The uproar over NESN’s decision to replace longtime play-by-play voice Don Orsillo with Dave O’Brien on Red Sox telecasts starting next season began as soon as the news of the decision broke Aug. 25.
The fan backlash to the news has only now begun to wane, after the popular Orsillo’s emotional signoff during the Red Sox’ season finale Sunday in Cleveland. Even now, with Orsillo finding a soft landing in San Diego as Dick Enberg’s eventual successor as the Padres play-by-play voice, there are matters that remain unsettled.
Jerry Remy, who spent much of the final inning Sunday in tears while Orsillo called the final outs solo, has not had his status for next season clarified, though he is expected back in some capacity. Rumors of mutual interest between NESN and Mets/TBS broadcaster Ron Darling refuse to fade despite plausible denials from the latter’s side.
Yet lost in the understandable commotion surrounding NESN’s decision to, as Red Sox chairman Tom Werner put it, “re-energize’’ the television broadcast is how the changes will affect the radio broadcast next year.
O’Brien, a voice of greater national accomplishment than Orsillo, will slide over from the radio booth after nine seasons as Joe Castiglione’s partner on flagship station WEEI’s Red Sox broadcasts.
Castiglione is under contract for next season, which will be his 34th year calling Red Sox games. But it remains uncertain who his partner will be.
It is clear, however, who it should be. It’s someone who has spent plenty of time on the Red Sox and WEEI’s rosters: Lou Merloni.
Phil Zachary, Entercom Boston’s vice president and market manager, said via e-mail Thursday that the batch of “well over 100 applicants” has been narrowed to a short list of seven or eight. Zachary said that group includes candidates with a wide range of experience, with some but not all having called MLB games previously. He said the hope is to have a decision finalized by Nov. 1, but such a timeframe may be optimistic.
But the hope here is that the search and the parameters of what WEEI and Entercom are looking for does not preclude them from recognizing an excellent fit who is already in their building five days per week.
Merloni, the son of Framingham who spent six of his nine big-league seasons with the Red Sox, has been a midday host on WEEI since February 2011, the constant in a carousel that has included Mike Mutnansky, Tim Benz, and currently Christian Fauria and Glenn Ordway.
Merloni is a capable host, one who, in a welcome development, has become more anecdotal about his playing days through the years. But he’s truly thrived when he’s been part of the broadcast crew — like Remy at his best, he has that same knack for accurately forecasting what is about to happen — and he was downright exceptional in an inspired three-man booth with Castiglione and O’Brien during the 2013 World Series.
Merloni’s contract is up early in 2016, and while he remains the best thing about a midday show that has struggled in the ratings, the timing seems perfect to slide him into a role in which he has already succeeded and yet retains promise for further improvement.
A wide-ranging search is understandable. It’s a coveted gig. But the answer is already in the building. The choice should be a familiar voice. Lou Merloni has been a superb utility player on the broadcasts. It’s time to make him the regular.
To read the full article visit the Boston Globe where this story was originally published
Greg Hill to Jeff Van Gundy: ‘You Sounded Like You Were on the Bucks’ Payroll’
“After a pregnant pause, Van Gundy answered through laughter, throwing a zinger right back at Hill and crew.”
They are nothing if not blunt in Boston. That was the case Tuesday morning when The Greg Hill Show welcomed ABC/ESPN NBA analyst Jeff Van Gundy to the program to preview the Eastern Conference Finals.
Overall, it was a cordial visit. Questions mostly focused on the headlines related to officiating throughout the playoffs and what the Celtics would have to do to make it to the NBA Finals, which Van Gundy thinks will happen.
“I think Boston’s been the best team in the league,” he said. “I think they’re gonna win it all this year.”
Greg Hill said after the conference semi-finals matchup with Milwaukee, he was surprised to hear Jeff Van Gundy felt that way.
“Jeez, I’m glad to hear you say that,” Hill told Van Gundy. “It almost sounded like you were on the Bucks’ payroll at times during that last series.”
After a pregnant pause, Van Gundy answered through laughter, throwing a zinger right back at Hill and crew.
“You know what? I get used to that and then the Bucks people say I want Boston to win. Not that you guys would be homers or anything.”
Jeff Van Gundy will join Mike Breen and Mark Jackson at the broadcast table for the Eastern Conference Finals on ABC and ESPN. Game 1 between the Celtics and Heat is scheduled for Tuesday night at 8:30 in Miami.
99.7 The Fox Becomes New Carolina Panthers Flagship
“The new deal represents a return to The Fox for the Panthers. The station was the team’s flagship from 2000 through 2004.”
The Carolina Panthers are on the move in Charlotte. The team is leaving WBT. Their new radio home will be 99.7 The Fox, iHeartMedia’s classic rock station.
The station will carry all Panthers game broadcasts, the Panthers pregame and postgame shows as well the team’s weekly coach’s show. There will also be an on-site presence for every home game at Bank of America Stadium.
“We are thrilled to increase iHeartSports NFL partnerships with the addition of the Carolina Panthers. The passion between a sports team and its fan base is one-of-a-kind, and we’re thrilled to expand the Carolina Panthers’ reach to their passionate supporters with our new multi-media deal,” Kevin LeGrett, President of iHeartMedia Sports, said in a press release. “iHeart’s reach in Charlotte is unprecedented, meaning more fans will hear their favorite team than ever before. The partnership will include broadcast, streaming, podcast, events, marketing and promotional elements which will drive results for the Panthers!”
“The team at 99.7 The Fox is delighted to once again be the broadcast home of the Carolina Panthers, bringing best-in-class content from the team to its dedicated and passionate fans,” Dave Carwile, President of iHeartMedia Multi-Platform Group – Charlotte, added. “We know how special the relationship and connection between the city of Charlotte, the Panthers and the fan base is, and we’re thrilled to enhance that bond with an expanded coverage area reaching more fans on 99.7 The Fox. We can’t wait to get started.”
The new deal represents a return to The Fox for the Panthers. The station was the team’s flagship from 2000 through 2004. Every other year of the franchise’s existence, their games have been heard on WBT.
“The Panthers are incredibly grateful for our partnership with Radio One, and the role that WBT has played in sharing some of the greatest moments in franchise history for 22 seasons, including each of the past 17,” Jake Burns, Chief Commercial Officer for the Carolina Panthers, said.
Indiana Sports Talk Station Set To Flip Formats
“The promos say that station owner Woof Boom Broadcasting is “building a new radio station for Muncie and Delaware County”.
Sports fans in Muncie, Indiana may soon lose their favorite sports station. Listeners to Muncie Sports 92.5 have heard promos teasing a new station coming to the frequency.
The promos say that station owner Woof Boom Broadcasting is “building a new radio station for Muncie and Delaware County”. The station has also changed its call letters. What was WXFN is now WMUN.
Muncie Sports 92.5 airs on two signals. 1340 AM is a 1000 watt station. 92.5 FM is a translator signal.
The station airs an hour-long local show hosted by Mark Foerster on weekdays at 4 pm. It carries syndicated programming from FOX Sports Radio and is the local affiliate for the Indianapolis Colts, Indiana Pacers, Cincinnati Reds, IndyCar Series, Ball State University football and women’s basketball, and three local high schools.
ESPN 680 is still available from nearby Marion,IN. Two Indianapolis sports talk stations are strong enough to be heard in the town as well according to Radio Locator.