Under The Radar returns with another jammed pack week of sports media news. As usual, if you have individual or company news to pass along, send it via email to JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me. Now here’s this week’s activity.
Last week’s chaos involving ESPN personality Jemele Hill has opened the floodgates to various individuals and brands defending and attacking the worldwide leader in sports. But one piece in particular stood out. Whether you agree or disagree with the notion that the sports media has shifted to the left, this presentation by John Locke Foundation Senior Vice President Jon Pritchett and Duke University professor Ed Tiryakian is very interesting. To watch it click here.
With many inside the radio industry excited, concerned and curious about the upcoming merger between CBS Radio and Entercom, one question has been how attractive the news is to stock holders. The early returns were favorable but enthusiasm has since faded. CNBC’s “Mad Money” host Jim Cramer addressed the situation and delivered an excellent analysis on why he feels Entercom is a wise investment. To see the segment click here.
Noise was made in Houston this week when the Texans revoked the credentials of Sports Talk 790 host Josh Innes and his producer Jim Mudd. The team was upset after Mudd reported live from practice, sharing formations and plays being used, and announcing which players were involved in team drills. Innes told the Houston Chronicle the Texans acted “randomly and arbitrarily” and that he wasn’t aware of their media policies. He cited the club’s August 22nd practice where fans were allowed to shoot audio and video from the stands as an example of confusion. “We were providing entertainment for our audience. We were trying to give information. Were people amused by it? Yes. My objective is to make people laugh, have a good show, don’t take ourselves seriously.”
97.5 The Fanatic in Philadelphia has stabilized its midday show. The station has promoted afternoon producer Jason Myrtetus to co-host alongside Harry Mayes. Myrtetus spent 4+ years working on Mike Missanelli’s show and says he’s excited for a new chapter in his radio career.
Speaking of additions, Sportsnet 650 in Vancouver has confirmed the hiring of Alex Auld as co-host of “Canucks Central.” Auld joins Satiar Shah weekdays from 12p-1p PT.
101 ESPN in St. Louis is doing something really cool to cover high school football. The radio station has teamed up with Silverback to deliver the high school game of the week via its website and Facebook. The production quality is fantastic and looks like a television broadcast being offered on the station’s digital and social platforms. Brad Barnes and Andrew Rogers call the action. To catch a glimpse click here. The broadcast starts about nine minutes in.
Congratulations is in order for Portland Trail Blazers radio play by play man Brian Wheeler. The veteran voice of the team has inked a new multi-year contract extension to continue calling Blazers basketball. Per company policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Larry Andersen has worked the past 47 summers in baseball. In 2018 that will change. The Philadelphia Phillies color analyst has announced he will decrease his schedule next season on radio broadcasts. The team hasn’t determined yet who will step in when Andersen isn’t working. The former major league reliever says he wants to reduce his travel and enjoy some personal time while he remains above ground.
After exiting AM 1300 The Zone, Rod Babers has resurfaced on the airwaves of crosstown rival 104.9 The Horn. Babers joined the radio station a few weeks ago, hosting a new midday show, “The Rodcast”, M-F 1p-3p CT.
Columbus sports radio station 105.7 The Zone has added a local afternoon show. “The Drive with Jackson and McCoy” now airs weekday afternoons 3p-6p ET. The program features market veteran Matt McCoy and Big Ten Network analyst Stanley Jackson.
Program Director Ryan Porth is getting busy behind the microphone. Porth is hosting a new weekly show called “Preds Insiders” on Nashville sports station 102.5 The Game. The program airs Monday nights from 6p-7p ET.
106.7 The Zone in Madison, Wisconsin has hired a new reporter/host. Danny Cunningham has agreed to join the radio station. He had recently announced his departure from ESPN Cleveland 850 WKNR. Cunningham will cover the Packers, Bucks, Brewers and University of Wisconsin Badgers for the radio station starting September 25th.
Former Louisville host Spencer Kietzman has confirmed he’s joined Arizona’s Sports Station 98.7FM. The son of WHB afternoon host Kevin Kietzman will contribute for the Phoenix brand on a part time basis.
One of Chicago’s most influential sports radio personalities is putting his lifetime of experiences in the business on paper. Former 670 The Score afternoon host Terry Boers is publishing a memoir titled “The Score of a Lifetime.” The book is expected to be released November 15th. For more details including how you can pre-order it click here.
Speaking of books, sports business consultant and host of the Tao of Sports Podcast Troy Kirby has published “Liquid Courage”, a story about three bodybuilders who attempted a casino heist. It’s available on Amazon in paperback or e-book. For more information about the book visit the Facebook page or Twitter page.
All Access featured SiriusXM sports program director Jason Dixon in their latest edition of 10 Questions. To read the piece and become more familiar with Dixon’s career in the radio industry click here.
In Baltimore, Tony Lombardi of Russell Street Report conducted an interview with 105.7 The Fan afternoon host Scott Garceau. The article includes Garceau’s thoughts on working with Jeremy Conn, Anita Marks, callers to his show, and more. To read it click here.
The Baton Rouge Business Report caught up with LSU football sideline reporter and Guaranty Media vice president and general manager Gordy Rush. One of the station’s under Rush’s watch is 104.5 ESPN. To gain further insight into Rush’s background and views click here.
In print news, The Athletic continues to stockpile talented writers. The latest to join the company is Andrew Brandt. The former NFL executive and ESPN NFL business analyst will continue producing written content for Peter King’s MMQB. He’s simply adding to his plate by creating columns for The Athletic.
Brandt may be doing double duty for SI and The Athletic but Chris Burke‘s situation is different. Burke has left SI to join The Athletic where he’ll cover the Detroit Lions for the company’s Detroit platform.
With many Bay Area sports writers flocking to The Athletic, that’s presented opportunity for others at the San Jose Mercury News. Matt Schneidman is the latest to take advantage of the situation. He’s signed on to cover the Oakland Raiders for the local newspaper.
Former FOX Sports writer Pat Muldowney has resurfaced. After being let go as part of FOX’s controversial shift to video, Muldowney has signed on to work for The Ringer.
Barstool Sports has hired their first full-time female on-air talent. Julie Stewart Binks has joined the multi-media company where she’ll be involved in a number of programs for the company. One of those projects includes hosting “The Barstool Tailgate Show” alongside company president Dave Portnoy and former NFL punter Pat McAfee. Stewart-Binks has previously worked for FS1 and works for ESPN as a sideline reporter on MLS games. Her role with Barstool won’t affect her role on ESPN.
VSporto has been ramping up its sports podcast programming. The company recently launched a new national NFL podcast with former ESPN NFL Insider Adam Caplan. They’ve also launched a Houston-centric podcast with local sports radio host Charlie Pallilo, and an irreverent college football show featuring Bleacher Report’s Adam Kramer and CBSSports’ Barrett Sallee.
Sticking with podcasts, Joy Taylor of FOX Sports 1‘s “Undisputed” has entered the digital audio space. Taylor has teamed up with Brandon J. Newman to launch Maybe I’m Crazy. In addition to playing the point guard between Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe, Taylor has long form talk experience. She previously hosted for 790 The Ticket in Miami and has also hosted shows on FOX Sports Radio. To hear the debut episode click here.
In sports television news, Cara Capuano has announced she’s returning to call women’s college sports for ESPN.
Derek Medlin has shared via social media that he’s returning to WRAL in two weeks. Medlin says he’s excited to get back to his roots covering sports for the channel.
Former Dallas Stars play by play man turned Los Angeles Kings announcer Ralph Strangis has received good news. The veteran hockey voice has been summoned by Westwood One to call USA Hockey this February in the winter Olympics.
And congratulations to Evan Pivnick on being named the new play by play voice and Director of Broadcasting for the ECHL’s Adirondack Thunder. Pivnick previously called Bowling Green hockey games.
Michael Irvin Tells Parkins & Spiegel How He Learned What Guacamole Was
“Irvin prefaced the story by saying that he has loved avocados since he was a kid.”
NFL Network analyst and First Take fighter Michael Irvin was the guest of Danny Parkins and Matt Spiegel on Tuesday. 670 The Score’s afternoon hosts asked The Playmaker what his favorite fruit was. It led to a story from Irvin about a recruiting trip that ended in a Mexican restaurant.
Irvin prefaced the story by saying that he has loved avocados since he was a kid. His mother used to clean houses and one of her clients would often send her home with a few avocados. That is how he was first exposed to them.
Fast forward to Michael Irvin’s high school years when he was being recruited to play college football. He was taken to a Mexican restaurant where he saw guacamole.
Irvin told Parkins & Spiegel that he told the waiter “whatever you do, do not put that green, it looks like bird doo doo, on my plate. I can’t even take it. I can’t even stand looking at it.”
Later in the meal, he saw the same waiter walk by with avocado and he asked if he could have some. The waiter said that Michael Irvin had said earlier that he didn’t want it.
“I didn’t say that,” Irvin said. “I said I don’t want that bird doo doo.”
He says that is when one of the people he was dining with spoke up and said “Michael, the bird doo doo is avocado.”
“We asked you for you’re favorite fruit and you had a fruit story. That is why you are one of one,” Danny Parkins responded. “You are Michael Irvin and you are the best man.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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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