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Under The Radar – June 19, 2017

Jason Barrett

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The news keeps trickling in so this week we have 15 items to fill you in on. A reminder, it’s extremely helpful to us when you pass along news tips, press releases and social media links. That allows us to stay informed and keep the rest of the sports radio industry updated. If you have future information to pass along, please send it via email to [email protected]. Now on to the news!

A war of words escalated last week in the big apple between Craig Carton of WFAN and Peter Rosenberg of 98.7 FM ESPN NY. The spat began over differing views over LeBron James’ home being vandalized in Los Angeles. After Carton shared why certain parts of the story didn’t make sense to him, Rosenberg took exception. That then led to a caller bringing up Rosenberg ‘s rebuttal to Carton who fired back. Rosenberg then countered via a video post.

Staying in New York, the New York Post caught up with Brandon Tierney of CBS Sports Radio. The headline of the piece is sure to raise a few eyebrows, “Why I am not chasing Mike Francesa’s throne anymore.” To read the article click here.

A little further north in Albany, congrats are in order for Jeff Levack of 104.5 The Team. The afternoon host announced via social media that he’s signed a new 2-year contract to continue working for the radio station.

106.7 The Fan has announced they’ve reached agreement with Washington Redskins QB Kirk Cousins to once again contribute throughout the NFL season. Cousins will appear weekly with Grant and Danny for the third straight season. In addition, Cousins will appear on the station in July, two days after the deadline passes for the Redskins and Cousins to reach a long-term deal. Whether he does or doesn’t sign a new deal, he plans to give only one interview afterwards, and that will be to The Fan.

Shifting to the west coast, Tim Montemayor has joined 1580 The Fanatic in Phoenix. The sports radio veteran has previously worked in Chicago, San Francisco, St. Louis, Sacramento and Salt Lake City and is now hosting weekdays 12p-3p MT on the station. He made his weekday debut on June 5th.

An interesting look at the latest Toronto sports radio ratings was provided by Toronto Sports Media. In the latest book, The FAN 590 maintains a commanding lead over local competitor TSN 1050. The Fan’s highest rated performance was from 9a-12p when Jeff Blair and Baseball Central are on the air. The two stations have their closest contest between the hours of 1p-4p ET. Click here to see the full details.

In Vancouver, longtime Canucks writer Iain McIntyre has announced that he’s joining SportsNet in September. McIntyre will produce content for the company online and television. He’ll also contribute on radio once the company launches their new sports radio station SportsNet 650.

Westwood One has set their broadcast crew for the College World Series Finals June 26-28 live from Omaha. Kevin Kugler and Scott Graham will call the action, and 1620 the Zone’s John Bishop will contribute as field reporter for the series. Bishop serves as the voice of Creighton baseball and basketball and co-host’s The Zone’s afternoon show Unsportsmanlike Conduct.

Elsewhere in the network play by play space, Touchdown Radio has announced its 2017 college football schedule. This year’s broadcast team features Roxy Bernstein and Taylor Zarzour calling the action, and former Miami Hurricanes quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Gino Torretta providing analysis. To see the network’s full game schedule click here.

Congratulations is in order for 101 ESPN. The St. Louis sports radio station won the award for Best Original Programming at the 2017 Missouri Broadcasters Association Annual Convention. The piece of content which the station produced to earn recognition was their “Legends of the Dome Charity Flag Football Game” featuring a live game broadcast from the Edward Jones Dome which featured former members of the St. Louis Rams.

Greg Peterson is on the move. After spending the past year with 102.9/750 The Game in Portland as a producer and on-air contributor, Peterson has accepted an opportunity in Las Vegas with the Vegas Stats and Information Network (VSIN) which features Brent Musburger. He’s expected to serve as a producer and college basketball analyst.

Another off the air addition has been made in Houston. SB Nation Radio has added Christopher Tubbs as the new producer of GameNight with Matt Perrault. Tubbs will officially relocate to his new job on July 17th.

Sports Radio 610 in Houston debuted a new Saturday show this past weekend featuring Landry Locker and Matt Hammond. The duo teamed up from 1p-4p CT.

A new play by play announcer has been hired by Learfield Sports for Mississippi State football and men’s basketball games. Neil Price has been named the new voice of the Bulldogs. He takes over for Jim Ellis who retired in March.

Jason Myrtetus of 97.5 The Fanatic has announced plans to launch a new podcast titled Stick To Hockey. Myrtetus says he considered taking the plunge for the past few years and is finally ready to give it a go. The plan for the new audio offering is to provide discussion, debate, news, guests, and interaction on the coolest game on ice.

In the print world, the sale of Yahoo to Verizon has led to a few talented writers losing their positions. Among the affected include Kelly Dwyer and Eric Edholm of Yahoo Sports. Dwyer contributed to Ball Don’t Lie and Edholm to Shutdown Corner.

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Mike Evans: ‘NBA Unplugged’ is ‘Kind of a Rip Off of the Manningcast’

“Guys like Kevin Hart and Cedric, stick to entertaining because you clearly aren’t good basketball fans.”

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Mike Evans
Courtesy: Denver Sports 104.3 The Fan

The Denver Nuggets and Minnesota Timberwolves took the court on Wednesday night in a matchup between the two top teams in the Western Conference. On the strength of a 41-point game by center and two-time NBA Most Valuable Player Nikola Jokić, the Nuggets secured the 116-107 victory and propelled themselves to the No. 1 seed in the conference. During the preceding game between the Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat, ESPN2 broadcast NBA Unplugged with Kevin Hart, a new alternate broadcast that premiered earlier in the season. During the second quarter appearance from Cedric the Entertainer, there was a conversation pertaining to if Jokić should be named the league MVP for the third consecutive year.

Hart stated that the NBA cannot grant Jokić another MVP award, stating that it would not be good for the Association. The conversation continued to see if he would be allowed to win a Finals MVP award should the Nuggets qualify in the final round. Cedric the Entertainer ultimately agreed that Jokić could not garner the MVP and stated that it did not feel like he was having as much of a dominant year. Denver Sports 104.3 The Fan morning program Schlereth and Evans played the audio after reviewing a quote from Nuggets head coach Michael Malone where he expressed that he hoped the national audience would recognize the greatness of the center.

“I get a little pissy about people out there in the NBA universe who just refuse to acknowledge what’s so obvious in front of us,” co-host Mike Evans said to lead into the sound. “During the Dallas game that was broadcast earlier in the night, their NBA Unplugged, it’s kind of a rip-off of the whole Manningcast, they had Kevin Hart and Cedric the Entertainer on chopping it up about basketball; a couple of basketball experts.”

Evans went on to explain that he believes there are four reasons why people diminish Jokić and his ability to earn a third-consecutive NBA MVP award. The first of which is that he plays in a small marketplace, something that could have precipitated the comment from Nuggets head coach Michael Malone during his postgame press conference.

“I do think that if Nikola Jokić was doing what he’s been doing the last several years – if he was doing it in Boston, New York, Chicago, Philly, LA – it’d be a completely different narrative around him,” Evans said. “That’s one – Denver, sorry, just being honest.”

The second point Evans made pertained to Jokić’s style of play, much of which comes under the rim and involves setting up his teammates. Jokić is a skilled mid-range and three-point shooter as well, but he tends not to have jaw-dropping plays in this regard. As a result, Evans stated that he is not a dream for someone trying to compile a highlight package for an ESPN program. The latter two points related to the fact that he is European and white, and Evans proceeded to explain that there is prejudice, bigotry and racism in the world.

“The only guys who don’t say he’s the best player in the NBA that are NBA players are former NBA players,” co-host Mark Schlereth added. “Have you noticed that?”

In response to Schlereth, Evans stated that former point guard Gilbert Arenas has been vocal about Jokić lately, but that people who are still playing or recently retired recognize and acknowledge the prowess of the Nuggets center. He then concluded the segment by thanking Jokić for continuing to drive people crazy, but not before he delivered a parting message to Kevin Hart and Cedric the Entertainer. In fact, he began to refer to Cedric the Entertainer as “Cedric” because of what he had to say during his NBA Unplugged appearance.

“Guys like Kevin Hart and Cedric, stick to entertaining because you clearly aren’t good basketball fans,” Evans said.

ESPN, Hartbeat and Omaha Productions announced in December that NBA Unplugged with Kevin Hart was scheduled to broadcast seven episodes during the NBA season. Earlier this week, ESPN and Omaha Productions agreed to a nine-year media rights extension, extending their partnership which has included alternate broadcasts, original podcasts and content exclusive to ESPN+ since beginning their collaboration a few years prior.

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Steve ‘Sparky’ Fifer to Host Daily Show on 1250 The Fan in Milwaukee

“I’m super excited to be hosting ‘Wisconsin Sports Daily,’ and I can’t wait to talk about our favorite sports teams with our loyal listeners.”

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Logo of 1250 The Fan in Milwaukee

Steve ‘Sparky’ Fifer will host a new local weekday afternoon show on 1250 The Fan in Milwaukee station owner Audacy announced today. Wisconsin Sports Daily will air weekdays from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. CT beginning April 15. 

“I’m super excited to be hosting ‘Wisconsin Sports Daily,’ and I can’t wait to talk about our favorite sports teams with our loyal listeners,” said Fifer. “The opportunity to host great guests to add to our conversations is a plus. Let’s bring some passion back into sports talk radio in Milwaukee!”

As the first daily show since August 2022, “Wisconsin Sports Daily” will fill weekdays with discussions about Milwaukee sports, guest interviews and interactions between Fifer and his listeners.

Fifer is also the Assistant Program Director for the station and covers the Milwaukee Bucks, Green Bay Packers and Professional Bowlers Association . He has been with the station since its start in January 2005. He also helps run Audacy’s BetQL Network in other markets.

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Dan Le Batard: Stugotz Turned Down WFAN Because “He Didn’t Want to Work That Hard”

“It would have been interesting. It would have been different.”

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Stugotz
Courtesy: Meadowlark Media

Two weeks ago, WFAN host Gregg Giannotti hinted there was a “bombshell candidate” in the search for a new program director. Today, we learned officially that candidate was Jon Weiner, aka Stugotz from The Dan Le Batard Show, and he will not be taking the position.

“We talked about the bombshell program director candidate a couple of weeks ago,” Giannotti said this morning on Boomer & Gio. “Well, I can report a couple of things…The process is not over…The bombshell of the world is out…There was mutual interest on both sides, there was a lot of discussions back and forth, they really tried to make it work, creative ways to see if it could happen, it just ultimately in the end did not happen…I do know it did not work out and there is one less candidate. So now the focus has gone from bombshell to more mainstream [candidates].

“I can’t answer many questions about it…but as of right now I can only say, this is the bombshell candidate, and he is now out and his name is Stugotz. Jon Weiner was the bombshell candidate, and he loves this place, and they had a lot of discussions…but he is now out. There was a point I thought it was going to happen.”

Dan Le Batard also discussed the topic on his show this morning and made his listeners and some of his staff aware of how qualified Stugotz was for the job.

“The industry Stugotz helped build should feel flattered that he would entertain the idea of coming back to be a power broker, lazy and fat and comfortable. Boomer Esiason just got done telling Stugotz that now, unfortunately they are going to have a professional environment.

“Stugotz kind of helped invent the revolution of sports radio in Miami. Where Miami had been doing sports radio the way New York did it and Stugotz hired a whole bunch of young people and created a radio station that was doing it different entirely than the generation of people who were doing it all over the country.”

“I remember thinking to myself ‘there has to be a younger, hipper, cooler way of doing this in Miami,'” Stugotz said.

“I hope New York radio is flattered that someone who helped shape and shake this industry was willing to consider it at 50, but he didn’t want to work that hard,” Le Batard said.

“Well, that hard for that amount of money,” Stugotz replied.

So, the search continues to find the replacement for Spike Eskin who will soon be headed back to Philadelphia. Giannotti said a few weeks ago he believes Spike Eskin’s contract expires with WFAN on June 20th.

In mid-December it was announced Eskin would return to SportsRadio 94WIP in Philadelphia as afternoon drive co-host. Eskin will leave his current position, which he has held since July, 2021. At the time of that announcement, it was said Eskin would return to the WIP airwaves, on a full-time basis, once his successor at WFAN and CBS Sports Radio has been found.

As for the what if of Stugotz having taken the job, Giannotti said, “It would have been interesting. It would have been different.”

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