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Under The Radar – October 24, 2016

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Here’s the latest tidbits from the world of sports media. If you have a news story or station event to share and would like to receive promotion for it in a future column, send it via email to JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me.

Ike Reese has moved to the afternoon show on Sports Radio 94WIP effective immediately. Glen Macnow is filling in alongside Reese for a few days this week. The radio station expects to announce Reese’s permanent partner soon.

The world of politics is about to get a heavier dose of Curt Schilling. The former MLB pitcher and ESPN analyst has signed on to host a daily online talk show for BreitBart. A video livestream is also in the works. “Whatever It Takes with Curt Schilling” will stream weekdays from 9a-11a ET starting on Tuesday.

Look for a new sports radio station to launch soon on FM in Columbus, Ohio. iHeartradio is expected to enter the space and present an alternative to market ratings leader 97.1 The Fan. Sources tell BSM that the lineup will include a mix of local and national voices.

Following the departure of Bruce Hooley, his former employer ESPN 850 WKNR in Cleveland has announced how they will fill his void going forward. The radio station will extend the afternoon show with Aaron Goldhammer and Emmett Golden by an hour to 3p-6p ET, and Munch Bishop’s “ESPN Cleveland Tonight” will now start an hour early and broadcast from 6p-9p ET.

Former 710 ESPN Seattle midday host Justin Meyers has signed on with 750 The Game in Portland. Meyers will host an Oregon football show and contribute as a fill-in host and update anchor during weekday programming.

Also at 750 The Game in Portland, Jonathan Glissmeyer has been promoted to producer of “The Bald Faced Truth” with John Canzano.

106.7 The Fan in Washington DC has announced they’ll be holding a special event for their listeners to honor their morning show, the Sports Junkies, and the band OAR, who are both celebrating twenty year anniversaries. “20 by 20” — a concert, celebrating 20 years to benefit “Heard the World” will take place on December 10th at 9:30 Club. For more information click here.

SB Nation Radio Assistant Program Director Mike Pearson is leaving the network in order to join ESPN 710 Los Angeles where he’ll serve as producer of the afternoon show featuring Marcellus Wiley and Kelvin Washington. No word yet on how SB Nation Radio will replace his position.

Ryan Field has moved to New York City to become the lead sports anchor for WABC television. Field had been working for FS1 and hosting a weekend radio show on FOX Sports Radio.

Detroit Free Press Columnist Drew Sharp passed away Friday morning at his home in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. He was 56. An autopsy revealed that he died due to hypertensive cardiovascular disease. Our condolences go out to the Sharp family and all who were close to him.

The Lincoln Star Journal has added Chris Basnett to its reporting team. Basnett will cover the Nebraska Cornhuskers men’s basketball and football programs. He started work last week.

Former 94.9 The Game morning show hosts Austin Stanley and Zach Bingham have launched a website AtoZSportsNashville.com which will serve as the host to their show, podcasts, written pieces and video.

ESPN Boise has identified a co-host for their afternoon show “The Breakdown” with Joey Jenkins. The radio station has hired Alex Gold. Gold spent the past two years in Topeka, Kansas working for 580 WIBW.

Staying in Tennessee, sports station WHBQ (Sports 56) has added a simulcast of their programming in Tupelo, Mississippi. The station’s lineup can now be heard locally in Tupelo on 96.3 FM.

FOX Sports Radio has paired up Andy Furman and Brian Noe on Sunday mornings. The duo occupy the airwaves from 6a-9a ET throughout the football season. Furman previously hosted with Mike North who’s no longer with the network.

XTRA Sports 1360 midday host Mark Willard is once again contributing to FOX Sports Radio on Sunday’s. Willard is now co-hosting with Former Vikings Running Back & 2-Time Pro Bowler Robert Smith from 1p-5p ET. Willard also hosts Saturday’s alongside Undisputed host Joy Taylor from 1p-4p ET.

Jonas Knox has added a third show each weekend on FOX Sports Radio. Knox is now teaming up with former Notre Dame QB Brady Quinn on Sunday evening from 8p-11p ET recapping every NFL Sunday game and providing live updates during Sunday Night Football.

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Parker Hillis Named Brand Manager of Sports Radio 610

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Goodbye snow and hello heat! Parker Hillis is headed to Houston. Audacy has announced that he will be the new brand manager for Sports Radio 610.

“Parker is a rising star,” Sarah Frazier, Senior Vice President and Market Manager of Audacy in Houston, said in a press release. “He has impressed us since day one with his innovative ideas, focus on talent coaching and work ethic. We’re thrilled to have him join our Audacy team.”

Hillis comes to the market from Denver. He has spent the last three years with Bonneville’s 104.3 The Fan. He started as the station’s executive producer before rising to APD earlier this year.

In announcing his exit from The Fan on his Facebook page, Hillis thanked Fan PD Raj Sharan for preparing him for this opportunity.

“His leadership and guidance set the stage for me to continue to grow and develop in this industry, one that I absolutely love,” Hillis wrote. “This is a special place, one that I am honored to have been a part of and so sad to leave.”

Sports Radio 610 began the process to find a new brand manager in February when Armen Williams announced he was leaving the role. Williams also came to Houston from Denver. He started his own business outside the radio industry.

“I’m excited to join the Sports Radio 610 team in Houston,” said Hillis. “The opportunity to direct and grow an already incredible Audacy brand is truly an honor.”

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Schopp & Bulldog: NFL Has To Figure Out Pro Bowl Alternative That Draws Same Audience

“The game just could not be less interesting.”

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After years of criticism and declining television ratings, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell publicly stated this week that the Pro Bowl, as it is currently contested, is no longer a viable option for the league and that there would be discussions at the league meetings to find another way to showcase the league’s best players.

Yesterday afternoon, Schopp and Bulldog on WGR in Buffalo discussed the growing possibility of the game being discontinued, and how the NFL could improve on the ratings it generates with new programming.

“The same number of people [who] watched some recent… game 7 between Milwaukee and Boston… had the same audience as the Pro Bowl had last year,” said co-host Chris “The Bulldog” Parker. “….Enough people watch it to make it worth their while; it’s good business. They’ll put something in that place even though the game is a joke.”

One of the potential outcomes of abolishing the Pro Bowl would be replacing it with a skills showdown akin to what the league held last year prior to the game in Las Vegas. Some of the competitions held within this event centered around pass precision, highlight catches and a non-traditional football competition: Dodgeball. Alternatively, the league could revisit the events it held in 2021 due to the cancellation of the Pro Bowl because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which included a virtual Madden showdown and highlight battle, appealing to football fans in the digital age.

Stefon Diggs and Dion Dawkins of the Buffalo Bills were selected to the AFC Pro Bowl roster this past season, and while it is a distinct honor, some fans would rather see the game transformed or ceased entirely – largely because of the risks associated with exhibition games.

In 1999, the NFL held a rookie flag football game on a beach in Waikiki, Hawaii before the Pro Bowl in which New England Patriots running back Robert Edwards severely dislocated his knee while trying to catch a pass. He nearly had to have his leg amputated in the hospital, being told that there was a possibility he may never walk again. Upon returning to the league four seasons later with the Miami Dolphins, Edwards was able to play in 12 games, but then lost his roster spot at the end of the season, marking the end of his NFL career.

“You might not want to get too crazy with this stuff, but there’d have to be some actual contests to have it be worth doing at all,” expressed show co-host Mike Schopp. “Do you not have a game? I don’t know.”

The future of the Sunday before the Super Bowl is very much in the air, yet Goodell has hardly been reticent in expressing that there needs to be a change made in the league to better feature and promote the game’s top players. In fact, he’s been saying it since his first days as league commissioner in 2006, evincing a type of sympathy for the players participating in the contest, despite it generating reasonable television ratings and advertising revenue.

“Maybe the time has come for them to really figure out a better idea, and maybe that’s what’s notable [about] Goodell restating that he’s got a problem with it,” said Parker. “If there’s some sort of momentum about a conversation [on] creating a very different event that could still draw your 6.7 million eyeballs, maybe they’ll figure out a way to do something other than the game, because the game just could not be less interesting.”

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Iowa Adds WCKG As Chicago Radio Affiliate

“The Hawkeyes open their season at home on September 3 against FCS power South Dakota State.”

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Iowa City, home of the University of Iowa, sits just over three and a half hours from Chicago. It makes sense to assume plenty of alumni move to the Windy City after school and that other Iowa fans live in the metro area as well. That is why the Hawkeyes have struck a deal with WCKG to become their radio affiliate in Chicago.

The station, which is heard on 1530 AM, will air the entire season of Iowa football.

“Iowa Football’s storied history, continued success, and loyal fan base and alumni network throughout Chicagoland made this move a no-brainer for WCKG,” WCKG Sports Director Jon Zaghloul said in a press release. “I’m excited to bring the Hawkeyes to Chicago, and can’t wait to start airing games this Fall. It’s a huge acquisition for our brand, and, more importantly, our devoted listeners.” 

The Hawkeyes open their season at home on September 3 against FCS power South Dakota State. Gary Dolphin has called all of the school’s sports on radio since 1996. Ed Podolak is his partner in the booth during football season.

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