A few news items to pass along that you may not be aware of. A reminder, to have your brand or personal industry related news featured in a future UTR column please forward any pertinent information via email to JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me. Now here are the latest developments.
One of the best parts of this business is seeing good things happen to good people. That’s the case in Bristol, CT where ESPN Radio is losing one of their sharpest and most well rounded behind the scenes members to television. Ray Necci is giving up his multi-platform role with the radio network to help ESPN‘s new morning show “Get Up” featuring Mike Greenberg, Jalen Rose and Michelle Beadle. Necci will also work with SC:AM. Necci has spent close to nineteen years with ESPN Radio producing many of the network’s top programs and serving as a manager. His switch to television will benefit those he works closest with.
FOX Sports Radio Knoxville host Cody McClure became a topic of conversation in media circles recently after sounding off on Twitter about Sister Jean during the NCAA Tournament. After watching Tennessee get eliminated by Loyola-Chicago, McClure tweeted “F–k Sister Jean, everyone.” The tweet was noticed by Yahoo Sports’ Pat Forde who took McClure to task and said he deserved to be terminated by his employer. The Chicago Tribune, Huffington Post, USA Today and numerous other outlets have since produced stories on the situation. McClure was not fired and said the tweet was a joke and a reflection of how Tennessee fans were feeling in the room that he was in following the tournament loss. McClure added that he’d gladly apologize to Sister Jean, but hoped she knew that his comments were delivered in joking fashion. McClure did ask “when is society going to be able to learn how to take a joke again?” He pointed out that people in real life joke about things that they wouldn’t post online, and it’s hypocritical.
Just when you’ve thought you’ve seen it all, something new transpires. That was the case in Tampa, FL where WDAE host JP Peterson found himself in the middle of an unexpected situation. While discussing the Tampa Bay Bucs’ free agent signing of Beau Allen with Chris Landry who had phoned in as a guest, the longtime football scout became perturbed with JP’s line of questioning and hung up on the Tampa sports radio host. Peterson said it was the first time in 10 years a guest had hung up on him. Did Landry have a valid reason to end the conversation or did he overreact? Take a listen and decide for yourself.
710 ESPN Seattle sports radio host and longtime NFL insider John Clayton was recently honored by his hometown of Braddock, PA. The town declared Sunday March 18th ‘John Clayton Day’. The sports media veteran was on hand to enjoy the festivities which included reconnecting with thirty people he grew up with.
In the Bay Area, 95.7 The Game has added Jerry Rice as a weekly contributor. The NFL legend who previously contributed to the station in 2014 will visit with Joe Fortenbaugh, Lorenzo Neal and Dan Dibley every Monday at 8am during the upcoming football season. Rice will also contribute to the station’s programming during the off-season and NFL Draft.
Matt Hammond is moving east. After spending the past few years contributing in a part-time role for Sports Radio 610 in Houston, Hammond is relocating to Philadelphia to take on a similar role at Sports Radio 94 WIP. Hammond says he’s looking forward to working in a tough sports market closer to home.
If you’ve followed the NFL or College Football for the past twenty years, specifically the Tennessee Titans or Florida Gators, you’ll likely remember Tight End Ben Troupe. He played for the Gators from 2000-2003 and was selected 40th overall by the Titans in the 2nd round of the 2004 NFL Draft. What you may not know is that Troupe has taken the plunge into the sports radio business. The former football player is now part of a three man show “Three and Out” which airs on ESPN Coastal. The Savannah Morning News did a nice profile piece on his entry into the business. You can read it by clicking here.
A tip of the cap is in order for the digital team at 104.3 The Fan in Denver. The station produced a series of videos looking at the Top 10 free agent signings in Denver Broncos history. Each video was well produced and featured discussion from The Fan’s on-air staff. It was a great example of taking a subject during a slower period of the year and creating content which served a benefit both on the air and in the social space. Kudos to Armen Williams and his crew. To watch the introductory video click here. You can also find the 10 signings videos by visiting the station’s YouTube page right here.
FM expansion is part of Neuhoff Media‘s plan for one of their local sports radio brands. ESPN 1450 WASK-AM in Lafayette, Indiana has been re-branded as 101.7 The Hammer. The station will now be heard on both 101.7FM and 1450AM.
A number of notable writers have announced their exits including Gary Meyers of the New York Daily News. Meyers spent the past 29 years with the New York newspaper and thanked the public for their support of his work via Twitter. No word yet on what Gary has planned next.
Jim Trotter is another supremely talented scribe who’s moving on to new endeavors. Trotter tweeted last week that his four year run at ESPN had come to an end. He hinted however at a new opportunity being announced soon.
In local circles, few sports radio hosts have embraced the dive into the podcast space like Scott Kaplan of the Mighty 1090 in San Diego. Since launching his solo project, Kaplan has talked to a number of people from different career fields, and although many episodes have been excellent, none have produced more real life emotion, passion and personal connection than Kaplan’s 12th episode which included a conversation with Andrew Pollack, the father of 18 year old Meadow Pollack who was gunned down and killed during the Parkland High School shootings. A former resident to the area himself, Kaplan traveled to Pollack’s home and sat down for a riveting conversation about one of the most challenging situations of his life. To hear the episode click here.
For those who enjoy Bomani Jones‘ work, the ESPN personality has announced his podcast will return on April 3rd. Stay tuned via social media for further details.
And in less pleasant news, The Jake Brown Show has gone away for now. The show was dropped due to Entercom taking over CBS and eliminating Radio.com podcasts in favor of their own network, Cadence13.
NBC Sports Names Al Michaels To Emeritus Role
The partnership will keep Michaels on for the Olympics and NBC’s NFL playoff coverage.
NBC Sports, which had been the home of Al Michaels since 2006, will still feature the veteran broadcaster despite Michaels’ moving to Amazon for Thursday Night Football.
The network announced that Michaels will still be a part of NBC Sports’ high-profile broadcasting properties including the Olympics and NFL Playoffs. Michaels’ last broadcast with the network had been Super Bowl LVI in February, his eleventh Super Bowl.
NBC Sports Chairman Pete Bevacqua said in a statement, “Revered by viewers and colleagues, Al has been the soundtrack for many of the greatest moments in sports television history. We are thrilled that he’s staying in the family and raising the stature of our events for years to come.”
“I’m looking forward to continuing my longtime NBC relationship while also launching the Thursday Night Football package on Amazon this fall. A special thanks to NBC Sports Chairman Pete Bevacqua and the folks at NBCUniversal for their help in making this happen,” Michaels said.
Michaels moved to Amazon Prime Video this season for their Thursday Night Football package. He will be paired with ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit. This season will mark his 37th NFL play-by-play campaign in primetime.
Following another historic broadcasting moment in which Michaels deftly demonstrated his expertise and versatility, he became just the second sportscaster in history to receive a News Emmy nomination for his coverage of the San Francisco earthquake during the 1989 World Series.
In addition to the 11 Super Bowls, Michaels has worked nine Olympics and called eight World Series.
In December 2020, Michaels was honored with the 2021 Ford C. Frick Award for excellence in broadcasting by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. Michaels is one of only five distinguished broadcasters to be recognized with the baseball honor and the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Pete Rozelle Award (Dick Enberg, Lindsey Nelson, Jack Buck, and Curt Gowdy).
One of television’s most respected journalists, Michaels has covered more major sports events than any sportscaster, including 20 years as the play-by-play voice of Monday Night Football. He is the only commentator to call the Super Bowl, World Series, NBA Finals and host the Stanley Cup Final for network television. In addition, Michaels called the classic 1985 championship boxing match between Thomas “Hit Man” Hearns and “Marvelous” Marvin Hagler.
Among his many accolades, Michaels has captured eight Emmy Awards – seven for Outstanding Sports Personality – Play-by-Play and one in 2011 for the Lifetime Achievement Award, and has three times (1980, 1983 and 1986) received the NSSA Award from the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association; he was inducted into the NSSA Hall of Fame in 1998. Michaels was named Sportscaster of the Year in 1996 by the American Sportscasters Association, and, in 1991, he was named Sportscaster of the Year by the Washington Journalism Review.
Thom Brennaman Continues to Search for a Second Chance
Brennaman has been searching for a broadcasting gig since he spoke a homophobic slur in August 2020 on a Cincinnati Reds broadcast.
The last time Thom Brennaman sported the microphone for a major broadcast was August 19, 2020. It was game that featured a doubleheader between the Cincinnati Reds and the Kanasas City Royals and in between the two, Brennaman blurted a homophobic slur that has thus far kept him off radio and television.
Brennaman has struggled to find his footing since that error. Recently, Brennaman recorded an episode of Tell Me A Story I Don’t Know, a podcast hosted George Ofman. That episode was available Tuesday and in it, Ofman asks where Brennaman thinks he’ll be in six months.
Brennaman said, “I have no idea. I really don’t. There were a couple of times I thought that maybe somebody out there was going to give me a chance to broadcast again and then this same thing comes up again.”
Brennaman sounded baffled that he’s still searching for work, citing other influential local leaders and what they opined in the days after the incident. “You know what you find out George, the guy who’s considered to be the leading voice of the LGBT community here in Cincinnati, he’s a big executive with Johnson and Johnson, a guy named Ryan Messer. He had written, and I had never met Ryan Messer at this point in time, like two days after what I said, he wrote a letter to the editor of the Cincinnati Enquirer, local paper, that Thom Brennaman should not be fired. There is room for growth here in so many areas and a great opportunity for him, for the gay community, for the Reds, for our society.”
Brennaman added that the two met as well as did Brennaman with other leaders in the LGBT community at the time. “I reached out to the guy and made contact with him and he’s the guy who’s house we went to that I made reference to earlier in listening to a bunch of the stories with some gay leaders. But anyway, I said ‘if you have people there – and I know you do – that are gay that work there, I would put up the amount of hours that I have spent in the gay community in some form or fashion over the last year against anybody you have that works in that office that’s gay’.”
Despite his efforts, the broadcasting veteran is dismayed that it’s failed to sway opinion, “it’s almost like in some cases it just falls on deaf ears.”
Regardless of where he is at now, he’s confident that eventually he’ll be afforded another opportunity. “But I ‘d like to think there’s somebody out there – and there will be and all it takes is one – is just to say ‘you know what, this was a mistake. Here’s the documentation of what the guy’s tried to do since then. We’re going to take a chance – answer some tough questions – and take a chance and get him back in the booth.”
And if another opportunity doesn’t present itself? “If it doesn’t happen, it’s not going to be the end of my life.”
The Rundown With Jeff Michael Coming To SportsMap Radio
“The Rundown with Jeff Michael will debut on June 6.”
Jeff Michael is getting a promotion at SportsMap Radio. He is moving from the part-time staff into a new midday show.
The Rundown with Jeff Michael will debut on June 6. The network describes the new two-hour show as energetic and fast-paced.
“Sports talk radio always meant the world to me,” Jeff Michael said in a press release. “Having an opportunity to reach such a large national audience is something I do not take lightly. While I’m so grateful for the opportunity, my focus will always be on creating captivating and informative content.”
Michael has been with SportsMap Radio since 2020. He has also been a prolific host in the podcasting space.
“I feel this is a perfect format for Jeff to excel,” CEO David Gow added. “From listening to fill-in appearances, you can tell he has tremendous command of his audience. You cannot easily teach what Jeff Michael already possesses.”