Sports Radio News
Under The Radar – February 21, 2018
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.
Jason Barrett is the owner and operator of Barrett Sports Media. Prior to launching BSM he served as a sports radio programmer, launching brands such as 95.7 The Game in San Francisco and 101 ESPN in St. Louis. He has also produced national shows for ESPN Radio including GameNight and the Dan Patrick Show. You can find him on Twitter @SportsRadioPD or reach him by email at JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com.
Sports Radio News
Jay Williams Calls Listener, Forces Him To Pay Their $1000 Lakers Bet
“Don’t get me on national TV and radio and then not pick up the phone when I call.”
If you owe Jay Williams money, he is going to find you. Just ask Rob, a listener in Orlando who bet the ESPN Radio morning man that the Lakers would advance to the NBA Finals.
Last week, Rob called Keyshawn, JWill and Max and bet Williams $1000 the Lakers would eliminate the Denver Nuggets. Williams said if that happened, he would pay Rob $1500.
Obviously, that is not the way things played out. On Tuesday morning, Jay Williams called Rob demanding payment.
“He owes me my money,” he said. “So you know what we do? We got Detective Pat on the call today. Pat, let’s give this man a call. See if this guy picks up, trying to run away from giving me my money.”
The show’s associate producer Patrick Costello called the number Rob left last week. On the first attempt, the listener did not pick up. Williams vowed to keep up the pressure on social media and national radio and television until he got paid.
“Don’t get me on national TV and radio and then not pick up the phone when I call.”
“You know, getting that money is a wrap, Jay,” Keyshawn Johnson said through laughter. “I told you that.”
The show made one more attempt to connect with Rob before having to turn things over to Greeny. This time, the Lakers fan picked up and acknowledged that he had to pay. He offered to make a donation in Williams’s name.
“I’ll send you my bank account here privately, and then I will send it to the charity of my choice,” Williams agreed.
Rob agreed to the arrangement. Williams asked him if he wanted to apologize for doubting the basketball analyst’s prediction of the Lakers’ demise.
“Apologize? I need the Lakers to apologize to me after that performance,” Rob said. “Because Jesus Christ, that was horrible. That was bad.”
Sports Radio News
Stoney & Jansen on LeBron James Retirement Talk: ‘NBA Needs Offseason Stories’
“I think we pick and choose with him. I think I’ve been too hard on him and I’m kind of realizing that.”
As the Los Angeles Lakers exited the court after being swept by the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals on Monday night, a grim reality set in across the basketball world regarding the future of forward LeBron James. Widely regarded as one of the best players to ever suit up, James is the NBA’s all-time scoring leader, a 19-time All Star selection, four-time MVP, and four-time NBA champion.
During his postgame media availability on Monday, he stated that he had to seriously think about his future, undoubtedly referencing retirement. James just completed his 20th season in the Association and continues to play at a high level, but is going to think about walking away from the game after falling short of the NBA Finals this year.
“He’s been a pretty good soldier for the game,” said Tom Milikan, morning show producer and assistant program director at 97.1 The Ticket. “There’s been some things I haven’t agreed with him [on] that he’s liked or tweeted or whatever. I think he’s had some ignorance, but I think that applies to every single athlete out there that’s great.”
Throughout his NBA career, James has been the subject of criticism. The ESPN special he participated in titled The Decision saw him reveal he would be leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers to join the Miami Heat. He is also a frequent subject across the network’s programming, including on Get Up, First Take and NBA Today.
“I think we pick and choose with him,” Millikan said. “I think I’ve been too hard on him and I’m kind of realizing that.”
Show co-host Mike Stone read messages from the 97.1 The Ticket text line during the show, many of which criticized James for being a “flopping” player desperate for any semblance of attention since he will not be in the NBA Finals. One text suggested his revelation of weighing retirement was done intentionally, surmising that he has a film documentary crew around him and coming back stronger than ever would make for a great story.
“The league needs some offseason stories,” Millikan said. “From what I know, the free agency class is not all that great this year – and one of the big names is Kyrie Irving, and that’s toxic. It’s sort of like, ‘Hey, maybe they’re generating buzz or trying to do the whole Brady thing.’ So be it – I’ve seen it 15 times in my life.”
Stone recognized that athletes like James are genuinely once-in-a-generation type talents, and that his time in the NBA has been defined by more than what he has done on the court. James has also been an immense advocate for greater causes, including social issues, youth education and community affairs. Whenever he decides to call it a career though, fans should rest assured that James has truly given the game everything he has.
“I want to see the best that they have for as long as possible,” show co-host Jon Jansen said of star athletes. “If they end up playing too long, so be it. I don’t care. Then I know I’ve [seen] it all.”
Sports Radio News
Danny Parkins: NFL Teams ‘Don’t Really Care About Your In-Stadium Experience’
“In one year of Al Michaels complaining about the games, they’ve changed two huge rules around it.”
On Monday at the NFL Owners’ Meetings, flex scheduling for Amazon Prime Video’s presentation of Thursday Night Football was approved 24-8. Games can only be flexed between Weeks 13 and 17 with 28 days notice required. Additionally, a maximum of two games can be flexed per season, with the entire operation being on “a trial basis.”
“In one year of Al Michaels complaining about the games, they’ve changed two huge rules around it,” said Danny Parkins on 670 The Score as the news broke Monday. “[The] first rule already happened, and the Bears are one of the teams that either benefit or are victimized by the rule depending on your interpretation. You can play on multiple Thursdays this year. You can’t play multiple road Thursdays, but the Bears have two Thursday night games – in Washington and home against Carolina.”
In an effort to broadcast compelling action on a national stage, the National Football League did not give all of its 32 teams at least one game on national television this season. Conversely, the New York Jets, complete with star quarterback Aaron Rodgers, will be featured on national television for the maximum of six times, including two matchups on Thursday Night Football. The Jets, along with the Chicago Bears, dissented from voting in favor of flexible scheduling, but Parkins assumes it has nothing to do with the fans.
“My guess is [it is] because they already have two Thursday night games,” Parkins said. “Maybe they’re just altruistic and they care about fans and travel and all that, but I bet you that they said, ‘Well, we’re playing in Week 5 in Washington and Week 10 at home against Carolina. We don’t want to risk Bears-Browns or Bears-Falcons being flexed into Thursday Night Football later in the season and end up with three Thursday night games.’”
Many football fans and media professionals have pushed back on granting the property any type of flex scheduling because of the negative impact it has on injury prevention, something that is not as pronounced with other properties solely because of the day of the week. Sunday Night Football on NBC was previously the only property with flex scheduling ability, and Monday Night Football on ESPN is being granted that ability between Weeks 12 and 17 with at least 12 days notice.
“They don’t really care about your in-stadium experience – they don’t,” Parkins said of the league. “As long as you watch on TV, they’re thrilled because that’s where they make a huge, ungodly percentage of their money – more so than any of the other sports.”