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Changes Come To 107.5 The Game

Jason Barrett

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Starting Monday, one familiar voice for Midlands’ sports fans will be missing from WNKT-FM, 107.5 The Game. Meanwhile, another familiar voice (and face) will join the lineup of Columbia’s top-rated sports-talk station, though not for the first time.

Departing is Michael Haney, co-host for 107.5’s “Halftime” show. He’s headed to Nashville with a goal of getting into the music industry. Coming on board is longtime WOLO-TV 25 sports director/anchor Tim Hill. He’s slated to team with Jay Phillips in the station’s 1-4 p.m. time slot.

In each case, Haney and Hill said it’s about fulfilling a dream.

Start with Haney, a 107.5 regular since the station signed on in November 2007. The Columbia resident and 2003 USC graduate shared a microphone with Phillips for three hours each weekday, and then produced (and occasionally shared a microphone on) Heath Cline’s “Gametime” show from 4-7 p.m.

Haney said he’ll relocate the week after Labor Day to Music City, where he hopes to work with singers and songwriters.

Patrick Davis, a Camden native and writer of songs for, among others, Darius Rucker, Jewel and Lady Antebellum, “has been a mentor for me,” Haney said. “We’ve talked about this for years.

“This is my window,” he said. “The longer I wait … I don’t know if the opportunities will be there.”

Haney’s move opened a spot for Hill, who until 2008 augmented his local TV presence by serving as half of the “Matt & Tim Show” for SportsRadio 1400 The Team. That ended seven years ago when Barrie (now with ESPN) moved to Dallas. Hill said he never lost his love for the freedom of live radio and has filled in as a guest host at 107.5 on several occasions.

“I love (TV), don’t get me wrong,” he said, “but it’s a completely different thing than radio. You get instant feedback (from listeners) in radio like no other format. If you want to have your finger on the pulse of sports issues, this is the only way to get it.

“(Taking on the radio job) was an easy call. I’m not worried about burning out; I’ve juggled it before, and anyway,” he added, laughing, “I know Jay will do 95 percent of the work.”

Hill’s desire to get back into talk radio – it helps, he said, that WOLO-TV is just down Gervais Street from 107.5’s studios – made things easier for WNKT’s program director Brent Johnson, who said Dave Adair will take over Haney’s afternoon producer’s role, while Jennifer Jensen replaces Adair in the mornings.

“Tim adds something to the show with his great quick wit. It’s a win for all of us,” Johnson said. “And TV-25 is excited, too. With both of us doing cross-promotion, it’s a good, good thing.”

Haney also sees his move that way, even if he’s taking the bigger risk. Still, at 34 and single, he says, this is the time to do what he’s doing.

“The music business has been a passion of mine for a long time,” he said. “Music is the only thing that could pull me away from sports.”

His past suggests as much. After earning his USC broadcasting degree, Haney says he walked into the office of Phil Kornblut, longtime host of “SportsTalk” on the S.C. Radio Network, and “told him I’d work for free” to get a foot in the door. He later worked at an Anderson radio station, where he was “selling my own ads and sleeping on a couch” while commuting to Columbia to work weekends.

Johnson, though, understands why Haney is moving on. “Being originally a music guy myself, I’ll be living vicariously through him,” he said. “He’s following his dream.”

Hill also feels that way about his move. “The back-and-forth (of radio) is what I enjoy the most, talking with random people (that) I had no idea I’d be talking with five seconds before. … That’s the fun part, what I miss in TV.”

Haney says he’s “proud of what we did here, and we kind of caught USC in its golden age,” citing the Gamecocks’ back-to-back College World Series victories (2010-11) and 33 wins in three football seasons (2011-13).

“It’s been fun every single day,” Haney said, and smiled. “I mean, we got to talk sports all day long.”

Credit to The State who originally published this article

Sports Radio News

Andrew Fillipponi: Peter Burns Made ‘Innocuous Joke’ To Ben Watson

“So wait a minute? Because you believe in Jesus Christ you care about your wife more than other people? What are you talking about?”

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The on-air spat between SEC Network host Peter Burns and analyst Ben Watson continues to be bandied about in sports media circles, with 93.7 The Fan hosts Andrew Fillipponi and Chris Mueller discussing the topic Tuesday.

“I’m on Team Burns,” Fillipponi said.

“Forget who’s team you’re on,” Chris Mueller said. “I think you’ve do have to keep the wives and children out of this.”

“What are you talking about, keep the wives and out of it?!,” Fillipponi asked.

“Do we believe this is work or shoot here?,” Mueller wondered.

“Oh, I think this is real,” Fillpponi added, which Mueller agreed.

“Do you think a close fist from Ben Watson hit Peter Burns?,” Mueller asked.

“No, I think he picked him up by the lapels,” Fillipponi said.

When the subject of Watson’s religion was brought up, Fillipponi then pointed out the absurdity of the situation.

“So wait a minute? Because you believe in Jesus Christ you care about your wife more than other people? What are you talking about?”

“I think he might have a shorter fuse and not taking in humor that Peter Burns was giving out,” Mueller said.

“It was an innocuous joke!,” Fillipponi stated. “It wasn’t a joke! Why is it in bad taste?”

Mueller then added the idea of Watson’s wife texting Burns insinuates there’s an inappropriate relationship.

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Sports Radio News

Craig Carton: Booger McFarland’s Zach Wilson Analysis ‘An Embarrasment’

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Craig Carton

ESPN NFL analyst Booger McFarland raised eyebrows on Monday Night Countdown this week by saying New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson has never been held accountable for his actions because he was a “young man who grew up with a lot of money”. WFAN afternoon host Craig Carton called out McFarland’s comments Tuesday as outlandish.

“It was an embarrasment,” Carton said. “Someone should ask Booger McFarland if his kids — who grew up with amazing wealth — have accountability in their lives or if having a little bit of money in your pocket immediately discounts the possibility to have accountability. He’s an idiot and we learned that last night.”

“It’s funny that Steve Young was on the other side of it,” Evan Roberts noted. “Because a long time ago, Steve Young criticized Chris Simms because he’s the son of a famous quarterback.”

“You don’t have to invent reasons for why Zach Wilson isn’t playing well,” added Carton. “Just watch his tape. He’s not playing well. Maybe he’s just not good!”

Carton later said NFL reporters “will try to make a name for themselves by putting out a story” about quarterbacks who take responsibility for their teams failures, while Wilson wouldn’t accept the blame.

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Sports Radio News

Greg Hill: Ben Watson, Peter Burns Drama Was A Bit

“Be careful when you’re talking about somebody’s wife and their kids. ‘Cause not everybody jokes the same way.”

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Peter Burns and Ben Watson shared an awkward exchange during the halftime show of an SEC Network football game over the weekend, and many are still debating whether Watson walking off the set was serious or not. Count part of the cast of The Greg Hill Show on WEEI as doubters.

“That was a a bit,” Courtney Cox said. “That was absolutely a bit.”

“Yeah, unlike the Chris Rock/Will Smith thing, I assume that was a bit,” Hill said. “I can’t believe that Ben Watson is really angry about that.”

“I dunno, man. There’s been a lot of speculation that it isn’t,” Jermaine Wiggins added. “There are people who are very sensitive about you clowning on them or joking with them. Especially with joking about their wife. Some people can’t handle jokes like that.”

After a back-and-forth with Cox about the legitimacy of the joke, Wiggins concluded by saying for some folks family is off limits.

“I’ve learned something in my 47 years on this Earth: be careful when you’re talking about somebody’s wife and their kids. ‘Cause not everybody jokes the same way.”

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