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Sports Radio News

Under The Radar – August 15, 2016

Jason Barrett

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Sports media news has been surfacing across the country once again. Here are the latest developments for you to be aware of. As a reminder, if you have a news tip or promotion to share, you can email it to JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me. I’m also reachable on Twitter @sportsradiopd.

  • Drew Olson has left Milwaukee sports radio station ESPN 540, a place he has called home since 2004. Olson broadcasted his final show on Friday alongside on-air partner Dan Needles. He says he’s planning to focus on his sports media training company, Crush It. Needles will remain on the radio station, joining forces with Bryan Dee who will take over for Olson.
  • In May, 1320 The Fan in Salt Lake City dropped local host Tim Lewis and elected to carry CBS Sports Radio’s “Tiki and Tierney” on an interim basis during morning drive. Well now it seems the radio station has gone outside the box to find a solution. The Fan has added “The Bob and Tom Show” to morning drive, hoping to differentiate its programming from other local market brands 700 ESPN and 1280 The Zone.
  • A change in morning drive has been made in Portland once again on Rip City Radio. The iHeart sports station featured the team of “Bunker and Danforth” in mornings from February 2015 to June 2016. But then Andy Bunker announced he was leaving the radio station to move to Atlanta. Taylor Danforth moved forward with new partner Dan Sheldon, but apparently that experiment is over, as Danforth left the radio station in July, one month after Bunker. As of now the station is promoting “Rip City Mornings” as its local show but no names are featured on the station’s website or social media pages. Once we have a future announcement to pass along we’ll fill you in.
  • Speaking of mornings, ESPN LA 710 has been rumored to be adding more local programming to its lineup. A few notable names have been in recently including Ryen Russillo, Jorge Sedano, Marc James, Robin Lundberg and Jonathan Hood. The station is searching for a partner to work alongside afternoon host Marcellus Wiley, but is also taking a look at extending mornings. One name that has surfaced as a possibility to be part of the mix is former ESPN NFL Analyst Keyshawn Johnson. Bristol sources say that the company is open to continuing a relationship with the former wide receiver despite not keeping him on Sunday NFL Countdown.
  • After being rumored to call Los Angeles Rams radio broadcasts, Andrew Siciliano didn’t sign on to call the action during the regular season, but he has agreed to serve as play by play man for the team during the pre-season. The NFL Network host is calling pre-season games on television alongside Eric Dickerson and Marshall Faulk.
  • Here’s one story that seems to surface every six months – sports radio personality Kevin Slaten has left 590 The Fan KFNS in St. Louis…AGAIN. Slaten who has bounced around the local market now says he plans to return to political talk with the Insane Broadcasting Company which is owned by Bob Romanik. New KFNS boss Tim McKernan has yet to announce who will fill afternoons but after a prior bad episode with Slaten while running CBS Sports Radio 920, this allows McKernan to move in a different direction.
  • Longtime WWLS Sports Animal talk show host Al Eschbach will celebrate 40 years on the air in Oklahoma City with a special show this Wednesday from 4p-8p. His guests will include OU men’s basketball coach Lon Kruger, OU football coach Bob Stoops, former OU basketball coach Billy Tubbs, former OU football coach Barry Switzer, Houston basketball coach Kelvin Sampson, and a slew of others.
  • FOX Sports 920 The Jersey has reached a deal to carry Rutgers football on the radio station. The brand will partner with IMG to provide Rutgers coverage for the 2016 college football season.
  • Sports Radio 1340 The Fan in Lubbock, Texas has signed on for a third straight season as an affiliate of the Denver Broncos. The Townsquare radio station will carry all pre-season, regular season, and playoff games, along with a two-hour pre-game show and one-hour post-game show. Coverage is supplied by the Broncos Radio Network which originates out of Denver on 850 KOA. The company’s sister station Awesome 98 is also a Houston Texans affiliate.
  • ESPN West Palm 106.3 is also adding an affiliation. The radio station has signed on as a play by play affiliate for Miami Dolphins broadcasts. The Good Karma sports station will also feature a Thursday night call-in with Dolphins General Manager Mike Tannenbaum.
  • Shifting to Nashville, 102.5 The Game has moved former afternoon host Willy Daunic to middays alongside Darren McFarland, and former Titans wide receiver Derrick Mason. The trio will be re-branded as “3-D, Darren, Derrick and Daunic”. Daunic previously hosted with George Plaster, and former Titans GM Floyd Reese.
  • The Midday 180 in Nashville needs a new producer. Former producer Steve Ulrey worked his final shift on Friday August 12th. Ulrey is apparently launching a business. The Midday 180 are presently one of the highest rated midday shows in the sports talk radio format.
  • Speaking of the Midday 180, one of the show’s hosts, Chad Withrow, has signed on to be the new TV host for a Saturday morning program titled “Varsity XTRA”. The show will air in the Nashville area on MyTV30.
  • Steve Lippo has been named the new Executive Producer for NBC Sports in Chicago. Lippo had been working as a producer for Laurence Holmes’ show on 120 Sports.
  • Congratulations to Ryan Cooley who has accepted a new opportunity in sales at WEEI in Boston. Cooley announced on Facebook that he was leaving his position as 1080 The Fan’s Sales Manager in Portland, Oregon to move to the northeast and join the Boston sports radio station.

Sports Radio News

Evan Roberts: Tony Romo Is Trying To Make Every Game Historically Significant

“He’s in the end zone and immediately Tony Romo instead of talking about the throw, the play, goes into a soliloquy about Michael Jordan.”

Jordan Bondurant

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CBS Sports NFL analyst Tony Romo drew some criticism on social media on Sunday during coverage of the AFC championship game.

Romo caught heat for the second straight week trying to make comparisons of the quarterbacks in the NFL games he’s covering to the likes of Michael Jordan.

On Carton & Roberts on WFAN on Monday, host Craig Carton said he thought it was interesting how the perception of Romo has shifted a little bit recently.

“People are really down on him now,” Carton said. “Like he was all hot to trot, and now people think he’s not.”

Roberts said trying to compare Patrick Mahomes and Joe Burrow to Michael Jordan and Clyde Drexler was quite a stretch.

“He’s in the end zone and immediately Tony Romo instead of talking about the throw, the play, goes into a soliloquy about Michael Jordan,” Roberts said. “I didn’t think the timing of that made any sense. It’s like what are we doing?”

That was precisely the reaction many had to Romo’s third quarter comments. Evan went on to say even with the comparison not really making sense, it was just the completely wrong point in the broadcast to bring something like that up.

“In the middle of a game – that doesn’t end the game – it’s a touchdown to put them up seven mid-third quarter – should not be moment where Tony Romo is pontificating about where this ranks in sports history. It was out of place,” Roberts said.

“Can we find an NFL reference? Is that possible?” Carton responded.

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Sports Radio News

Scott Zolak: Who At FOX Thinks Rob Gronkowski is Good?

“You’ve morphed into Lou Holtz!”

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Rob Gronkowski has been on a bigger stage since the NFL Playoffs started. FOX has put him on the FOX NFL Sunday set alongside its Hall of Fame crew of analysts. Scott Zolak of 98.5 The Sports Hub says it isn’t going well.

Zolak and Rob “Hardy” Poole broke down the former Patriot’s performance from halftime of Sunday’s NFC Championship game. Both immediately noticed how much trouble Gronk had pronouncing names and words as he tried to preview what he thought could be the keys to the day’s later game in Kansas City.

In trying to explain the prowess of the Cincinnati defense, Gronkowski pronounced Buffalo as “buffle” and “rattle Mahomes” as “rabble Me Homes”. That last one, Hardy says, made Gronk sound like a leprechaun.

“You’ve morphed into Lou Holtz!” Scott Zolak said listening back to the audio.

The entire Zolak and Bertrand crew remarked on how unnatural and uncomfortable Rob Gronkowski’s delivery is. That led Zolak to wonder why he is in the role in the first place.

“Who at FOX thinks this is good?”

While the show had plenty of laughs at Rob Gronkowski’s expense, Scott Zolak did stick up for him a little bit. He said he actually felt bad for Gronkowski because what some people online were using as evidence of his stupidity isn’t even what was actually happening.

“The sad part is people are ripping him saying he can’t read off a prompter,” Zolak said. “That’s not a prompter.”

He theorized that producers had worked with Rob Gronkowski to understand the window of time available. To Zolak, the mealy-mouthed delivery sounded like someone rushing through talking points they put together in their head.

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Sports Radio News

Bob Fescoe: ‘Steven Spector Did More For Boomer Esiason Than He Ever Has For Us’

“If you and I were doing this, we’d be walked out.”

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The NFL Today crew was on location Sunday for the AFC Championship Game. With Boomer Esiason stuck in Kansas City overnight, there was no way he could be in studio at WFAN Monday morning, so he connected with Gregg Giannotti and crew from Audacy’s Kansas City building. He left an impression, too, by stealing plenty of food from the company break room.

Audacy Kansas City has an honor system in place that allows employees to take the food they want and pay on a machine in the room. Esiason, never having seen that sort of set up before, assumed all of the food was free and claims to have taken ten items before 610 Sports Program Director Steven Spector said anything to him.

Giannotti called Spector this morning to confirm that Esiason was indeed a thief. Not only did Spector say he would cover the cost of the items the WFAN host took, but it was also revealed that he arrived at Esiason’s hotel this morning to drive him to the studio at 4:00 AM.

“Spector has done more for Boomer Esiason in one day than he has ever done for us,” Bob Fescoe told Josh Klingler on 610’s morning show. “If you and I were doing this, we’d be walked out.”

The guys listened back to audio of their boss on the air in New York. Fescoe noted that Spector sounded more like a fan than a colleague.

“There you go, Mr. Boomer! And a ride!”

Klingler said he expected the prices of everything in the break room to go up to make up for Boomer’s theft. Fescoe agreed and said that was a reason not to cover for the former NFL quarterback.

“I would have had the authorities here!” he said.

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