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Tom Nichols Waits 31 Years to Call First MLB Game

Brandon Contes

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A new voice was in the radio booth for the Cincinnati Reds Tuesday night.  It was just one game, three innings to be exact, but for Tom Nichols it was a dream come true.

After 31 years in the minor leagues and broadcasting his 4,000th game earlier in August, the radio voice of Cincinnati’s Class A affiliate, the Dayton Dragons, got the call to the big leagues.

“Once you enter the business, you’re just looking for that opportunity to work in the big leagues,” Nichols told Ryan O’Gara of the Muncie Star Press.  “That ship has sailed.  I’m 54 years old now, so it’s unlikely I’ll get a full-time MLB job at this point based on that they are looking for younger guys now.

“The fact that it’s happening now might mean even more, because it’s happening at a time where it’s pretty clear the minor leagues are pretty much as far as I’ll go.”

Nichols joined Marty Brennaman and analyst Jeff Brantley on the Cincinnati Reds Radio Network in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings on Tuesday.  For Nichols, who grew up listening to Brennaman, the voice of the Reds since 1974, it was important to finally get the opportunity to be heard in the Majors.

“It’s important to me because I’ve put so much of my life into this career,” Nichols said.  “I think it’s similar to Moonlight Graham, the character in (the movie) ‘Field of Dreams’ who played one inning but never got to bat.

“It’s only one game, but it will mean a lot to me.  I’ve ridden the buses and called the games.  Now I get to sit in an MLB broadcast booth.”

Unbeknownst to Nichols, after he called his 4,000th career minor league game, the Dragons and Reds were working on a plan for the broadcaster to get his big league opportunity.  Nichols fittingly joined the Reds Radio Network on an off-day for the Dragons.  Prior to missing 15 games with kidney stones last year, Nichols called 27 consecutive minor league seasons without missing a day of work.

Even though he’s working for his seventh team in the minors and has gone 31 years without getting a call to the big leagues, Nichols still never wavered on his career choice.

“It’s been the best career for me, honestly,” Nichols said. “People have asked me that lately, did you ever think about just quitting and getting a different job? For me, this was the right career, whether it was major league or minor league. It was the correct career path, whether I get to MLB or not, and it was worth it. It’s something I’ve enjoyed entire career, and that’s why I continue to do it after 31 years.”

Nichols first major league opportunity went in the books as a win as the Cincinnati Reds defeated the Milwaukee Brewers 9-7.

Brandon Contes is a freelance writer for BSM. He can be found on Twitter @BrandonContes. To reach him by email click here.

 

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.

The radio station has removed his show from the website and references to him and his normal 10a-2p ET midday timeslot program have been scrubbed from the station website.

Zaslow tweeted at 5:19p ET confirming the news.

Whether or not this has any effect on his involvement with the Miami Heat broadcasts is unknown as of now.

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. During his tenure he has worked with a number of established local voices including Joy Taylor, Amber Wilson, Brett Romberg, and 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. What they have planned next in Zaslow’s timeslot is unclear but local listeners will likely get some answers next week.

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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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