Here are the latest developments in sports radio that you may have missed. To be included in a future UTR column please pass along your information via email to JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me. Now on to the news.
One of the worst kept secrets in San Diego is starting to become public knowledge. The San Diego Padres have confirmed they’ll be moving from ALT 94.9 FM to ENERGY 97.3 FM, fueling speculation of a forthcoming format flip. The 97.3 air staff were taken off the air on February 15th according to All Access, and it’s expected that the new format will include sports talk as former Mighty 1090 host Dan Sileo has been hired to host a drive time show on the station. Sileo confirmed via social media that he’s signed on with Entercom and has been going thru preparations for the launch. No word yet on the launch date, remaining lineup plans or if the station will go all-sports or feature a mixture of sports/talk. Stay tuned.
Cumulus‘ financial troubles in Chicago opened the door for the Bulls to move to 670 The Score and the White Sox to WGN AM 720. As a result of those changes, Dave Zaslowsky has left WLS for a new Executive Producer opportunity with WGN. Zaslowsky’s primary focus will be overseeing White Sox broadcasts and the White Sox radio network.
Over the weekend, Barstool Sports President Dave Portnoy released a video stating that Michael Rapapport had been fired by the company for trashing the brand’s supporters and employees. Many speculated on social media that the situation screamed of a work between Portnoy and Rappaport, but ‘El Presidente’ told TMZ that it was indeed a very real issue. Barstool then turned the controversy into a sales opportunity, creating a new t-shirt poking fun at Rappaport. Once sales for the new shirt began to take off, Rappaport had his lawyers send a cease and desist letter to Barstool to have the item removed. The shirt is still available on the company’s website.
It’s foolish to put a ton of stock in a monthly ratings report because things can change quickly, however since there is a ton of curiosity in sports radio circles about WFAN and their new afternoon show, Neil Best at Newsday wrote a piece which includes a look at the January numbers in the big apple. To read it click here.
Following the dismissal of Patrick “PCon” Connor from KNBR for his commentary on Barstool Radio, the San Francisco sports station has elevated Adam Copeland. Copeland is now hosting “The Leadoff Spot” weekday mornings from 5a-6a PT.
Things are trending upward for 680 The Fan host Steak Shapiro. In addition to recently moving to morning drive, Shapiro’s company “Atlanta Eats” has had its weekday television show ‘Atlanta Eats: Daily Special’ expanded from thirty minutes per day to a full hour. The show airs Monday through Friday on Peachtree TV from 9a-10a ET. The company also airs weekend programs on Saturday nights at 7p ET and Sunday mornings at 10:30am. For more information click here.
Also in Atlanta, The Sports X 1230AM and 106.3 FM has added another local weekday program. Jerry “Tug” Cowart and former University of Georgia QB Hutson Mason are teaming up to host weekdays from noon to 3pm ET. The show is expected to debut in March.
Dave Shore received some positive news recently. The ESPN Radio contributor and former PD has partnered with BAM Testing to provide a media training and branding seminar to athletes at the Sports Science Expo in Dallas, Las Vegas and the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament. Other cities could be added at a later date. For more information click here.
Congratulations to 93.7 The Fan morning man Colin Dunlap, who was recently inked to a new 3-year deal according to company sources. The Fan’s morning show has been a consistent performer among Men 25-54 in the Pittsburgh market.
The University of Miami has reached an agreement with 790 The Ticket in Miami to air Miami Hurricanes Baseball and ancillary baseball programming on the radio station. As part of the partnership, The Ticket will broadcast at least 15 regular season games, all postseason baseball and various Canes baseball-focused programs throughout the season.
After spending over six years as a fill-in and weekend host at 102.9/750 The Game, Curtis Long has moved across town as a fill-in host on both the radio and TV side for NBC Sports Northwest/Rip CIty Radio 620 in Portland. The move is a natural fit for “The Principal,” who also works for the Trail Blazers Radio Network and has filled in as the team’s Public Address Announcer in recent years.
With Justin Kinner now installed in afternoon drive on ESPN 1410 WING-AM in Dayton, Ohio the radio station has given him a partner. It was confirmed Tuesday afternoon that Mark Schlemmer has been added to the ride home.
Last week, 101 ESPN morning host Bernie Miklasz joined The Athletic. This week Miklasz has announced he’s launched a new podcast “Seeing Red” with sports writer, author and Deadspin‘s founding editor Will Leitch. To hear the pilot episode click here.
Congratulations to Mike Remy who has signed on as Sports Sales Manager at Entercom Sacramento. Remy has a history in the sports format, spending 15 years as the program director of Sports Radio 1140 KHTK.
ESPN SportsCenter anchor Max Bretos has been named the lead broadcaster of the Los Angeles Football Club. The play by play opportunity won’t impact his ESPN duties.
Also at ESPN, Senior Researcher Paul Carr is leaving the network after 10 years. Carr has landed an opportunity with TruMedia Networks, an engineering firm with a focus on sports analytics.
Peter Schrager: ‘Next Good Morning Football Host Has Massive Shoes To Fill’
“I don’t know where they are going for that and I don’t play coach or GM. I’m just going to sit back and if they ask my opinion, I’ll give it.”
This week, Good Morning Football ended up winning a Sports Emmy for the best daily studio show. It is a show that has turned into part most football fans’ morning routines. However, there will be new people on the panel eventually with the departures of Nate Burleson and Kay Adams.
This week, one of those left, Peter Schrager, was on The Pat McAfee Show. He did not have a name for McAfee that would fill the role Adams leaves behind and he isn’t going to interfere in the process of the executives picking the next host.
“I would think that there is going to be a long line of people who will want that,” he said. “Those are massive shoes to fill. I don’t know where they are going for that and I don’t play coach or GM. I’m just going to sit back and if they ask my opinion, I’ll give it. But, for now, I trust the executives to hire someone who is going to take care of that hosting job.”
As for Burleson’s seat, the show has used a number of ex-players to fill-in. Schrager likes it that way because he can learn many different stories each week:
“Nate and I can finish each other’s sentences. Now, you have a guy I don’t know the story this player is going to tell. I don’t know where he’s going to take it and I think it’s kind of cool for us.”
Last summer, Schrager hosted The Flying Coach podcast on The Ringer with Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay. Unfortunately, there will be no season 2 of that show this summer. That doesn’t mean there won’t be another season of the podcast in the future though.
“I won’t do it without McVay. I begged him. He’s just out….He’s getting married this offseason. He’s got his honeymoon. He’s like, we’ll pick it up another offseason. I’m upset. I love doing it. All these new coaches, Sean and I would have had a good time with it and we talked about it, but it’s his decision and he’s saying no and I totally get it. He’s really good at it and he liked it. He’ll have opportunities and you see some of these numbers that these guys are getting. Trust me, he’s aware.”
Shan & RJ: ‘Inside The NBA Was Trying To Prevent A Riot Last Night’
“You know that moment? Everyone’s joking around. Everyone’s having fun, then someone doesn’t take the joke as a joke anymore and all the fun is sucked out of the room and things are awkward and serious?”
Things were very far from normal on Thursday night on the set of Inside the NBA. During the postgame show, Warriors fans threw objects at Charles Barkley as TNT was broadcasting live outside of the Chase Center in San Francisco.
Friday morning on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas, Shan and RJ discussed the scene and said things felt out of the ordinary long before anything was even thrown.
“You know that moment? Everyone’s joking around. Everyone’s having fun, then someone doesn’t take the joke as a joke anymore and all the fun is sucked out of the room and things are awkward and serious?” Shan Shariff said. “That’s what happened yesterday on Inside the NBA both in the pregame and the postgame.”
Barkley had been picking on Warriors fans calling them annoying and describing San Francisco as having “dirty ass streets full of homeless people” throughout the series.
Shariff said even in the pregame show, it seemed that the Inside the NBA crew was wary of the crowd gathered behind them.
“It felt like yesterday instead of having fun and cutting loose, it felt like they were trying to prevent a riot.”
After a rolled-up t-shirt struck Barkley, he got up and acted as if he was going to throw a ceramic coffee mug into the crowd. Shariff said it was clear that Ernie Johnson and Kenny Smith thought Barkley was about to be involved in an altercation of some sort.
RJ Choppy disagreed though. His immediate thought in seeing the video was that Barkley was just taking his ribbing of the crowd to the next level like a WWE superstar might.
“I think he knew the wrestling role, but I don’t think the other guys did,” Choppy said.
Sean and RJ expounded on the wrestling comparison, saying that he had a specific event in mind. He compared the way the crowd treated Barkley on Thursday night to how the crowd at ECW’s One Night Stand in 2006 treated John Cena. Cena and security may have thought they knew what was coming, but it was clear when fans started throwing chairs at the WWE champ that their ire was more serious than anticipated.
There can be peace for the time being. TNT’s NBA season ends at the conclusion of the Western Conference Finals. It will be interesting to see if this animosity returns in the 2022-23 season.
Don La Greca: ‘Howie Rose Was The Only Sports Talk Host As Passionate About Hockey As Me’
“When you look at the history of sports radio, the only person that I can think of that called games and was [as] passionate about hockey as I am that had a regular radio show was Howie Rose.”
Don LaGreca has been working on Rangers radio broadcasts since 2005, and has served as the backup play-by-play announcer for the last few seasons, filling in for Kenny Albert when he is unable to be on the call. Because of Albert’s responsibilities in calling national playoff games on television amid the new media rights agreement between the league and its partners (ESPN and Turner Sports), La Greca has called more Rangers games of late, and received positive reviews.
Yesterday on The Michael Kay Show on 98.7 ESPN New York, Kay mentioned the compliments callers have been giving La Greca for his ability to call hockey games, some of whom credit him for introducing them to the sport.
“The one thing hockey is is underexposed,” said La Greca. “Because you hear a lot of people say, ‘Boy, I didn’t realize how much fun this sport is; how great it is to go to a game,’ because a lot of us don’t grow up around it.”
La Greca realizes that he is in a unique position being the co-host of a sports radio show and an NHL play-by-play announcer, giving him a responsibility to communicate and opine on the game of hockey to his listening audience at large. He considers himself the second person to have such a distinction – the pioneer of which, while he may no longer be calling hockey games, still frequently discusses the sport on Twitter.
“When you look at the history of sports radio, the only person that I can think of that called games and was [as] passionate about hockey as I am that had a regular radio show was Howie Rose,” said La Greca. “And Howie Rose has been out of the sports radio game for 25 years.”
Rose was with WFAN from its launch on July 1, 1987 as its weekday nighttime host. Additionally, he served in the same role as La Greca, backing up Kenny Albert’s father Marv on Rangers radio broadcasts – where, in 1994, he delivered the illustrious call of Stephane Matteau’s game-winning, double-overtime goal in game 7 that sent the team to the Stanley Cup Finals. One year later, Rose left WFAN to begin calling games for the NHL’s New York Islanders on Sportschannel, and did not host a sports radio show during his time as a lead hockey play-by-play announcer.
While there are other sports radio hosts in the New York marketplace that exhibit a passion for hockey such as Boomer Esiason and Gregg Giannotti, La Greca is the only one who actively calls the games – akin to how Michael Kay is the only active New York sports radio host who regularly calls professional baseball.
“You don’t have somebody who is as close to the sport as I am to have this kind of forum, so maybe there are a few people like, ‘Hey, I’m a fan of Don. I really don’t like hockey, but he calls a few games so let me listen,’ and it kind of opened a door that otherwise wouldn’t have been opened” said La Greca. “….I don’t think it’s anything that I’m doing. It’s just an opportunity that I have, and it is humbling and it’s pretty cool to hear and I hope those people stick with the sport.”