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Stephen A. Smith Headlines ESPN Radio Lineup Changes

Jason Barrett

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ESPN Radio has announced upcoming lineup changes which will go into effect January 2, 2018. The news confirms the departure of Bomani Jones and Jalen & Jacoby from terrestrial radio to create exclusive digital content. Israel Gutierrez is also replaced alongside Sarah Spain by Jason Fitz.

The biggest news though involves an expanded presence for Stephen A. Smith who takes over weekdays from 1p-3p ET. The move results in Ryen Russillo shifting to afternoons where he’ll now team with up with Will Cain. Smith’s program had been airing locally during those hours in New York and Los Angeles. Industry insiders expected Smith to be a featured attraction on the network last January when he departed from SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Radio but network officials decided to wait on making the move.

All ESPN Radio shows will be available live and as podcasts via ESPNRadio.com and the ESPN app, as well as on SiriusXM Channel 80 (live only), Apple Music, TuneIn and Slacker Radio.

“Top to bottom, ESPN Radio will have the strongest, most experienced and most thought-provoking lineup in sports talk radio,” said Traug Keller, senior vice president, ESPN Audio. “Diverse voices with a variety of perspectives will provide listeners with compelling content all day long.”

Additionally, ESPN will launch a new podcast with Bomani Jones. New episodes will be available 2-3 times per week with each episode expected to run between 45-60 minutes. Jalen Rose and David Jacoby will also provide their original Jalen & Jacoby podcast starting January 2nd. The podcast will be produced 4-5 times per week with a focus on sports and pop culture. Katie Nolan has also been summoned to create a weekly digital program with a start date set for January 10th.

“Podcasting is changing how audio is consumed, since the listener is more in charge than ever, and offering dynamic content is a smart way to grow our business and serve our listeners,” said Keller. “Adding original podcasts with Bomani, David, Jalen and Katie is a key component of the overall strategy to grow our Audio on Demand business,” Keller added.  “These talented voices resonate across platforms and especially with consumers in the digital space.”

Sports Radio News

Jonathan Zaslow No Longer With WQAM

An attempt to reach out to Zaslow for comment went unanswered.

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WQAM midday host Jonathan Zaslow is no longer with WQAM in Miami.

The radio station has removed his show from the website and references to him and his normal 10a-2p ET midday timeslot program have been scrubbed from the station website.

Zaslow tweeted at 5:19p ET confirming the news.

Whether or not this has any effect on his involvement with the Miami Heat broadcasts is unknown as of now.

Zaslow had been with 790 the Ticket since 2004. He was transitioned from Audacy-owned 790 to sister station AM 560 Sports WQAM last October. During his tenure he has worked with a number of established local voices including Joy Taylor, Amber Wilson, Brett Romberg, and Brendan Tobin amongst others.

WQAM has gone thru a number of changes, including a rebranding effort to call the station “560 The Joe”. That ended last year with the station returning to the AM 560 Sports WQAM brand listeners were more familiar with. What they have planned next in Zaslow’s timeslot is unclear but local listeners will likely get some answers next week.

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Sports Radio News

Vanessa Richardson Named Houston Rockets Sideline Reporter, Paul Gallant to Host Solo on ESPN 97.5

Vanessa Richardson will be on the sidelines for the Houston Rockets and Paul Gallant will host solo show on ESPN 97.5.

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Vanessa and Gallant

Changes are taking place in Houston sports media. First, the Houston Rockets will have a new television sideline reporter this season, and she’s a familiar name to Houston sports fans.

Vanessa Richardson, the now former co-host of ESPN 97.5’s Vanessa and Gallant, revealed that she will be on the sidelines for the NBA franchise covering the team for AT&T SportsNet Southwest.

She tweeted the news saying, “Elated to be the new Houston Rockets sideline reporter! I can’t wait to travel the country & share the stories of this dynamic team during 80+ games on AT&T SportsNet Southwest. I’ll continue to fill-in as a host/reporter for Astros broadcasts as well.”

Richardson’s co-host, Paul Gallant, tweeted that with Richardson leaving the show for the Rockets sideline gig, Vanessa and Gallant will become the Paul Gallant Show. The solo show led by Gallant begins Monday September 26th.

“We’re excited to have Paul host his own show”, said Todd Farquharson, General Manager of ESPN 97.5 & 92.5.  “He’s super creative, energetic, and likeable.  He’ll get the audience involved and have fun.”

Paul commented, “You know what I’ve always loved about sports talk radio?  That it’s interactive.  Whether through a phone call, text message, tweet or on Twitch, it’s the best place for sports fans to come together and celebrate…or vent.  And that’s what The Paul Gallant Show is going to be…Houston’s platform to talk about its teams. THE most interactive sports talk show in Houston.”

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Sports Radio News

Ken Carman: Al Michaels ‘Feels Untethered’ On Amazon Prime Video

“The thing that stuck out was Kirk Herbstreit ripping the elf,” said Carman. “Don’t be ripping Brownie the Elf, man.”

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The Cleveland Browns defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers during Thursday Night Football on Amazon Prime Video. 92.3 The Fan morning host Ken Carman applauded Al Michaels for his performance during the presentation.

“Al Michaels feels untethered for the first time. He’s not network television anymore and he can say whatever he wants. We interviewed him on the pregame show and I was nervous,” Carman said.

“He’s a legend,” co-host Anthony Lima added.

During the final play of the game, the Steelers fumbled a lateral into the endzone which the Browns recovered to make the final score 29-17. Michaels said “that may be meaningful to some of you. And you know who I mean”, alluding to people who had placed wagers on the game.

Carman, who hosts two-hours of pre-game coverage on the Browns Radio Network, continued to discuss how nervous he was interviewing Michaels. He also discussed how impressive Amazon’s behind-the-scenes production was, pointing out the only football broadcast with more cameras is the Super Bowl. More than 400 people work behind the scenes for Amazon Prime Video.

“The thing that stuck out was Kirk Herbstreit ripping the elf,” said Carman. “Don’t be ripping Brownie the Elf, man.”

Carman later said people angry that Michaels misspoke by saying the Pro Football Hall of Fame is “down I-71” instead of I-77 were unreasonable, and joked “Al Michaels hasn’t been on a highway in 20 years”.

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