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Under The Radar – January 23, 2018

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Most sports radio stations are preparing for next week’s buildup to the Super Bowl. Some are invading Minneapolis to operate on radio row. Others are avoiding the cold and working out of their home studios. Although that may be the focus, it doesn’t mean the news wheel stops spinning. If you’d like to be included in this column in the future, send your information via email to JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me. Now here’s the latest activity in sports media circles.

Bad news to report out of Chicago. Cumulus Media has opted out of their multi-year agreements with the Chicago White Sox and Chicago Bulls. Each team has aired their games on WLS AM 890. Cumulus filed for bankruptcy and as part of the process, have chosen to return a number of Chicago stations to their previous owner Merlin Media. How this will affect the Bulls and White Sox radio partnerships is unclear at this time.

Elsewhere in the windy city, 670 The Score‘s Danny Parkins is trying to make a difference. The Score midday host turned the Chicago Bulls draft night decision of selling off Jordan Bell to the Golden State Warriors into a positive. Parkins had a number of shirts customized with the text “3.5 Million” added on the back. That amount signifies what the Bulls received back for the talented rookie. The shirts are being sold for charity with a portion of the profits going to benefit Feed My Starving Children.

An interesting piece of news was shared in an article last week on the Sports Business Journal‘s website. John Ourand reported that ESPN is cutting back on travel to Minneapolis this year. The network is reportedly reducing the amount of ESPN Radio shows sent to the Super Bowl host city to provide coverage leading up to the Super Bowl.

Well wishes go out to Sports Radio WIP‘s Joe DeCamara. The Philadelphia midday host recently missed a number of shows due to being hospitalized with internal organ issues. DeCamara has since returned to hosting his daily program with Jon Ritchie. With the Eagles Super Bowl bound, DeCamara would have likely had doctors working on him during commercial breaks to make sure he was able to operate behind a microphone over these next two weeks.

101 ESPN afternoon host and former major league baseball pitcher Brad Thompson is earning a little more air time on St. Louis Cardinals television broadcasts this season according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Thompson is expected to work as the team’s color analyst alongside play by play man Dan McLaughlin for 15 games. Regular analyst Al Hrabosky is reducing his workload for the 2018 season. Tim McCarver and Ricky Horton will also continue contributing as analysts to Cardinals telecasts.

SiriusXM‘s PGA Tour channel has announced a few additions. John Cook, an 11-time winner on the PGA Tour, and golf analysts and former collegiate golfers Angela Garcia and Hally Leadbetter have signed on to host shows on the channel. Cook will be heard every Tuesday 7p-8p ET. Garcia and Leadbetter will host a show together every Monday 8p-9p ET.

After 15 years on the Dayton sports scene, Mark Neal has chosen to leave WING-AM ESPN 1410. Neal told the Dayton Daily News that he and his wife have decided to take different career directions, which will pull him him away from the radio station he’s spent the past 18 years at.

A tip of the cap to San Jose Sharks radio voice Dan Rusanowsky. The exceptional Bay Area play by play man recently called his 2,000th regular season Sharks contest.

Also out of the Bay Area, Martin Gallegos has announced he’s signed on full-time as the Oakland A’s beat reporter for the Bay Area News Group (Mercury News/East Bay Times.)

Last but not least, Michael Bish has landed a show on FOX Sports Radio 1340 in Richmond, Virginia. The program is scheduled to debut in February!

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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Sports Radio News

Fred Faour, Fred Davis To Launch ‘Fred Nation’ on SportsMap Radio

“The program, ‘Fred Nation’ will debut on Monday November 29th at 1pm ET.”

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SportsMap Radio is ready to introduce the country to Fred Nation! The network has announced plans to launch a new weekday show featuring familiar Houston sports voices Fred Faour and Fred Davis. The program Fred Nation will debut on Monday November 29th at 1pm ET.

“I’m excited to bring our unique style to SportsMap Radio,” said Faour. “It will be a combination of great sports talk with a big gambling slant. Our irreverent approach will create something very special for the network.”

“The show will be fun, informative, and fast-paced,” added Davis. “And what’s better than one
Fred? Two Freds.”

Faour and Davis will slide into the timeslot previously occupied by Matt Perrault. Faour was a co-host on The Blitz, on ESPN Houston, until August of 2021. The Blitz enjoyed more than a decade of success on Houston’s sports radio airwaves before ending after former host AJ Hoffman left for an opportunity in Las Vegas. In addition to his time on ESPN Houston, Faour has also served as the former editor of SportsMap Houston.

Davis meanwhile previously co-hosted the top rated Fred and Ted on Sports Radio 610 in Houston. He has also made regular on-air contributions on ESPN Houston.

“These two have amazing chemistry,” shared GowMedia CEO, David Gow. “Locally, they each
have a huge following and I expect similar success all throughout the Fred Nation.”

Fred Nation will air weekdays from 1pm-4pm ET.

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Sports Radio News

Evan Roberts Invited Steve Somers To Thanksgiving In 1995

“Steve Somers did not go to the Roberts house that year. He did tell Evan not to worry about him though.”

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Last week, Sal Licata shared a personal memento from Steve Somers. The new WFAN overnight host took to Twitter to show off the handwritten monologue from his final night working as Somers’s producer. Somers even signed it to Licata with a note of thanks for his work on the show.

On Monday, as Steve Somers bid farewell to WFAN, another host on the station had a personal memory from the past to share. Carton and Roberts dug up archived audio from the Schmooze’s show from Thanksgiving Day in 1995 when he read a letter from a 12-year-old named Evan Roberts.

That’s right. The same Evan Roberts that now serves as Craig Carton’s co-host is wrote Somers in 1995 to ask if Somers would like to join his family for Thanksgiving dinner. Evan and his dad got the idea after Somers had mentioned on air that he would be alone for Thanksgiving that year.

“My mom’s cooking is great and you can watch football with my dad,” Evan promised in his letter.

Steve Somers did not go to the Roberts house that year. He did tell Evan not to worry about him though.

“Evan, I am not going to be alone tonight. I was just making a funny and a joke, but you’re in my heart.”

The Schmooze then offered some smack talk about the New York Islanders (or “Icelanders” as he used to call them). Evan mentioned in the letter that he was a fan of the team. Somers said he hoped some time in the future, the Icelanders played a competitive game against the Rangers.

“Evan, I really thank you and your dad and your family for inviting me over for Thanksgiving. I won’t ever forget Evan Roberts!” Somers concludes.

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