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Sports Radio News

Under The Radar – August 15, 2018

Jason Barrett

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There’s been a flurry of sports media activity to catch you up on. This column contains a total of 23 items, and if you’d like your brand or individual news to be included in a future column, all you need to do is pass along the details by email to JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me.

Now here’s the latest!

A new Senior Producer has been hired by ESPN Radio to work with Mike Golic and Trey Wingo. Evan Wilner is Bristol bound after spending the past eight years working for SiriusXM in Washington DC. He’s expected to get started at the network sometime this month.

Well wishes go out to Mike Evans of 104.3 The Fan in Denver. The morning host who works opposite Mark Schlereth has missed time on the air due to undergoing heart surgery. Evans is said to be recovering well but needs time to heal before returning to the airwaves.

Boston sports radio station 98.5 The Sports Hub celebrated its 9th year on the air this week. Congratulations to Mike Thomas and his team on their latest achivement.

Congratulations to John Martin and Jason Smith who had their options picked up to continue as 92.9 ESPN‘s midday show in Memphis. The program has been a consistent ratings success for the station since being added to the schedule two years ago.

After seven years working for SiriusXM‘s NASCAR Radio channel, Jim Noble has left to become Wofford College‘s play by play voice for football and basketball games. Noble posted a note on Twitter expressing his appreciation to those he worked with and covered, and said he’ll still pick up some fill-in assignments on SiriusXM, and appear at the track for PRN broadcasts, but his focus now will shift to his new role with Wofford.

93.7 The Fan in San Diego morning host Dan Sileo is getting a chance to do a little bit of national hosting this fall. Sileo is scheduled to fill in a few times for Jim Rome on the CBS Sports Radio Network. Dates are still to be announced.

Along with the addition of Lauren Rew, 1010XL in Jacksonville made a few other moves as well. The radio station recently added Tera Lageman to Frank Frangie‘s afternoon show. Lagemam has worked in television in Chicago, Gainesville and Greensboro. She assumes the role formerly held by Lauren Brooks who moved to mornings joining Dan Hicken and Jeff Prosser on The Drill. The radio station has also added Joe Cowart and Ryan Green to its weeknight schedule. The duo debuted their new program 1010XL PrimeTime on Monday August 13th.

WWL in New Orleans is adding Steve Geller as its new sideline reporter on Saints games. Geller replaces Kristian Garic who enjoyed a nine year run in the role. Garic remains with the station transitioning to pregame and postgame where he’ll host alongside Bobby Hebert.

Speaking of football, Mike Wickett is returning to the sports radio airwaves this fall as the Chiefs pre and post game co-host on 610 Sports. Wickett currently hosts on 98.1 KMBZ in Kansas City. Prior to moving into the NewsTalk arena he hosted mornings in Milwaukee with Chuck Freimund on 105.7 The Fan.

Former Miami Herald writer and 790 The Ticket host Ethan Skolnick continues to make progress with his new venture the Five Reasons Sports Network. The digital audio brand is partnering with WSVN-7 and WFOR-4 on a few projects, and has begun adding staff to ramp up its coverage of the Dolphins and Heat entering the fall. Five Reasons is also hosting a public event at the Texas Roadhouse in Miramar on Friday August 17th. Not bad for a startup which is just four months in.

All the best to Jason “Pod Vader” Soderberg who was unexpectedly let go as BlogTalk Radio‘s Head of Content. Soderberg spent the past four years with BlogTalk following a sixteen year run at ESPN Radio. He’s looking for his next opportunity. Interested parties can reach him by email by clicking here.

Congratulations goes out to Maura Sheridan on being named the new play by play voice of Vermont Women’s Basketball, and Clay Ables who has been named the Director of the Red Devil Network and Sports Department at WJHI in Indiana.

From the television world, NBC Sports Philadelphia has chosen not to renew the contract of sports media veteran Rob Ellis. Ellis spent 17 years with the company, working his way up from behind the scenes to becoming an anchor and part of CSN/NBC’s morning show.  Although Ellis’ television future is in flux for the moment, he can still be heard in Philadelphia on Sports Radio WIP.

Further north in Boston, Mike Giardi has left NBC Sports Boston after a lengthy run. The reason? Giardi has been hired by the NFL Network. His primary focus according to Chad Finn of the Boston Globe will be to cover the New England Patriots.

An addition is being made in Seattle, where KING 5 News is adding former Seattle Seahawk and HOF tackle Walter Jones to its 5th Quarter show. Jones will work alongside sports anchor Paul Silvi.

After 20 years at SportsNet, Daren Millard has announced his departure. He explained via Twitter that the decision to leave the company was one that involved many factors, soul searching, and layers of emotion, but in the end he wanted to pursue a new challenge. No word yet on what Millard has planned next.

The exits continue, this time In Milwaukee, where Telly Hughes has learned he won’t be returning to Milwaukee Bucks television broadcasts. Hughes was relieved of his duties after covering the team for nearly a decade. The franchise told Hughes they were interested in pursuing a different direction. What that will be remains to be seen.

Jordan Strack has been elevated to the position of Sports Director at WTOL in Toledo, Ohio. Strack becomes the 4th SD in station history.

Stadium continues to ramp up its programming and talent roster. Chris Hassel is said to be joining the digital brand to call 10 games this season alongside AJ Hawk and Kristen Balboni. Congrats to all involved.

In writing circles, Chris Biderman has left the USA Today Sports Media Group where he ran the Niners Wire in order to cover the 49ers for the Sacramento Bee. Biderman called the new opportunity to write for a newspaper a lifelong dream and said he looks forward to adding his work to a space which Matt Barrows has helped make special.

The Washington Post has hired Ben Strauss to cover sports and media. Strauss will begin his new assignment for the newspaper starting in September.

It’s another busy period for The Athletic who have added former NFL linebacker turned sports media personality Kirk Morrison as a contributor to their San Francisco bureau. Vincent Bonsignore has exited the Southern California News Group to join The Athletic’s Los Angeles outlet. And in Sacramento, Jason Jones is signing on in September to contribute to the platform’s coverage of the Sacramento Kings.

And last but not least, SB Nation has added Natalie Weiner as a staff writer.

Sports Radio News

Jonathan Zaslow No Longer With WQAM

An attempt to reach out to Zaslow for comment went unanswered.

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WQAM midday host Jonathan Zaslow is no longer with WQAM in Miami, according to sources.

The radio station has removed his shell from the website and references to him and his normal 10a-2p ET midday timeslot program have been scrubbed from the station website. An attempt to reach out to Zaslow for comment went unanswered.

Whether or not this has any effect on his involvement with the Miami Heat broadcasts is unknown as of now. He was tweeting during his show’s scheduled time, with this being his most recent one which also referenced the show which appeared to still be on the air at the time.

Zaslow had been with 790 the Ticket since 2004. He was transitioned from Audacy-owned 790 to sister station AM 560 Sports WQAM last October. Since being with that group, he has worked with Joy Taylor, Amber Wilson, Brett Romberg, Brendan Tobin amongst others.

WQAM has gone thru a number of changes, including a rebranding effort to call the station “560 The Joe”. That ended last year with the station returning to the AM 560 Sports WQAM brand listeners were more familiar with.

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Sports Radio News

Vanessa Richardson Named Houston Rockets Sideline Reporter, Paul Gallant to Host Solo on ESPN 97.5

Vanessa Richardson will be on the sidelines for the Houston Rockets and Paul Gallant will host solo show on ESPN 97.5.

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Vanessa and Gallant

Changes are taking place in Houston sports media. First, the Houston Rockets will have a new television sideline reporter this season, and she’s a familiar name to Houston sports fans.

Vanessa Richardson, the now former co-host of ESPN 97.5’s Vanessa and Gallant, revealed that she will be on the sidelines for the NBA franchise covering the team for AT&T SportsNet Southwest.

She tweeted the news saying, “Elated to be the new Houston Rockets sideline reporter! I can’t wait to travel the country & share the stories of this dynamic team during 80+ games on AT&T SportsNet Southwest. I’ll continue to fill-in as a host/reporter for Astros broadcasts as well.”

Richardson’s co-host, Paul Gallant, tweeted that with Richardson leaving the show for the Rockets sideline gig, Vanessa and Gallant will become the Paul Gallant Show. The solo show led by Gallant begins Monday September 26th.

“We’re excited to have Paul host his own show”, said Todd Farquharson, General Manager of ESPN 97.5 & 92.5.  “He’s super creative, energetic, and likeable.  He’ll get the audience involved and have fun.”

Paul commented, “You know what I’ve always loved about sports talk radio?  That it’s interactive.  Whether through a phone call, text message, tweet or on Twitch, it’s the best place for sports fans to come together and celebrate…or vent.  And that’s what The Paul Gallant Show is going to be…Houston’s platform to talk about its teams. THE most interactive sports talk show in Houston.”

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Sports Radio News

Ken Carman: Al Michaels ‘Feels Untethered’ On Amazon Prime Video

“The thing that stuck out was Kirk Herbstreit ripping the elf,” said Carman. “Don’t be ripping Brownie the Elf, man.”

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The Cleveland Browns defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers during Thursday Night Football on Amazon Prime Video. 92.3 The Fan morning host Ken Carman applauded Al Michaels for his performance during the presentation.

“Al Michaels feels untethered for the first time. He’s not network television anymore and he can say whatever he wants. We interviewed him on the pregame show and I was nervous,” Carman said.

“He’s a legend,” co-host Anthony Lima added.

During the final play of the game, the Steelers fumbled a lateral into the endzone which the Browns recovered to make the final score 29-17. Michaels said “that may be meaningful to some of you. And you know who I mean”, alluding to people who had placed wagers on the game.

Carman, who hosts two-hours of pre-game coverage on the Browns Radio Network, continued to discuss how nervous he was interviewing Michaels. He also discussed how impressive Amazon’s behind-the-scenes production was, pointing out the only football broadcast with more cameras is the Super Bowl. More than 400 people work behind the scenes for Amazon Prime Video.

“The thing that stuck out was Kirk Herbstreit ripping the elf,” said Carman. “Don’t be ripping Brownie the Elf, man.”

Carman later said people angry that Michaels misspoke by saying the Pro Football Hall of Fame is “down I-71” instead of I-77 were unreasonable, and joked “Al Michaels hasn’t been on a highway in 20 years”.

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