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Under The Radar – September 9, 2016

Jason Barrett

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Another week of activity in the sports radio world, which is why this column has become one of the most popular written pieces on our website. I’d like to remind you that if you or your company have any news to share, it can be sent via email to [email protected]. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, here’s the latest developments you may not have been aware of.

According to sources, 95.7 The Game in San Francisco is making changes to its weekday lineup. The radio station is expected to add JT The Brick in middays. The Brick has downplayed any involvement but sources say a deal is close. His show on FOX Sports Radio would be unaffected by the addition of a local program. In fact, he’s worked under that arrangement before.

SB Nation Radio 1560 in Houston is adding a new morning show with former Sports Radio 610 KILT evening host Brien Straw. “BStraw Radio” debuts today and will broadcast weekdays from 8a-10a CT. The program will focus on the local Houston teams, but also include a heavy college football focus.

Former Rip City 620 morning host Andy Bunker has landed an on-air role at 92.9 The Game in Atlanta. Bunker will be hosting Part Time for the station. He moved to Atlanta in June in order to be closer to his girlfriend who works locally for CNN. Prior to joining The Game, Bunker was part of Rip City Mornings with Taylor Danforth. He left the show in May, Danforth exited as well in July.

TSN 1050 in Toronto and midday host Mike Richards mutually parted ways in late August. The radio station has since been rebranding the 1p-4p timeslot as TSN 1050 Today. That’s expected to be a temporary situation until a permanent show is identified.

After making a series of lineup changes, 102.5 The Game in Nashville is now searching for a new Program Director. Jeremy Bennefield had run the stations since 2011 but is no longer with the company. The Cromwell Radio Group which owns the two Nashville sports stations has posted the position and is now accepting applications. If interested in the vacancy visit the jobs section.

Word out of Pittsburgh is that TribLive Radio has stopped operating as a live programming outlet. Instead, the company will feature a number of pre-recorded podcasts. The last true on-air talent, Josh Taylor, was let go a few weeks ago.

101 ESPN in St. Louis has rolled out an NFL pre-game show featuring midday host Anthony Stalter and Kevin Wheeler’s producer Brandon Kiley. Although the Rams departed for Los Angeles, St. Louis fans still have passion for the NFL, and Stalter and Kiley are hoping to tap into that interest on Sunday mornings.

More news out of St. Louis. The All-New 590 The Fan KFNS has signed an agreement to air Arizona Cardinals football games this NFL season. The Cardinals last played in St. Louis in 1987. KFNS co-owner Tim McKernan says the organization couldn’t have been easier to work with during negotiations, and he’s excited about the partnership.

Alpha Media is strengthening its sports talker ESPN 1230 in Columbia, South Carolina by adding an FM signal, and the syndicated Paul Finebaum show to its weekday lineup. The FM translator will make the station’s programming available locally on 94.9FM.

1500 ESPN in Minneapolis has added Andy Carlson‘s “Purple For The Win Podcast” to their digital offerings, and the PodcastOne platform. 1500 ESPN is owned by Hubbard Broadcasting, who have ownership stakes in PodcastOne. Carlson describes the podcast as being “dedicated to the pain and pleasure that is the Minnesota Vikings”.

Turning to the television world, sources say that the NFL Network and reporter Rand Getlin have parted ways. BSM received an inside tip about this on Friday but was still waiting on confirmation. Since then, Getlin has changed his Twitter bio to reflect “NFL Insider” and his Linkedin page now states that he worked for the NFL Network from July 2015-September 2016. No word has been given on why the two sides are no longer continuing their relationship.

Alexa Datt has signed on with 120 Sports as the new co-host of “The Morning Run” with former ESPN anchor Michael Kim. Datt has been a part of the New York Mets coverage on SNY for the past few seasons. She also previously worked as the Mets in-stadium host.

The GooseTony Siragusa has joined Yahoo Sports as host of a special video series called “In The Trenches” which will be available on Yahoo Sports throughout the NFL season. The former NFL Defensive Lineman and FOX NFL Analyst will share stories from his career and offer analysis each week on the NFL’s biggest stories.

Philadelphia sports radio host Marc Farzetta is spreading his wings and adding some television work to his portfolio. The WIP personality announced that he’s joining the cast of The 700 Level, a local show which airs in the Philadelphia market on CSN Philadelphia. The program airs every Thursday.

Houston Chronicle columnist Jerome Solomon and Randy McIlvoy are now hosting a new program on Houston television titled “Houston Chronicle Texas Sports Nation“. The show airs Sunday night at 11pm CT on Channel 2 (KPRC-TV) and features Solomon and McIlvoy, as well as special guest appearances from other members of the Chronicle’s sports staff.

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Ken Carman: Radio Hosts Don’t Know How to Talk About Baseball

Carman included himself in the group of radio hosts who don’t do a great job of breaking down Major League Baseball.

Jordan Bondurant

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Ken Carman

Is the art of baseball talk on sports radio lost? 92.3 The Fan host Ken Carman feels like it has.

On The Ken Carman Show with Anthony Lima on Wednesday, Carman said baseball talk even in Cleveland, had become trite.

“Because we don’t know how to talk about baseball,” Carman said. “And I put myself right in there it’s not where I am above the fray or anything like that. There’s a lost thing about talking baseball. The art of it I’m not sure.”

Ken remembered one of the most fun arguments he had with Lima was a knock down, drag out over bunting and getting callers screaming about the topic. He feels like hosts don’t dive as deep into the nuances of the game as they used to.

“You listen to old Mike and the Mad Dog from the early 2000s, and when the lineups would come out, them getting into shouting matches about who’s batting sixth,” Carman said.

Carman also thought about 2017 and 2018 when the Cleveland Browns had the number one overall picks, Carman also thought about the run in the 1990s the then-Indians had and were the top team in the city. Baseball talk dominated the radio airwaves also because there were no Browns at that time.

He felt like because of a number of factors with the Guardians, talking baseball on the show has been shuffled out of the limelight in some respects.

“I think that’s been lost over the last how many years in this city, everywhere,” Carman said. “I’m part of the problem, I’ll admit it, sorry.”

“One of the things I try to avoid, because I want to be better, and you are with me on this – I can’t turn every conversation into ‘Fix your sport’,” he added. “Well, this is the problem with baseball. That’s too easy to do, and it doesn’t help anybody’s interest. If I’m just telling you how bad baseball is, well you’re not gonna have any interest in baseball or talking about baseball. So it’s a terrible, terrible thing to do.”

Reacting to fan reaction in regards to the Guardians getting the top pick in the next MLB draft, Ken Carman said he was hoping to have a little fun on the air with it. But fan cynicism it seems has tapered expectations a little bit.

“There’s not as much generated craziness with the baseball draft that there is with the football draft or even the NBA Draft. But we can have a little fun with it,” he said.

“Are those just not baseball fans?” Lima asked in response to the cynicism in the fanbase. “Those don’t sound like big-time baseball fans.”

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Tony Kornheiser: ‘I Was Sort of Surprised at Reaction’ of Return to PTI Studio

“I was excited to go in. I’m excited to see if in three days, I get COVID because that’s my great fear. It was fun to do.”

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A photo of Tony Kornheiser
(Photo: Tony Kornheiser)

Tuesday’s episode of Pardon the Interruption on ESPN saw the beloved duo of Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon reunited in person in the show’s Washington, D.C. studio.

On his podcast, The Tony Kornheiser Show Wednesday, the PTI host, 75, talked about his experience.

“I went in. I was excited to go in,” Kornheiser said, per Awful Announcing. “I’m excited to see if in three days, I get COVID because that’s my great fear. It was fun to do. I have to say, it was fun to do for those people.”

The fan reaction to seeing Kornheiser and Wilbon back together in person for the first time in a long time was overwhelmingly positive. He abstains from using social media, but Kornheiser said he did hear from plenty of friends and colleagues who reached out afterwards to send well wishes.

“But friends of mine — or people I would consider at least acquaintances into friends — were basically unanimously happy that it happened. And I tried to answer each one of those things that I will do this occasionally.”

“Glad I did it,” he later added. “I was sort of surprised at the reaction…I had a very good time.”

Kornheiser did want to emphasize that anyone getting ideas that Kornheiser will be back in-studio on any sort of regular basis is sorely mistaken.

“I gotta want to do it. And I’m not gonna do it every day,” he said. “And if somebody thinks I’m gonna do it every day. I’m familiar with the phrase, ‘Give them an inch, and they’ll take a mile.’ I understand that’s going to happen, so I’m saying right now, I’m stressing occasionally, not regularly. Occasionally, I will go in there. If that’s not good enough, we know where the doors are.”

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Desmond Howard: Paul Finebaum Now a ‘Cariacture’

“You can’t take anything he says seriously. You just can’t. It’s like they march him out there, they pull the string in his back, and he just starts spewing negative things…”

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A photo of Desmond Howard
(Photo: Icon Sportswire | A Division of XML Team Solutions)

Both Desmond Howard and Paul Finebaum have been vocal on their stances about the Michigan sign-stealing allegations. However, Howard has shared his feelings about Finebaum, and they are not positive.

During an appearance on The Rich Eisen Show, the ESPN college football analyst had harsh criticism for Finebaum.

“Paul Finebaum is a caricature of a caricature of Paul Finebaum,”Howard said. “That’s what he is right now. You can’t take anything he says seriously. You just can’t. It’s like they march him out there, they pull the string in his back, and he just starts spewing negative things about Michigan. When a person does that repeatedly and you just know his shtick, you can’t take him seriously.”

Howard hasn’t been shy about defending his alma mater through the scandal. During an episode of College GameDay, the former Heisman Trophy winner told colleague Pete Thamel to “put your big boy pants on” after the reporter moved his segments on the program to inside Michigan Stadium after threats from Michigan fans were deemed credible enough that he was in danger.

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