Bernie Bits” column Saturday in which he plans to “do stuff like pick my favorite moments, worst moments, favorite athletes, least favorite, favorite events, biggest regrets, my biggest mistakes, etc.” He added that his finale on Sunday will be “personal in nature … and probably overly sentimental.”

He doesn’t want to get into details about his decision to leave the company for which he has been employed for more than a quarter century and take an offer to be on the air and write for the website of St. Louis sports-talk station WXOS (101.1 FM), which he has been associated with in a variety of ways for six years — most recently making regular on-air guest appearances.

It’s a big change, and possibly a big risk, for a guy who is 56.

WXOS’ main identity is tied to the Rams, as it has been the flagship outlet of the team’s radio network since the station adopted the jock-talk format in 2009 and much of its programming is football-related. But the Rams might be gone after this season and the full impact that would have on the station is uncertain.

“I gave that some thought but in the end it was a non-factor,’’ Miklasz said. “The Rams are an asset, but the station’s ratings and financial success isn’t dependent on airing Rams games or related events. … Working in sports media, the more material you have the better. So I hope the Rams stay. But if the Rams move it doesn’t mean the station will go off the air, or I won’t have a show, or I will sit and stare at my laptop, unable to think of topics to write about.”

John Kijowski, who runs 101.1 and is “ecstatic” about Miklasz coming aboard full time, said there is a “Plan B” if the Rams leave.

“We didn’t build the business model with play-by-play,” he said. “The concentration was Monday-Friday” from 6 a.m.-7 p.m. “That’s still really important. … It doesn’t change our business plan, but having an NFL franchise is so valuable it definitely would be missed.”

CHANGING TIMES

Miklasz is highly popular and received a special deal at the Post-Dispatch two years ago when he expanded his duties and gave up his daily show on WXOS, so he is relinquishing something that at least on the surface seems much more solid long-term than does venturing into the fickle radio field — in which format changes happen frequently. On the other hand, the newspaper industry — including the Post-Dispatch — certainly isn’t the same as it was even five years ago. Media increasingly has become a bottom-line business, where corporate profit goals often supersede what is in the best interest of individual employees. Again, this isn’t limited to the Post-Dispatch — it’s a way of life in many media outlets. Just ask people at many of the local TV or radio stations.

So Miklasz moves on.

“It’s a big world out there,” he said. “Plus, I could talk and write about Cardinals baseball 365 days a year, and a significant percentage of the local population would be happy.”

THE NEXT CHAPTERS

Now Miklasz will combine his top professional love, writing, with returning to the air on a daily basis. It’s familiar territory as he has hosted a radio show on numerous stations over the years. This time, he’ll be on 101.1 FM from 7-10 a.m. weekdays and bump the last two hours of the ESPN Radio show hosted by Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic — a move that took some negotiations between WXOS and ESPN to accomplish.

The arrival of Miklasz, who is to start Aug. 31, will lead to other lineup tweaks — each subsequent show is to start one hour later than it now airs. Kevin Wheeler will be on from 10 a.m-1 p.m., Chris Duncan and Anthony Stalter from 1-3 p.m., followed by Randy Karraker, D’Marco Farr and Brad Thompson moving to the 3-7 p.m. slot.

Meanwhile, Hensley vows that Sports in the Post-Dispatch and its website will remain sturdy.

“We have an opportunity here to embrace change and to make things better than ever,” he said. “But the bottom line is this: We will continue to be the undisputed leader in St. Louis when it comes to providing daily coverage and commentary on our teams. No question.”

To read the article in its entirety visit STL Today where it was originally published

Sports Radio News

Peter Schrager: ‘Next Good Morning Football Host Has Massive Shoes To Fill’

“I don’t know where they are going for that and I don’t play coach or GM. I’m just going to sit back and if they ask my opinion, I’ll give it.”

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This week, Good Morning Football ended up winning a Sports Emmy for the best daily studio show. It is a show that has turned into part most football fans’ morning routines. However, there will be new people on the panel eventually with the departures of Nate Burleson and Kay Adams

This week, one of those left, Peter Schrager, was on The Pat McAfee Show. He did not have a name for McAfee that would fill the role Adams leaves behind and he isn’t going to interfere in the process of the executives picking the next host. 

“I would think that there is going to be a long line of people who will want that,” he said. “Those are massive shoes to fill. I don’t know where they are going for that and I don’t play coach or GM. I’m just going to sit back and if they ask my opinion, I’ll give it. But, for now, I trust the executives to hire someone who is going to take care of that hosting job.” 

As for Burleson’s seat, the show has used a number of ex-players to fill-in. Schrager likes it that way because he can learn many different stories each week: 

“Nate and I can finish each other’s sentences. Now, you have a guy I don’t know the story this player is going to tell. I don’t know where he’s going to take it and I think it’s kind of cool for us.” 

Last summer, Schrager hosted The Flying Coach podcast on The Ringer with Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay. Unfortunately, there will be no season 2 of that show this summer. That doesn’t mean there won’t be another season of the podcast in the future though. 

“I won’t do it without McVay. I begged him. He’s just out….He’s getting married this offseason. He’s got his honeymoon. He’s like, we’ll pick it up another offseason. I’m upset. I love doing it. All these new coaches, Sean and I would have had a good time with it and we talked about it, but it’s his decision and he’s saying no and I totally get it. He’s really good at it and he liked it. He’ll have opportunities and you see some of these numbers that these guys are getting. Trust me, he’s aware.”

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Shan & RJ: ‘Inside The NBA Was Trying To Prevent A Riot Last Night’

“You know that moment? Everyone’s joking around. Everyone’s having fun, then someone doesn’t take the joke as a joke anymore and all the fun is sucked out of the room and things are awkward and serious?”

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Things were very far from normal on Thursday night on the set of Inside the NBA. During the postgame show, Warriors fans threw objects at Charles Barkley as TNT was broadcasting live outside of the Chase Center in San Francisco.

Friday morning on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas, Shan and RJ discussed the scene and said things felt out of the ordinary long before anything was even thrown.

“You know that moment? Everyone’s joking around. Everyone’s having fun, then someone doesn’t take the joke as a joke anymore and all the fun is sucked out of the room and things are awkward and serious?” Shan Shariff said. “That’s what happened yesterday on Inside the NBA both in the pregame and the postgame.”

Barkley had been picking on Warriors fans calling them annoying and describing San Francisco as having “dirty ass streets full of homeless people” throughout the series.

Shariff said even in the pregame show, it seemed that the Inside the NBA crew was wary of the crowd gathered behind them.

“It felt like yesterday instead of having fun and cutting loose, it felt like they were trying to prevent a riot.”

After a rolled-up t-shirt struck Barkley, he got up and acted as if he was going to throw a ceramic coffee mug into the crowd. Shariff said it was clear that Ernie Johnson and Kenny Smith thought Barkley was about to be involved in an altercation of some sort.

RJ Choppy disagreed though. His immediate thought in seeing the video was that Barkley was just taking his ribbing of the crowd to the next level like a WWE superstar might.

“I think he knew the wrestling role, but I don’t think the other guys did,” Choppy said.

Sean and RJ expounded on the wrestling comparison, saying that he had a specific event in mind. He compared the way the crowd treated Barkley on Thursday night to how the crowd at ECW’s One Night Stand in 2006 treated John Cena. Cena and security may have thought they knew what was coming, but it was clear when fans started throwing chairs at the WWE champ that their ire was more serious than anticipated.

There can be peace for the time being. TNT’s NBA season ends at the conclusion of the Western Conference Finals. It will be interesting to see if this animosity returns in the 2022-23 season.

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Sports Radio News

Don La Greca: ‘Howie Rose Was The Only Sports Talk Host As Passionate About Hockey As Me’

“When you look at the history of sports radio, the only person that I can think of that called games and was [as] passionate about hockey as I am that had a regular radio show was Howie Rose.”

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Don LaGreca has been working on Rangers radio broadcasts since 2005, and has served as the backup play-by-play announcer for the last few seasons, filling in for Kenny Albert when he is unable to be on the call. Because of Albert’s responsibilities in calling national playoff games on television amid the new media rights agreement between the league and its partners (ESPN and Turner Sports), La Greca has called more Rangers games of late, and received positive reviews.

Yesterday on The Michael Kay Show on 98.7 ESPN New York, Kay mentioned the compliments callers have been giving La Greca for his ability to call hockey games, some of whom credit him for introducing them to the sport.

“The one thing hockey is is underexposed,” said La Greca. “Because you hear a lot of people say, ‘Boy, I didn’t realize how much fun this sport is; how great it is to go to a game,’ because a lot of us don’t grow up around it.”

La Greca realizes that he is in a unique position being the co-host of a sports radio show and an NHL play-by-play announcer, giving him a responsibility to communicate and opine on the game of hockey to his listening audience at large. He considers himself the second person to have such a distinction – the pioneer of which, while he may no longer be calling hockey games, still frequently discusses the sport on Twitter.

“When you look at the history of sports radio, the only person that I can think of that called games and was [as] passionate about hockey as I am that had a regular radio show was Howie Rose,” said La Greca. “And Howie Rose has been out of the sports radio game for 25 years.”

Rose was with WFAN from its launch on July 1, 1987 as its weekday nighttime host. Additionally, he served in the same role as La Greca, backing up Kenny Albert’s father Marv on Rangers radio broadcasts – where, in 1994, he delivered the illustrious call of Stephane Matteau’s game-winning, double-overtime goal in game 7 that sent the team to the Stanley Cup Finals. One year later, Rose left WFAN to begin calling games for the NHL’s New York Islanders on Sportschannel, and did not host a sports radio show during his time as a lead hockey play-by-play announcer.

While there are other sports radio hosts in the New York marketplace that exhibit a passion for hockey such as Boomer Esiason and Gregg Giannotti, La Greca is the only one who actively calls the games – akin to how Michael Kay is the only active New York sports radio host who regularly calls professional baseball.

“You don’t have somebody who is as close to the sport as I am to have this kind of forum, so maybe there are a few people like, ‘Hey, I’m a fan of Don. I really don’t like hockey, but he calls a few games so let me listen,’ and it kind of opened a door that otherwise wouldn’t have been opened” said La Greca. “….I don’t think it’s anything that I’m doing. It’s just an opportunity that I have, and it is humbling and it’s pretty cool to hear and I hope those people stick with the sport.”

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