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Under The Radar – August 15, 2018



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

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

Doug Franz Launching Sports Betting Podcast, ‘Props Arizona,’ With Sean Lockhart

“I appreciate Doug & Wolf listeners more than they’ll ever know, and I’m excited for them to experience my new podcast Props Arizona.”



Following his dismissal from Arizona Sports 98.7 FM, Doug Franz has found a new gig. Franz will join sports gambling expert Sean “Papa Bear” Lockhart to host a new podcast for titled Props Arizona.

Franz was a mainstay on Phoenix sports talk radio, co-hosting The Doug and Wolf Show in the market for 15 years. Parent company Bonneville Phoenix said Franz would be moved to a “digital role” in shuffling the Arizona Sports daily lineup last August.

But Franz said he was effectively fired. Soon after leaving 98.7 FM, he launched a daily podcast titled Doug Franz Unplugged.

Lockhart has been a mainstay in Arizona, consulting on sports betting and sales since graduating from Arizona State. He’s provided analysis for several sports betting podcasts and digital shows, in addition to his own website, for several years.

“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to work alongside Sean on this new podcast,” said Franz in the official announcement from gambling media company American Affiliate. “I appreciate Doug & Wolf listeners more than they’ll ever know, and I’m excited for them to experience my new podcast Props Arizona.”

For American Affiliate, which has several sports betting and investment properties in its portfolio including BetPrep and Wagers, Props Arizona is the first regional (or state-exclusive) spinoff of its Props City podcast.

Props Arizona is set to launch at the end of January. The show will be available on all major podcast platforms including Apple Podcasts and Spotify. A teaser for the show is currently online for download.

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Sports Radio News

Michael Irvin: ‘Shan & RJ Start National Conversations’

“Y’all stir the pot a lot on the national scene. Every time I’m out there I gotta hear ‘Jerry said on Shan and RJ 105.3’.”



Michael Irvin makes regular appearances on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas. He is one of the many stars associated with the Dallas Cowboys that make time to talk to the hosts on the team’s flagship station. On Thursday morning, The Playmaker joined Shan & RJ and told them to be careful with the words they choose.

Irvin came on following a discussion of Mike McCarthy’s final conversation with the media for the season. During the segment, one of the host’s said it was the Cowboys’ coach’s “final conversation.” Irvin said that statement needed some clarity.

“You should have added ‘of this year’,” he said. “Because the national guys, they’ll pick it up and run with that.”

It isn’t just a matter of what was said. Michael Irvin says that the national media will pay attention to who said it was McCarthy’s final conversation with the media and jump to conclusions.

“Y’all stir the pot a lot on the national scene. Every time I’m out there I gotta hear ‘Jerry said on Shan and RJ 105.3’.”

The hosts laughed as Irvin made the declaration. Maybe they enjoyed the characterization. Maybe they knew he was telling the truth.

Plenty of national headlines have been generated by appearances from Jerry and Stephen Jones on the station. Although, to be fair to Shan & RJ, K&C Masterpiece has been at the center of plenty of those conversations too.

That didn’t stop Michael Irvin distilling Shan & RJ’s role in the national media conversation about the Cowboys to a simple sentence: “Y’all starting mess out here.”

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Sports Radio News

Jeff Rickard Out At WEEI

“In the memo, new Audacy Boston market manager Mike Thomas says that the station will be naming a new brand manager in the future.”



Jeff Rickard’s tenure in Boston did not last long. Chad Finn of the Boston Globe tweeted yesterday that the WEEI brand manager has left Audacy and intends to return to Indianapolis.

Rickard was announced as the new brand manager of the legendary Boston sports talker in August. He left his role as morning show host and PD at The Fan in Indianapolis at that time.

In the memo, new Audacy Boston market manager Mike Thomas says that the station will be naming a new brand manager in the future.

In the meantime, Ken Laird has been promoted to operations manager for the station. Laird announced yesterday that this means he is leaving the Greg Hill Show, which will be on the lookout for a new producer.

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