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Under The Radar – January 16, 2017

Jason Barrett

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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 [email protected]. 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.

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Mark Schlereth: Level of Intrigue for ‘Receiver’ on Netflix is ‘Not Less Than Zero, Although It’s Close’

“It’s not zero.”

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Mark Schlereth
Courtesy: FOX Sports

Netflix recently released the trailer for Receiver, a 10-part docuseries produced by NFL Films, Omaha Productions and 2PM Productions that will premiere on July 10. The show features NFL stars Davante Adams, Justin Jefferson, George Kittle, Deebo Samuel and Amon-Ra St. Brown, giving viewers a look into their lives on and off the gridiron. The series is a sequel to Quarterback, which premiered last summer and received stellar reviews from a large faction of viewers when it highlighted quarterbacks Patrick Mahomes, Kirk Cousins and Marcus Mariota. Mat Smith, who was filling in for Mike Evans on Friday’s edition of Schlereth and Evans, mentioned the series as part of the show’s “4 Down Territory” segment in which they discuss key topics from the world of football.

Smith outlined that the show had problems getting more quarterbacks to commit last year and could not really pull off the concept because of its intensity. The show, however, did exhibit parts of their personal lives and ended up following Mahomes as he won Super Bowl LVII from State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. Heading into the new season, Smith was curious to get Schlereth’s perspective on the level of intrigue he had in the sequel.

“It’s not zero,” Schlereth said. “It’s not less than zero, although it’s close.”

Schlereth played 12 seasons in the NFL as an offensive lineman and currently serves as a broadcast analyst for FOX Sports in addition to co-hosting morning drive on Denver Sports 104.3 The Fan. Smith then asked him if he would be interested should the third season of the show be titled Offensive Lineman and presumably follow athletes in that position.

“Zero,” Schlereth said. “Yeah, I already did that – I lived that. That was the thing with the Quarterback thing. Everybody was like, ‘Oh, you got to watch this, you got to watch it. Oh, it’s unbelievable, you’ve got to watch it,’ and so I was like, ‘Alright, I’ll watch one episode,’ and I watched it and I was completely bored with it.”

Since he was a former NFL player, Schlereth did not need for the program to divulge what happens behind the scenes. In fact, he was somewhat indifferent towards the whole venture, not really finding it interesting for him because he previously lived in a similar situation. To close the segment, Smith wanted to know if his interest would change if the series was simply called Schlereth and ostensibly chronicled his life along the same premise.

“I think it would be the worst show ever produced on television,” Schlereth said, “because you would think you were getting into something really juicy and you realize how freaking boring I am.”

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Caroline Fenton Announces She is Leaving 102.5 The Game

“Please bear with me today as I work through the emotions of leaving a place that has become my home with people that grew into family.”

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Logo for 102.5 The Game in Nashville and a photo of Caroline Fenton
Photo Courtesy: 102.5 The Game

Caroline Fenton, who has been a part of 102.5 The Game in Nashville since 2021, announced today on her X account that today will be her last day with the station. She did not say what she’d be doing next but said she would announce that soon.

Fenton’s announcement said, “Today is my last day at 102.5 The Game. Please bear with me today as I work through the emotions of leaving a place that has become my home with people that grew into family. I’ve felt so much love this week, so thank you.”

Fenton joined the station in 2021 as part of the Stillman & Company show in afternoon drive. When the station shuffled its lineup around in January 2023, Fenton was moved to middays where she has been part of Caroline, Willy & DMase with Willy Daunic and former Tennessee Titans wide receiver Derrick Mason.

Fenton came to Nashville from ESPN in Bristol, CT where she created content and contributed on-air as a social/digital video producer. She is a native of St. Louis and a graduate of LSU.

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Sean Pendergast: I Didn’t Know Brian Windhorst Had This in Him

“He destroyed Luka in the postgame after Game 3.”

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Brian Windhorst
Courtesy: Juan Ocampo, ESPN Images

The Boston Celtics are preparing to take the court Friday night with a 3-0 series lead in the NBA Finals, only needing to secure one more victory to obtain the 18th championship in franchise history. Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Dončić, who helped lead the team to the NBA Finals with a strong postseason performance, has struggled throughout the series and been on the receiving end of criticism about his conduct and play on the court. Seth Payne and Sean Pendergast of SportsRadio 610 in Houston spoke about how Dončić was evoking a similar sentiment to that of former Rockets guard James Harden in that he is an offensive-minded player who demonstrates minimal effort on the defensive end.

Payne expressed that Rockets fans had been frustrated that Dončić would be praised for his style of play while Harden would be somewhat castigated over the years. The plaudits that he has received though seems to have taken a turn amid this series because of the lackluster play.

“This is not a great Finals – [it] could get closed out tonight – and Luka in Game 3 was a mess,” Pendergast said. “He’s arguing with the refs, he’s arguing with his bench… yelling like a child at his coaches. Not a good look.”

The criticism of Dončić from ESPN senior NBA writer Brian Windhorst on SportsCenter with SVP gained notoriety on Wednesday night because of the tone used and the way in which Dončić was called out for carrying himself. The Payne & Pendergast morning drive show played audio of Windhorst delivering his analysis of what occurred on the court and the sentiment surrounding the team.

“Brian Windhorst, man,” Pendergast said. “I didn’t know Windhorst had this in him. He destroyed Luka in the postgame after Game 3.”

Windhorst believed that Dončić put himself in an unacceptable position fouling out of Game 3, specifically in how he looked at his bench after committing his sixth foul and stating that they “better bleeping challenge it.” Within his report, he stated that he was standing in the Mavericks tunnel and that the winners are within the Celtics tunnel and then referenced what Dončić would have to do in order to render the Mavericks tunnel the location of the winners.

“His defensive performance is unacceptable – he is a hole on the court; the Celtics are attacking him,” Windhorst said. “They are ahead in this series because they have attacked him defensively, and you’ve got a situation here where Luka’s complaining about the officiating. They have begged him – they have talked with him, they have pleaded with him. He is costing his team because of how he treats the officials.”

Windhorst continued to voice that Dončić was going to have to get over it, but the fact that he blamed the officials after the game demonstrated to him that he is not close. The performance he had in Game 3 is one that Windhorst called “unacceptable” and attributed it to a reason as to why the Mavericks are not going to win.

“So maybe over the summer somebody will get to him because nobody with the Mavericks or anybody else in his life has, and that’s where the Mavericks are at this point,” Windhorst said. “They’re never going to get to this tunnel with the trophy if he doesn’t improve those aspects of his game.”

The comments from Windhorst elicited further discussion on SportsRadio 610 about the similarities and differences between Dončić and Harden. Whereas Dončić is gaining a reputation for complaining to the officials, Payne conveyed that Harden was “surgical” in his understanding of how to create fouls during the game. Although everyone in the league “begs for calls at some point,” according to Payne, he never recalled Harden having an issue with the officials throughout an entire series.

“If they get swept out of the Finals, that’s going to be a huge story,” Pendergast said. “That’s going to hover over him all summer, like the poor performance in the Finals [and] just the complete fade. You could argue Luka would have been better off playing heroically in a seven-game loss in the Conference Finals than making it to the Finals and getting destroyed.”

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