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Under The Radar – September 9, 2016

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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 JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me. 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.

Sports Radio News

Kay Adams Gives Pat McAfee Backhanded Compliment On Interviewing Aaron Rodgers

“There is nothing — literally nothing — that he hasn’t gone over with you.”

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@PatMcAfeeShow on Twitter

Besides ESPN’s “ManningCast” for Monday Night Football, a top candidate for best sports media story of the 2021 NFL season is The Pat McAfee Show.

The former NFL punter’s show on YouTube, SiriusXM, and podcasts has become a cultural sensation for its interviews with Aaron Rodgers that revealed the Green Bay Packers quarterback’s controversial stance on taking the COVID-19 vaccine.

McAfee has been criticized in media circles for letting Rodgers say whatever he wants in extended monologues without ever challenging his assertions or asking follow-up questions in response to a particular opinion. But the wide range of topics and in-depth answers have made McAfee’s Tuesday conversations with Rodgers must-watch video.

However, those interviews haven’t left much for other reporters and on-air personalities to cover when talking to Rodgers. Good Morning Football co-host Kay Adams raised this issue with McAfee during a Monday appearance on the show.

“You’ve ruined interviewing Aaron Rodgers,” said Adams. “Do you know that?”

McAfee understandably disagreed, saying he feels “it’s been good” because they have a conversation rather than question-and-answer, question-and-answer. Adams then explained that she had a seven-to-10-minute interview with Rodgers last week, but had nothing new to ask him because he already covered everything with McAfee.

“There is nothing — literally nothing — that he hasn’t gone over with you,” Adams complained, saying McAfee and his hour-long conversations has made it impossible for networks to interview Rodgers now.

Though Adams appeared to be annoyed, she did praise McAfee for getting Rodgers to reveal a side of himself that he previously kept private, something the public never saw before.

“He’s never been an open book, but you’ve really let us get to know his character,” said Adams, “and who he is as a human, his kindness, his vulnerabiity. It’s transcendental; seriously, it’s awesome.”

Thanks for doing such a good job that it’s difficult for everybody else, Pat McAfee? That seemed to be what Adams meant.

Yet despite that apparent frustration, she surely knows that the people who saw her interview with Rodgers may not watch McAfee’s show. And it’s entirely possible that someone may answer a question differently, depending on who’s asking and the outlet being represented. Of course, it always feels good as an interviewer to ask a question that hasn’t been posed before and get the subject to think about something he or she may not have previously considered.

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Sports Radio News

Colin Dunlap: ‘No One More Underqualified’ Than Jac Collinsworth

“How did they allow that level of nepotism to happen?”

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NBC Sports Pressbox

NBC had two NFL Wild Card playoff telecasts this past weekend, but the network’s pre- and post-game show did not impress 93.7 The Fan’s Colin Dunlap and Chris Mack. The hosts singled out Football Night in America co-host Jac Collinsworth as a big problem with NBC’s studio coverage.

“There is no one more underqualified or worse at their job than the young Collinsworth, who is stunningly bad on television,” said Dunlap.

What particularly irritates Dunlap is that Collinsworth holds such a high-profile job on Football Night in America, one that so many in the sports broadcasting industry covet.

“It is a premier job, NBC Sunday Night Football in America, he is one of the hosts there, he’s throwing it to Drew Brees, he’s doing all this stuff,” Dunlap added. “And I know he’s part of the jokey element, the non-serious sports guy on there.”

As Dunlap wondered how Jac Collinsworth got his job, Mack asked the question more directly.

“How did they allow that level of nepotism to happen?”

The two then went on to criticize the entire NBC studio crew, saying everyone is miscast in their current roles.

“Tony Dungy should be interviewing people about introspective life things,” said Dunlap. “He should be doing sit-downs. People will open up to Tony Dungy because they trust him, especially football coaches.”

In Dunlap’s view, NBC made a mistake by not hiring reporter Tom Rinaldi to do the features for which he’s known. (Rinaldi left ESPN for Fox Sports at the end of 2020.) Mack added that the network has an opportunity to remake its NFL coverage with sideline reporter Michele Tafoya moving on after this season and play-by-play announcer Al Michaels believed to be headed to Amazon’s Thursday Night Football.

Prospective names that the duo suggested adding to Football Night in America to freshen up up the mix include ESPN’s Robert Griffin III (who Dunlap says “could be the next big star”), NFL Network’s Joe Thomas, and Good Morning Football’s Kyle Brandt.

You can listen to the full segment at the 93.7 The Fan website or the Audacy app.

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Sports Radio News

Chicago Legend, 670 The Score Overnighter Les Grobstein Dies

“Grobstein’s presence in the Chicago sports media far predates his time on The Score.”

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The Athletic

Les Grobstein was a staple in the lives of Chicago sports fans. He had held down overnights at 670 The Score since 2009. He was found dead in his home on Sunday. He was 69 years old.

“Our staff is devastated. Our audience lost a great friend overnight,” Mitch Rosen, The Score’s operations director, said in a statement. “Les was a legend that will never be forgotten. He was a best friend to so many that knew him that he never knew. That’s the power of radio.”

Grobstein’s presence in the Chicago sports media far predates his time on The Score. He began his broadcasting career in 1970 as part of Northwestern basketball broadcasts. He also served as the sports director of WLS and a reporter for ESPN 1000 before joining The Score.

The longtime Chicago sports radio personality had not been on the air recently. The only explanation given was an illness.

The Score memorialized The Grobber on Monday. The station played a loop of some of his most memorable moments multiple times during the day. Mark Grote called Grobstein “a friend, a colleague, and a classic” and noted that it was hard to figure out exactly the right way to memorialize him because he was such a unique individual.

Grote clearly did something right. Grobber’s son Scott texted the station to say that he was laughing at all of the clips and memories of his dad that the station was sharing.

In addition to Scott, Les Grobstein is survived by his long time partner Kathy.

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