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Under The Radar – July 23, 2018

Jason Barrett

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Three weeks after our last UTR we’re back with a bunch of news that may have slipped by you. If you’d like to have your brand or individual news shared in a future column with the rest of the sports media industry, send us an email at [email protected].

Now here’s the latest!

An announcement will be made soon on Barrett Sports Media‘s 2019 conference. Final details are in the process of being resolved. Last year’s event took place in Chicago at the home of 670 The Score. For an idea of what to expect, click here or here.

A round of applause for John Kincade and Buck Belue of 680 The Fan in Atlanta who last week celebrated 17 years, 10 months and 16 days on the air together. Why is that number significant? It meant their on-air partnership had eclipsed the run which Mike and Mike had enjoyed on ESPN Radio. Next in their sights? Mike and the Mad Dog formerly of WFAN. The popular New York sports radio tandem featuring Mike Francesa and Chris “Mad Dog” Russo have a 13 month advantage which Buck and Belue hope to surpass in 2019.

610 Sports has made a change in middays. Josh Vernier and Ron “The Show” Hughley have joined forces to occupy the middle part of 610’s lineup. Jay Binkley who had previously co-hosted in middays with Henry Lake becomes the station’s new Kansas Royals Insider covering the team and hosting pre and postgame shows. Lake meanwhile has left the station to return to Minneapolis, his former stomping grounds. No word yet on if he’ll be doing radio in the Twin cities.

The 24th edition of Jim Rome‘s ‘Smack Off” took place last week on CBS Sports Radio and the CBS Sports Television Network. Taking the crown this year was Brad in Corona. It was his 4th win. Prior victories were earned in 2009, 2011, and 2015. As a result of holding off Stevie Carbone and dethroning last year’s winner Leff in Laguna, Brad won a $5,000 grand prize and bragging rights as the ‘King of Smack’ entering next year’s 25th event.

VSiN continues to gain momentum adding local sports stations as affiliates for their Action Updates. Sources say brands in Detroit, Boston and San Francisco are expected to be announced soon. Others are also reportedly close to finalizing deals. For stations looking for more information and to hear a demo click here.

If you missed the announcement, Entercom has pulled the plug on TuneIn. The radio company is focusing on making its brands available exclusively on Radio.com thus leaving TuneIn with a giant hole in its radio offerings. The changes officially go into effect starting August 1, 2018.

For those who enjoy learning more about ratings, data, and sports media trends, check out Colin Cowherd‘s Herd Saturday podcast featuring FOX Sports EVP Michael Mulvihill. It’s a very insightful episode. You can hear it by clicking here.

670 The Score in Chicago did something very cool during MLB All-Star week. With Danny Parkins on vacation, the station used the slow period to reunite Dan McNeil and Terry Boers in afternoons. ‘The Heavy Fuel Crew’ sounded good together and gave local fans a reason to tune in during what is usually a difficult week for sports stations.

Speaking of neat things, kudos to Jeff Rickard and his team at 107.5/1070 The Fan in Indianapolis. The station has come up with a killer promotion titled Fanniversary to highlight 10 years of sports broadcasting. The promotion includes a series of theme weeks between July and August with a focus on the Colts, Pacers, Indiana University and Butler college. They’ve also created custom production for each week and assembled some great prizes to reward their fans. For more information click here.

Congratulations to 760 The Ticket morning host Mike Taylor. The San Antonio sports radio personality has inked a new three year deal with iHeartmedia to remain with the company in his current timeslot.

Former ESPN San Antonio radio host Ari Temkin has left the market to move a few hours north. Temkin has relocated to Dallas to join 105.3 The Fan as its new pre and postgame host of Dallas Cowboys football. Temkin will take over alongside Jesse Holley for Shan Shariff who had worked Sunday’s for the past seven years. Shariff will turn his full attention to the morning show which he hosts with RJ Choppy.

Elsewhere in Texas, following Sean Salisbury’s exit from SB Nation Radio, the company has moved Patrick Creighton to afternoons. The veteran Houston host now hosts Straight Heat weekday afternoons from 5p-8p ET/4p-7p CT. Salisbury’s former partners, Brian Barrett and Robin Carlin, have moved to middays hosting a new show called The Break. The network has also added Jake Asman to its rotation of hosts.

A classy move was made by WEEI in Boston last week. The radio station took to Twitter to announce they were auctioning off 4 dugout seats for the Red Sox-Blue Jays game on September 12th to help raise funds for the family of Michael Chesna, a Weymouth Police Officer who was killed in the line of duty. The package included pregame field access during batting practice. The Red Sox then got involved too adding an autographed Mookie Betts bat. Thanks to their combined efforts, $8,000 dollars was raised to assist the fallen officer’s family. Great job by all involved.

Congratulations to Mike Stibbs who was named Assistant Program Director for 1620 the Zone, News Talk 1290 KOIL and 1180 The Zone 2 in Omaha. Stibbs, who will report to OM Dave Tepper, currently produces 1620 The Zone’s afternoon show Unsportsmanlike Conduct and will continue doing so while adding sports scheduling, technical assistance, and programming input on all three brands.

After moving to Philadelphia to work part time for Sports Radio WIP, Matt Hammond has decided to leave the radio business. Hammond spent time in Houston with Sports Radio 610 before making the journey to the city of brotherly love. No word on what his future plans are at this point in time.

The opportunity to return home was too much for Adam Giardino to pass up. Adam has signed on to become the new sideline reporter for UConn football and the color commentator on UConn Mens Hockey games. Giardino graduated from UConn in 2011 and thanked IMG, 97.9 ESPN (the school’s flagship radio partner) and his alma mater for giving him a chance to come back and be part of their broadcasting operation.

BSM sends its well wishes to Mighty 1090‘s Linda Welby. The San Diego sports anchor has been diagnosed with cancer and is said to be in good spirits as she prepares to take it head on. Each of 1090’s hosts took to social media last week, along with a large number of the station’s fans, to encourage Linda to fight. The hashtag #LindaStrong has been used frequently to lend support to her battle.

Mighty 1090 afternoon host Scott Kaplan conducted a riveting interview with US soccer superstar Landon Donovan. During the 88 minute episode, Donovan described how he grew up, signed with an agent as a teenager and advanced up the ladder in the soccer world. It’s an informative listen which you can hear by clicking here.

Tip of the cap to Peter Sampson who has been elevated to full time status at 102.9/750 The Game in Portland. Sampson has also earned some fill-in opportunities hosting John Canzano’s midday show.

In Fort Smith, Arkansas, Tye Richardson has been given an opportunity to produce and contribute on-air at ESPN Arkansas. Richardson’s primary responsibilities will revolve around the station’s morning show The Morning Rush.

Sportsnet 650 in Vancouver has announced they’ve agreed to terms with the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League. The station, which also serves as the flagship station for the Vancouver Canucks, says it will air every one of the team’s games live.

Speaking of deals, WJOX in Birmingham has signed a new long term deal with the Atlanta Braves to continue broadcasting their games.

Central Pennsylvania is where you’ll soon find Sam Kuperman. The young broadcaster has accepted a position with Lock Haven University to become the school’s new radio voice.

In television news, Conor Moore has confirmed that he’s partnering with NBC Sports to provide content for the Golf Channel.

Taylor Tannebaum has moved from WHNT in Hunstville, Alabama to WTHR in Indianapolis. The Tennessee native announced on social media a piece of her heart will remain in Alabama but the opportunity to join her new station in Indy as a sports reporter and anchor was one she couldn’t pass up.

According to Michael McCarthy of the Sporting News, Michael Buffer has inked a deal with DAZN to announce fights on their platform.

From the print world comes news that The Athletic are once again adding personnel. Marcus Mosher has been added to the site to supply content on the Dallas Cowboys. David O’Brien has signed on to cover and write about the Atlanta Braves.

The Kansas City Star has also added to its sports writing team. The KC newspaper has brought in Lynn Worthy and Brooke Pryor to contribute to its coverage of the Kansas City Chiefs.

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Rich Shertenlieb Enters New Era on WZLX: No Fred Toucher, No Music, No Guarantees

“It’s worked for me in the past and there’s no secret sauce. It’s just try to be entertaining every morning and work your ass off to do it right.”

Demetri Ravanos

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Rich Shertenlieb and WZLX logo in Boston
Boston photo: courtesy of Getty Images

It’s a time of change and transition for rock radio listeners in Boston. WZLX rolled out its new morning show last week featuring local icon Rich Shertenlieb. It’s not only a new adventure for the former Sports Hub morning man. It’s also the start of a new era for the station.

Kevin Karlson, the anchor of the station’s previous morning show, died in his sleep in October. It ended a nearly 20-year run on WZLX for Karlson, McKenzie & Heather. Pete McKenzie and Heather Ford carried on, but earlier this month, they were let go.

“I definitely have big shoes to fill,” Shertenlieb says of his new gig. “Kenny Young, who was a member of the previous show, I got to know him pretty well over these last couple of months. He is now our producer, and he couldn’t be more valuable to the show. He has been an awesome bridge between what was and what is now, and I love the guy to death. He is one of the more skilled people in radio when it comes to being a jack of all trades and it’s awesome that he’s there.”

After seventeen years together, Shertenlieb split from his radio partner Fred Toucher in November. They held down morning drive at 98.5 The Sports Hub since the station’s launch in 2009. The duo was an institution in Boston and their ratings proved it over and over again. 

There has to be a juicy story there, right? I mean, who walks away from that kind of success without a concrete reason? 

Speculation will continue to run rampant. After all, each twist and turn during the final days of Toucher & Rich were covered pretty extensively on this site and others. According to Shertenlieb though, no one ever crossed a red line. There is no moment when he realized the partnership could not be saved. He was just ready for something new.

“I mean, listen, it’s kind of boring because it’s not as scandalous as people might think that it is,” he says. “You only get a couple of times in your career to be able to reevaluate what you’re doing. I would sign long term contracts for about five years. And so, you only get about once every five years to sit and say, ‘I got a chance to try to do something else.’ When your contract comes up, you ask yourself a few questions. It’s like, ‘Do I still absolutely love what I’m doing?’ and ‘Do I absolutely love where I’m doing it?’ And finally, ‘Is there another step I’d want to take?’ If any of those questions have any kind of doubt or cloud, then you owe it to yourself to at least explore what’s out there. And that’s what I did.”

Shertenlieb doesn’t hide from reality. It was scary to leave the familiarity behind. Even when apparent tension between he and Fred Toucher was impossible to hide, he never pinned blame for wondering what is next on the state of their relationship.

Listeners and social media followers did a lot of speculating about the show’s future in early 2023. Toucher missed extended time, first to deal with a vocal condition and then to focus on his mental health.  They wanted to know what was going on in the Beasley Media offices after Toucher took to Twitter to say no one from the show’s cast had reached out to check on him during his absence. 

Rich Shertenlieb says that the conversations were never that interesting. He didn’t think it had to be a catalyst for drastic action.

“There was no discussion about the future of the show. I think that there was confusion. The guys on the show, I think, were confused about why he was saying stuff about us that obviously, we’re all looking at each other and going, ‘Well, this isn’t true. Why is he saying that? I don’t know what was going on there.’ That part was definitely strange, but there weren’t any conversations about the future of the show at all.”

When the decision was made to leave Toucher & Rich, Shertenlieb says he knew instantly that it would mean leaving 98.5 The Sports Hub. It wasn’t about hard feelings. It was about on-air real estate.

Shertenlieb didn’t want to join an existing show. He wanted to start something new with him at the center. Maybe it would work. Maybe it wouldn’t. Either way, he was comfortable with the consequences of his name being the only one on the marquee. Without a major overhaul, that wasn’t possible at his current station.

“I don’t think that that would be fair to anybody. I think that to achieve that they’d have to move people around and stuff like that. I don’t think that that would be fair. I do think that in fairness to everybody else that I worked with, I would have to go do that on my own.”

WZLX, Shertenlieb’s new home, is owned by iHeartMedia. The company made it clear to the host that he was a priority. Bosses asked Shertenlieb who he wanted to work with and got those people on board. They presented him with the opportunity to launch a podcast network in the future. 

The company even acquiesced to Shertenlieb’s demand that the classic rock the station is known for disappear in morning drive.

“I’ve just looked around and I’ve seen that there’s really no morning show that is geared mostly towards guys that truly wins while also playing music. That’s the recipe that you have to go with, at least in mornings,” he says.

Music snobs aren’t totally left out of the new morning show. Shertenlieb loves rock music and makes it a part of the show’s regular discussions. He also notes that what is now considered “classic rock” is the music he grew up with and holds most dear, particularly Alice in Chains.

Listeners will hear Michael Hurley, who Shertenlieb calls “truly a gem” every day. Every host needs someone that gets all of his references and that’s what Hurley is for Shertenlieb. Throughout the week, former Patriots linebacker Ted Johnson, Meadowlark Media host Charlotte Wilder and Mike Giardi of the Boston Sports Journal will all make appearances.

“I like having different personalities, you know, different walks of life and people who are experts in different things to be able to rotate,” Shertenlieb says. “The great thing about everybody that I picked, whether it be Ted Johnson or Mike Girardi or Charlotte Wilder, is that even if they didn’t talk about the one thing they’re known to be an expert on, I would still love talking to these people about everything else in their life, because they’re just that interesting.”

Every new show faces challenges when it launches and The Rich Shertenlieb Show is no exception. His former partner has poked fun, his former competitor has taken shots, but Rich Shertenlieb knows that no show gets to launched as a finished product. That only comes from years of building chemistry amongst the people in studio and the people listening.

He isn’t shy about admitting that there is no guarantee that he is going to leapfrog anyone in the ratings. Sure, he has the know-how given the success he helped propel The Sports Hub to in morning drive. He also has the advantage of joining a station that already performs well.

“It’s hard work and patience,” Shertenlieb says when asked if he has thought about how he will pull ahead of The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Hardy or anyone else. “It’s worked for me in the past and there’s no secret sauce. It’s just try to be entertaining every morning and work your ass off to do it right.”

Shertenlieb knows that, for many Bostonians, he and Fred Toucher will forever be linked. He doesn’t run from that. He says he never considered leaving Boston for a “fresh start” when he decided to strike out on his own.

He doesn’t wish Toucher or The Sports Hub any ill-will. He insists that the titillating scandal everyone wants to hear about doesn’t exist. He isn’t “over sports.” It was just time to do something new.

New adventure comes with risk and uncertainty. Rich Shertenlieb is willing to embrace it and live with whatever it becomes.

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David Lamm, Jacksonville Sports Radio Pioneer, Dies at the Age of 78

“David Lamm was an icon. David Lamm was a pioneer. There is no sports radio in Jacksonville without David Lamm, and I mean that very sincerely.”

Barrett Sports Media

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Photo of David Lamm
Screengrab: Jacksonville Broadcasters Association

David Lamm, who helped launch sports radio in Jacksonville, died at the end of last week at the age of 78. Lamm started as a sports writer at the Florida Times-Union, later became a columnist and then sports editor. He would later spend many years on the air on radio and television.

Lamm, affectionately known as Lamm-Chops, was a beloved figure in the Jacksonville community. In 2002 he started the David Lamm Foundation and created ‘Santa Lamm,’ a Christmas drive to provide children gift cards to go shopping during the holidays.

His son, Alex posted on his Facebook account, “It’s with immeasurable sadness to let my FB community know of my Pops passing today. Many in this community were friends or knew him. Will announce memorial plans sometime soon. RIP Pops.”

In a story posted by News4 in Jacksonville, 1010XL’s Frank Frangie, who worked with Lamm in print and radio said, “David Lamm was an icon. David Lamm was a pioneer. There is no sports radio in Jacksonville without David Lamm, and I mean that very sincerely. Jay Solomon and David Lamm were the pioneers and I got to be the tag along back in the day. And it was one of the great honors of my career. We will miss David Lamm. How authentic. How real. How he said what he believed. How he entertained. It’s a sad day in Jacksonville, the great David Lamm gone today.”

In 2019, Lamm sat down with former WJKS-TV anchor Mike Lyons for an interview. Lamm said in part, “I’m the luckiest guy on the face of the earth. I never planned for this, but I’ve had a wonderful career. I’ve spent my life covering sports, talking about sports, writing about sports. I’ve been to multiple Super Bowls and World Series and Final Fours and US Opens and Masters. I’ve traveled places, certainly this country, that I would never have traveled to, most people don’t. … so when I look back on it I’m going ‘you lucky son of a gun,’” Lamm told Lyons. “How many people fall into something, and it turns out to be the love of their life. They didn’t even know it at the time.”

Lamm is survived by his wife, Ellen, and sons Tom and Alex.

Many of Lamm’s friends and former colleagues weighed in on his passing through posts on their social media accounts:

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iHeartMedia Extends with Pittsburgh Steelers Through 2028 Season

“We teamed up with iHeart to build a new platform that allows Steelers Nation to connect with the team – where they want and on their terms.”

Barrett Sports Media

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Logos for iHeartMedia and the Pittsburgh Steelers

iHeartMedia Pittsburgh announced an extension of their audio partnership with the Pittsburgh Steelers, which will now include the newly established “Steelers Audio Network” through 2028.

The “Steelers Audio Network” will offer a wide range of content, including game day broadcasts, additional shows, digital audio, podcasts, and social media posts. Fans can access the “Steelers Audio Network” and its programming throughout the year on various platforms such as 102.5 WDVE, Fox Sports Pittsburgh (970AM), the Steelers mobile app, the iHeartRadio mobile app, as well as on the team and station’s websites.

Additionally, 102.5 WDVE will continue to be the home of the Steelers game broadcasts, as they have done since 1999.

“We are excited to announce the continuation of our long-standing partnership with iHeart Media and our flagship station, 102.5 WDVE,” said Ryan Huzjak, Steelers Vice President of Sales and Marketing in a release. “We’ve teamed up with iHeart to build a new platform that allows Steelers Nation to connect with the team – where they want and on their terms.”

“We are thrilled to continue our collaboration with the Pittsburgh Steelers,” said Kevin LeGrett, President of iHeartSports. “Our renewed agreement, now known as ‘Steelers Audio Network’ encompasses a comprehensive range of audio offerings, delivering an exceptional listening experience for Steelers fans. Additionally, we’re excited to provide promotional support and further brand awareness across all six iHeartMedia Pittsburgh stations and digital sites. Our longstanding partnership continues to thrive, and we look forward to celebrating many more victories together!”

“iHeartMedia Pittsburgh and the Steelers have had a longstanding partnership,” said Tim McAleer, Market President, iHeartMedia Pittsburgh. “We are thrilled to continue to give Steelers fans access to Steelers audio broadcasts and unique Steelers programing content for years to come.”

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