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Under The Radar – January 16, 2017

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A number of news items you may not be aware of from the world of sports media. As usual, if you have a tip to share or a press release to pass along, send it via email to JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me. Now here’s this week’s news.

John Cassio has been hired by SiriusXM as the new program director of College Sports Nation. Cassio fills the vacancy left behind by TJ Cuttini. Prior to accepting the offer to join SiriusXM, Cassio was the program director for Fox Sports 97.3 The Fan in Fort Meyers, FL.

In Boston, WEEI.com has added Alex Reimer as a full-time contributor. Reimer will also continue making on-air contributions to Kirk and Callahan‘s morning show on WEEI.

Here’s a very cool idea that Atlanta sports radio personality Mark Zinno has developed. The evening host on 92.9 The Game has announced he’s launching the Hazard Ground Podcast, a program which will include conversations with military members and their stories of survival, combat, and beyond. To check it out click here. The first episode drops on Tuesday.

Congratulations to Owen Lademann who been named the new producer of Ken Carman and Anthony Lima‘s morning show on 92.3 The Fan in Cleveland. Lademann had previously produced Nick Wilson‘s evening show on the station. He fills the vacancy left behind by Landry Locker who left for Houston to produce MaD Radio on Sports Radio 610.

Look for former 97.5 The Fanatic host Jon Marks to resurface soon on the airwaves in Philadelphia. Marks’ non-compete is expected to expire soon. While it’s unclear which station he will be heard on, local sources say to expect him to join WIP. Stay tuned.

After winning a world series, the Chicago Cubs are satisfied sticking with what’s worked on their television broadcasts. The team has signed TV broadcasters Len Kasper and Jim DeShaies to contract extensions through the 2019 season.

Speaking of contracts, Ben Maller has inked a new deal to remain on the airwaves of FOX Sports Radio. Premiere Radio Networks, which operates FSR, has been very pleased with Maller’s performance and growth.

One additional contract extension comes from the CBS Sports Radio Network. Amy Lawrence has agreed to terms to continue patrolling the network’s airwaves overnight. The network has signed her to a multi-year deal.

Congratulations is in order for Cliff Saunders who has been retained for a 5th season on Houston Astros pre and postgame shows. Astros radio broadcasts are carried on NewsRadio 740 KTRH in Houston.

Matt Pauley is adding to his workload by adding anchor work at SB Nation Radio. Pauley also works for 620 WTMJ in Milwaukee as the station’s pre and postgame host for Milwaukee Brewers baseball.

A second sports station has been introduced in Eugene, Oregon. Steve Woodward has launched FOX Sports Eugene, which includes FSR programming, play by play from the Portland Trail Blazers and San Francisco 49ers, and local reports. The station is broadcasting on KORE 1050AM, which previously aired Christian programming for over four decades.

Meanwhile in San Antonio, Cox Radio has decided to exit the sports format. The company has flipped CBS Sports Radio 860 to the oldies format.

Alex Womer has been named Sports Blitz anchor on FOX Sports 1330 and Assistant Production Director of Connoisseur Media‘s six radio stations in Eerie, PA. Womer had worked for the company in a variety of roles before being elevated to full-time status.

In the TV world, ESPN is losing one of its play by play announcers. Eamon McAnaney is leaving the network for a full time anchor role with SNY.

ESPN high profile personality Stephen A. Smith is one of seven honorees who will be inducted into the 2016-2017 John B. McLendon Jr. Hall of Fame. The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association will hold its ceremony for the honorees on February 24th.

The WWE has hired Vic Travagliante as an on-air announcer. He will go by the name of Vic Joseph on the air. He’s recently served as the voice of the wrestling promotion House of Hardcore, and previously spent time working for the Cleveland Browns Network and CBS Cleveland.

Sports Radio News

Bobby Valentine Tells Boomer & Gio Donald Trump Photo Sunk Him

“Valentine ran as an unaffiliated candidate and fell to Democratic State Rep. Caroline Simmons in the Stamford mayoral race.”

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Courtesy: WFAN

Former MLB manager and ESPN baseball analyst Bobby Valentine joined WFAN’s Boomer and Gio this week to discuss his mayoral campaign in Stamford, Connecticut. 

Valentine ran as an unaffiliated candidate and fell to Democratic State Rep. Caroline Simmons in the race. He claims that a decades-old picture with him and former President Donald Trump sunk his chances.

“We had a photo taken together in 2000 for the World Series and so the last day of the campaign all around the neighborhoods, a picture of Donald and Bobby with the quote ‘only poor people and dumb people pay taxes,’” Valentine told Boomer and Gio about the photo that circulated around the town on Election Day.

“That really helped with the minority vote in my town,” Valentine said sarcastically.

It wasn’t all bad news for Valentine, who was enamored with the campaign-building process, among other things.

“Built it [the campaign] from scratch, which was a wonderful experience” Valentine explained. “Figuring out how to get volunteers together, and money together, and office, and headquarters together. We actually ran a six-month—perfectly clean—campaign. Not one negative word mentioned the entire time. Got 14,000 votes, more than any non-Democrat ever got in our city, and almost won that thing.

“I’m glad that I was the candidate, and I’m also glad that I’m not the mayor because it’s really a tough job. I got four years of my life back when the votes came in.”

Valentine worked at ESPN for a few years in the early part of the 2010s before re-entering the managing circuit with the Boston Red Sox. He famously managed the Mets to one of their two World Series appearances this century in 2000.

“It’s a little bit of the seven-year itch,” Valentine said when asked why he’s always looking for the next obstacle. “I did seven years in Texas; seven years in New York; seven years in Japan; seven months in Boston. Then I did seven years at Sacred Heart. So, yeah, it’s all about the sevens.”

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Sports Radio News

Tony Rizzo To Baker Mayfield Critics: I Hope You’re Happy

“850 ESPN Cleveland host Tony Rizzo laid it all out on the table during The Really Big Show.”

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Courtesy: ESPN Cleveland

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield hasn’t looked like much of a franchise star so far in 2021, and it has all the attention of sports radio in The Land. 

850 ESPN Cleveland host Tony Rizzo laid it all out on the table during The Really Big Show.

“You happy?” Rizzo said to his co-host, Aaron Goldhammer. “Are you Baker [Mayfield] haters? Are you guys happy? Baker looks bad, and you wanna jump down his throat. I’M A BROWNS FAN! I’M A BROWNS FAN. IT’S LIKE YOU’RE ROOTING AGAINST OUR QUARTERBACK!”

Mayfield has struggled with shoulder and knee injuries throughout this season and ranks 25th out of 33 qualified quarterbacks in ESPN’s QBR metric (42.9 out of 100).

“You want him to fail,” Rizzo continued. “To prove what? You were right? Do you realize what happens if this kid isn’t the right guy? WE’RE GONNA SUCK, AGAIN. You don’t find quarterbacks. It took you 20 years to find a guy to win 11 games. Now you don’t think he can take you the rest of the way? Are you happy?”

The Browns went on the road this past weekend and the New England Patriots stomped them 45-7. The loss meant Cleveland still hasn’t won in Foxboro since 1992, when, ironically, now Patriots head coach Bill Belichick held the same role with Cleveland.

“I hope you’re all happy,” Rizzo declared. “I hope you’re happy; so you can draft some quarterback in the 30s and try and pray…Don’t you understand? If Baker fails it’s back to the drawing board for my franchise.

“We know that everything has to be right for Baker to win. Sobering stuff for me. This year has been sobering; however, he’s got a bad shoulder, he’s got a broken bone. Now he’s got a bum knee and bum foot. He’s getting beat up. Maybe he can’t play the position.”

Watch the full clip from ESPN Cleveland above.

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Sports Radio News

Kraig Riley Named Brand Manager Of 93.7 The Fan

“He has been with The Fan since its launch in 2010.”

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There’s a new leader in Pittsburgh and Audacy did not have to look too far to find him. Kraig Riley has been promoted to brand manager of 93.7 The Fan.

Riley is a familiar face in the building and voice on the air. He has been with The Fan since its launch in 2010. He has served as producer of the station’s afternoon show The PM Team with Poni & Mueller. He also was the host of the station’s pre and postgame coverage of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The opening was created earlier this year when Jim Graci exited The Fan and sister station KDKA New Radio. Audacy hired industry veteran Dave LaBrozzi, who most recently served as Vice President of Programming for WABC Radio in New York City, to lead the news talk station.

“As both KDKA and The Fan continue to evolve into full multi-platform operations serving our listeners in new ways every day it is clear that both stations need focused leadership,” Michael Spacciapolli, Senior Vice President and Market Manager of Audacy Pittsburgh, said in a press release. “The addition of Dave and promotion of Kraig will help us continue that evolution. There is an expectation of excellence at both stations from the city of Pittsburgh that I have no doubt Dave and Kraig will continue to build on every day.”

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