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Under The Radar – October 18, 2016

Jason Barrett

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Here’s some news you might have missed over the past week. If you have any news to share please send it along to JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me.

670 The Score in Chicago has confirmed that Terry Boers is returning to his position in afternoons alongside Dan Bernstein effective Monday October 24th. Boers has been off the air since mid June dealing with a health issue. With the Cubs battling the Dodgers in the NLCS his timing couldn’t be better.

Good news for Cleveland sports radio fans. Adam The Bull isn’t going anywhere. Despite speculation that he was on the radar of WIP in Philadelphia, those rumors can be laid to rest. WIP is expected to announce their afternoon plans in the next few weeks.

Speaking of speculation, with Mike Francesa departing WFAN at the end of 2017, local newspapers in New York and Philadelphia are speculating that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie could be next in line to occupy the afternoon slot in New York City. WFAN Program Director Mark Chernoff has praised Christie’s ability to talk sports, and his tenure as Governor of New Jersey ends just three weeks after Francesa’s contract with WFAN expires. When a caller asked Francesa last week on the air about Christie he said “it sounds like he (Christie) might be leaving politics once his tenure with the state of New Jersey is over. I gather it’s something he’s interested in, and if it is, that’s something the station will have to decide.” With Francesa and Christie having 14 months left in their current positions, it’d be very surprising if any permanent decisions were announced in the near future.

ESPN 103.3 in Dallas has rounded out their weekday lineup. The station announced last week that Will Chambers has been named the new midday host alongside Jacques Jean-Taylor. In afternoons, Tim Cowlishaw and Steve Dennis have joined forces. Dennis previously hosted middays on the station with Mark Friedman who was let go last month along with former afternoon host Matt Mosley.

Washington Times sports columnist and ESPN 980 host Thom Loverro has been named to the Washington DC Boxing Hall Of Fame, along with former NewsChannel 8 sportscaster Glenn Harris. The two men will be inducted on November 11th.

Staying in the nation’s capital, the Washington Capitals and Washington Wizards have lost their FM outlets for the upcoming season. Capitals games will no longer air on 106.7 The Fan, and Wizards games won’t be heard on WDCH, 99.1. The broadcasts for both teams will continue airing on Hubbard’s WFED 1500 as well as on the Caps Radio 24/7 app and Wizards Mobile App. Both teams will remain on local television through their partnership with Comcast SportsNet.

WMC 790 AM in Memphis has added the Clay Travis Show to its lineup. The station will air the program tape delayed from 6a-9a CT. Clay will also appear each Monday on the Jason & John Show on Entercom Memphis’ leading sports station 92.9 ESPN.

Former 95.7 The Game in San Francisco midday hosts Guy Haberman and John Middlekauff have launched a new podcast. You can hear it or subscribe to it by clicking here.

The Los Angeles Kings will use four veteran play-by-play announcers while Hall of Famer Bob Miller reduces his on-air role during his 44th year on the air. Miller is scheduled to call 58 games (including all home games) this season plus the first-round of the playoffs. Gary Thorne (eight games), Chris Cuthbert (four games), Ralph Strangis (four games) and Jiggs McDonald (one game) will work alongside of Jim Fox during the remainder of Kings games this season.

Although it’s unlikely, there’s a possibility that the New York Mets could lose a member of their broadcast team. The contract for play by play man Gary Cohen is set to expire at the end of 2016. SNY, which runs the Mets television broadcasts and Cohen’s representatives, have discussed a new multi-year deal but nothing has been finalized yet.

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NESN’s Dave O’Brien Says National Networks “Blew It” By Not Hiring Dennis Eckersley

“I don’t know how they blew it as badly as they did but Dennis Eckersley should have been a national icon… they made a mistake on that. I hope somebody regrets it.”

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Dennis Eckersley

On Monday, Dennis Eckersley decided to make it known that this season would be his last with NESN in the booth. He mentioned that after 50 years in baseball, it was time to go be with the grandchildren in San Diego.

His broadcast partner for a lot of those years in the NESN booth was Dave O’Brien. On the latest Sports Media Mayhem podcast, O’Brien joined show host Alex Reimer to talk about the retirement of Eckersley. Reimer pointed out that it took awhile before Eckersley became the main color analyst for the team. O’Brien remembered the time well.

“When he started, he was pre- and post- and he did that most of his career at NESN,” said O’Brien. “It was really, only the last six or seven years that he really started to get on as a game analyst.”

O’Brien was named the lead play-by-play announcer for NESN’s Red Sox coverage in 2016 which is about the same time Eckersley slid into the role of game analyst. In the time since, O’Brien has seen the work of Eckersley up close and is floored that he was working for a regional sports network and not somewhere more nationally prominent.

“I think the national people totally blew it on Dennis Eckersley,” blurted O’Brien. “And that includes Turner. They had an opportunity, I can say that because a lot of those people there now didn’t make the decision. He should have been the lead analyst doing national games. He should have been on ESPN on Sunday Night Baseball or FOX. I don’t know how they blew it as badly as they did but Dennis Eckersley should have been a national icon… they made a mistake on that. I hope somebody regrets it.”

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Sal Paolantonio Not Interested In Trying Ayahuasca To Better Understand Aaron Rodgers

“Halucinagenics have been at the center of a lot of conversations about Aaron Rodgers lately.”

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Dan Patrick is a very good interviewer. He asks the questions he knows his audience wants answered. He also makes a habit out of throwing out questions to his guests that they never see coming. That was the case on Tuesday for ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio.

Paolantonio joined the Dan Patrick Show to discuss Pro Football Hall of Fame voting and the new NFL season. That is not what the host hit him with out of the gate.

The first question from Patrick to Paolantonio was “Just to relate to Aaron Rodgers, would you be willing to try ayahuasca?”.

Paolantonio was left speechless. All he could do was laugh and say “you got me on that one, Dan.”

Halucinagenics have been at the center of a lot of conversations about Aaron Rodgers lately. The Green Bay quarterback recently said on a podcast that experimenting with ayahuasca opened him up to be ready to succeed both on the field and as a leader. He credits the experience with laying the foundation for his 2021 MVP season.

Patrick pushed the issue challenging Paolantonio to beat Andrea Kremer to the experience.

“My money is on the fearless Andrea Kremer,” Paolantonio shot back.

For the record, Kremer responded to the challenge on Twitter.

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Paul Finebaum: ESPN, FOX Have Power To Tank EA Sports College Football Video Game

“Paul Finebaum had high praise for what the video game has meant to college football.”

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Paul Finebaum

The power brokers in college football now are the media. In particular, it is ESPN, who is set to take over the SEC’s media rights and FOX, who controls the Big Ten’s media rights. Paul Finebaum said recently on the Dynasty Mode podcast that those relationships give the two networks major control over college football.

Dynasty Mode is a podcast about EA Sports’ popular college football video game series hosted by BSM writers Arky Shea and Demetri Ravanos. Finebaum told the pair that if either ESPN and FOX or the Big Ten and the SEC don’t want to work together, the video game, which will return to store shelves in 2023 after a ten-year absence from the market, could be doomed.

“We’re a year removed from an absolute certainty, that was a 12 school playoff for the CFP, getting shot down for the very same reason,” he said. “So if they can shoot down the most important entity in college sports, I think they can shoot down this.”

Paul Finebaum had high praise for what the video game has meant to college football. He told Shea and Ravanos that he hopes power brokers at schools and networks realize that.

“I think it’s been very important and I don’t know how many people that are in those power five seats think about stuff like that.”

In the early 2000s, Tony Bruno brought a fictionalized version of his radio show to EA Sports’ Madden NFL series. Finebaum said he had not been approached yet by EA to do something similar for the new college football video game.

“I’m really surprised they haven’t because it would be a big money-making operation, at least for me. I don’t know about for them, but I am happy to participate,” Finebaum joked.

He added that the real value to EA Sports would be his audience. They could give the game a level of authenticity that many fans have missed as college football becomes a more corporate entity.

“You can replace me, but you can’t replace the callers. They are the most unique, and I think it takes a lot of work to nurture callers like that. I’m not campaigning for EA because I have people to do that for me,” he said. “Point being, what makes college sports what it is? It’s the fans. It’s not the fat cats that buy the one million or two million dollar suites. It’s not the people sitting with the president. It’s the rank and file that probably never get to campus.”

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