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Sports Radio News

Under The Radar – November 15, 2016

Jason Barrett

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News continues to be made throughout the sports radio universe. To be included in a future column, please send over any important announcements via email to JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me.

590 The Fan KFNS in St. Louis is making changes to its lineup. The radio station is moving it’s current afternoon show “We Are Live” to middays from 2p-4p ET in order to install former Blues forward and local product Cam Janssen, former Mizzou receiver T.J. Moe, radio host Eric Messersmith, and Hanna Yates, a recent Mizzou graduate in the afternoon drive slot. Matt Whitener will produce the show and occasionally contribute on the air. The lineup shuffling leaves Howard Balzer and Joe Rodderick in position to have their roles at the radio station changed.

In Boston, WEEI has added a new weekend hockey show. “Saturday Skate” features Ken Laird (producer of Kirk & Callahan), Ty Anderson of WEEI.com, former NHLer Ryan Whitney, and Barstool Sports Bruins writer Rear Admiral. The show debuted this past Saturday and airs from 3p-5p ET.

95.7 The Game in San Francisco has plucked Bonta Hill away from KNBR 680. Hill spent three years at the Cumulus sports talker prior to agreeing to move to Entercom’s FM sports station. He’s expected to contribute to the Greg Papa show.

One immediate challenge 95.7 The Game has is getting Greg Papa back on the air. He’s been off of his show for most of the past month. Sources had varying details of why Papa hasn’t been hosting his show. The radio station says Papa is taking time off to recharge his batteries.

Details should be available soon about a new sports station launching in Columbus. The brand is expected to be affiliated with FOX Sports Radio, heard on the FM dial, and operated by iHeart. Former ESPN Cleveland WKNR on-air host Bruce Hooley is rumored to be one of the new station’s weekday personalities. It’s also possible that the local programming which originates out of Columbus could be made available on other in-state sports stations presently run by iHeart. Stay tuned for further details.

710 ESPN in Seattle and the Kent school district are conducting a town hall event on the seriousness of concussions in youth sports. The event takes place tonight at 7pm PT in Covington, WA. Afternoon host and former Seahawks LB Dave Wyman will be joined by University of Washington professor Dr. Stan Herring, and Kent School District Athletic Director Dave Lutes on the panel. Danny O’Neil, who hosts the afternoon show with Wyman and Jim Moore, will serve as moderator.

Former 101.3 ESPN afternoon host and play by play voice of Vermont men’s basketball AJ Kanell has resurfaced as the new play by play voice of Siena men’s basketball. Kanell made his on-air debut this past weekend.

With Kanell now at Siena, Sam Hyman has taken over as the play by play announcer of Vermont men’s basketball. The Catamounts continue to air their games on 101.3 ESPN in Burlington.

Double duty is what Jay Alter has earned. The Syracuse graduate has been named the TV/Radio play by play voice for Columbia women’s basketball as well as a play by play voice for Big East digital.

104.5 The Team in Albany has started utilizing Chris Onorato in a fill in hosting role when Rodger Wyland has days off.

St. Louis Cardinals play by play broadcaster Dan McLaughlin has agreed to provide play-by-play of 10 St. Louis University Billikens men’s basketball games this season. The games will be carried on FOX Sports Midwest or Fox Sports Plus and streamed on foxsportsgo.com.

The Ames Tribune has hired Joseph Hoyt to serve as their beat reporter for Iowa State sports. Hoyt announced the news earlier this month.

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Mike and The Mad Dog Reunion Set For First Take on February 1

“I can tell you this, no other people, the three of us for two hours. Think about that.”

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It’s not a rumor or a wishful thought anymore. According to Chris Russo, we are getting the long-awaited Mike and the Mad Dog reunion. Russo and Stephen A. Smith will be joined by Mike Francesa for the entire two hours of First Take on February 1.

Russo made the announcement on his SiriusXM show Thursday afternoon. It is possible that it was a mistake though.

“Did anybody catch the reunion we’re going to have on February 1?” he said. “Did everybody see that? Stevie did say it on Howard, didn’t he?”

Stephen A. Smith told Howard Stern earlier this week that he intends to reunite Mike and the Mad Dog, but he did not set an official date. Chris Russo acknowledged that he may not have been authorized to say it yet either, but now that the cat was out of the bag, he gave more details.

“It sounds like the big guy will return and we’ll have the three of us in there,” he told the audience. “I can tell you this, no other people, the three of us for two hours. Think about that. You talk about me being a fraud, Mike hated ESPN for 100 years!”

If Russo is correct, that means no rotating analysts and no Molly Qerim. If the goal is to give the audience more Mike and the Mad Dog, then ESPN is making sure nothing gets in the way.

An interesting question now is what is Stephen A. Smith’s role in the reunion. He likely played a pivotal role in closing the deal to get Francesa on ESPN for a day, but what will he do on camera on February 1?

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Shan & RJ Defend GBag Nation After Christian McCaffrey Comments

“Somewhere we lost the ability to know what irreverence sounds like.”

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It’s no secret that San Francisco 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey has been injury prone during his NFL career. 105.3 The Fan’s GBag Nation said it would benefit the Cowboys for McCaffrey to come down with an injury ahead of the team’s NFC Divisional Round playoff matchup this week, and that message wasn’t well received by 49er fans.

A Twitter user –calling the comments “pathetic” — captured a 15-second clip of the show discussing McCaffrey, in which hosts Gavin Dawson and Bryan Broaddus said “We could use an injury, we really could” followed by saying “a hamstring would be good”. The clip has since garnered nearly 50,000 views.

On Thursday, Shan Shariff of Shan & RJ defended his colleagues by calling out 49er fans.

“Want another example of how soft and whiney these Bay Area fans are? Check out the complete meltdowns and crying over @gbagnation joking about Christian McCaffrey. Charles Barkley was right about everything he’s every said about your city and fans”, before tagging 95.7 The Game –sister station of 105.3 The Fan — and that station’s morning host Bonta Hill.

RJ Choppy, Shariff’s partner on the 105.3 The Fan morning show, continued the defense of the station’s afternoon show. He believed the comments from the show were sarcastic in nature.

“I would say I’m surprised that people are unable to pick up on the clear sarcasm” of the two hosts, before saying “but I’m not. Somewhere we lost the ability to know what irreverence sounds like”.

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Colin Dunlap: Coaches Will Never Eliminate Sideline Interviews From TV Contracts

“They absolutely could resist with the TV rights deals and say ‘we’re just not doing it,’ but they know part of their bread is buttered by having that access.”

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Melissa Stark’s sideline interview with Ravens coach John Harbaugh during the team’s Super Wild Card Round loss to the Cincinnati Bengals last week has received plenty of attention. Harbaugh was less than pleased with being asked what it would take to change quarterbacks.

Erin Andrews addressed interactions with players and athletes like that on Calm Down, the podcast she co-hosts with Charissa Thompson. While Andrews never mentioned Stark by name in her profanity-laced rant, she did say that coaches and players know when someone is trying to make a name for themselves.

“You don’t have to be an asshole,” the FOX Sports sideline reporter said. “How about this? Stop trying to make a name for yourself or be clickbait with these questions that tie these guys down or put them in a bind where you want to be the person in the press conference. Don’t do that. They’re not animals. They’re not pieces of meat.”

On Thursday’s edition of The Fan Morning Show on 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh, Chris Mack objected to the idea that the interview was Stark trying to get attention.

“Melissa Stark has been doing this for years and I think is pretty good at it and I think those questions were all fair,” he said.

Co-host Dorin Dickerson saw it a little differently. In addition to his role on The Fan Morning Show, Dickerson is also a sideline reporter for the Pitt Panthers’ football radio network. He did not think Stark respected the reality of sideline interviews.

“What Melissa Stark did there, she was prying too much,” he said. “You know that you’re gonna get the run-of-the-mill answers when you ask a coach. The last thing a coach wants to do is talk to you after a bad first half.”

Colin Dunlap added that sideline interviews have value but are not necessary. He said that he enjoyed having access to coaches in the middle of a game, however, coaches could make a point of eliminating sideline interviews from future NFL TV contracts if they are a real problem. He doesn’t expect that would ever happen though.

“They could resist. They absolutely could resist with the TV rights deals and say ‘we’re just not doing it,’ but they know part of their bread is buttered by having that access. That’s built into the television contract.”

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