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Under The Radar – August 31, 2018

Jason Barrett

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This edition of UTR is going to take you a while to read. There’s a TON to pass along. If you haven’t read this piece before, and want to know how to be included in it, it’s easy. Send your station or individual news via email to JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me. Now buckle up! You’ve got a lot to digest.

For those who have been asking about the return of the BSM Podcast, Season 3 will resume next Wednesday September 5th. There’ll be a few changes to the way the podcast is presented and delivered. We think you’ll enjoy it so be sure to check back.

Also, tickets for the BSM Summit in Los Angeles are now on sale. Seating for the event is limited. The annual conference is exclusive to sports media industry executives, programmers, market managers/sales managers, agents, and select talent. Plans have already been announced for an award to be introduced in honor of Emmis CEO and WFAN founder Jeff Smulyan. A second award announcement will be made next Thursday and involves a well known sports radio personality. For information on tickets, hotel, and sponsorships click here. To inquire on speaking at the event email JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me.

WEEI in Boston continues to make a difference for The Jimmy Fund. The radio station along with NESN and the Boston Red Sox took part in the 17th annual Jimmy Fund Telethon, and helped to raise more than $4.4 million dollars this year. Since the telethon’s inception, a total of $53 million dollars has been raised to help fight cancer. Congrats to all involved on a tremendous effort.

After months of media coverage, Mike Francesa‘s app is now available. The WFAN host recently did a media tour to promote it and confirmed plans to add more original content. Part of those plans include hosting his popular Sunday Football show which he hosted for 30 years on The Fan. Francesa’s app will also include a College Football show from WFAN host John Jastremski (JJ After Dark), wrestling content from Mike’s producer Brian Monzo, and Fantasy Football work from associate producer Chris McMonigle. More programming is expected to be added in the future.

While we’re on the subject of apps, the power of Barstool Sports can’t be understated. Earlier this week, the company launched the One Bite App which features a collection of Dave Portnoy‘s pizza reviews, and gives users the option to film and upload their own reviews. Barstool and its personalities got behind the project, collectively promoting the app to their fans, and on Wednesday, it had become the 3rd most popular app in the food and drink category. That put it ahead of brands such as Starbucks, and Chick Fil-A, and only behind McDonalds and Uber Eats. No matter how you slice it, that’s pretty impressive.

In addition to recently resigning with ESPN to continue his podcast and appear on television shows as a guest, Ryen Russillo has also added a podcast with The Ringer. Russillo’s new digital audio show is titled Dual Threat and it debuted on August 29th. Russillo also said on Twitter that he’s been hired to write a pilot for a television show.

FOX Sports Radio host Clay Travis has a book coming out in September. The title “Republicans Buy Sneakers Too” will include nine hours of audio narration from Travis. On an unrelated note, if you enjoy conversation on sports, media, and business, take a listen to Clay’s podcast with Rich Greenfield. It’s very interesting and informative. You can hear it by clicking here.

A heck of a start so far for the crew at VSiN. The company announced plans to introduce Action Updates earlier this year, and as we enter the start of the football season, 38 stations have already signed on to carry them with others expected to finalize deals soon. According to sources, News/Talk and music stations are beginning to enter the mix. That serves as a reminder to sports radio brands that it’s wiser to move early rather than late, especially given the expected increase in content, public interest, and revenue. You can learn more about VSiN’s updates by clicking here.

Philadelphia folks had been wondering about the status of popular WIP radio host Marc Farzetta, but that situation has been resolved. Farzetta left WIP on June 15th before getting married. His departure was due to gaining a full-time role on NBC Sports Philadelphia. Farzetta is now hosting Philly Sports Talk with Amy Fadool, and will be part of the network’s Eagles gameday coverage this season.

Beau Bishop is increasing his workload this fall. The 97.1 The Fan host who teams with James Laurinatis weekdays from 10a-12p ET is adding another show, except this one is on the airwaves of ESPN Cleveland. Bishop will co-host Browns Daily with Nathan Segura weekdays from 1p-3p ET. Bishop said via Twitter “there will be a lot of miles on my chopper but it should be fine.”

Football season means the addition of a number of weekly contributors on WDAE in Tampa. The radio station is adding nearly 15 guests to its fall coverage. Some of the notable names include former Bucs GM Mark Dominik, former Bucs players Michael Clayton and Anthony Becht, NFL Network insider Ian Rappaport, and Action Network Head of Content Chad Millman.

Given his connection to the city of Chicago, and the partnership in place between VSiN and 670 The Score, it only made sense for Sam Panayotovich to be added as a weekly contributor on the Chicago sports radio station. Panayotovich will appear on The Score every Friday during the football season with Mully and Haugh.

Another addition to The Score is The Fantasy Freak Show hosted by Yahoo Sports’ Brad Evans and Andy Behrens. The Score actually gave the show its start over a decade ago. Evans announced via social media he was thrilled to resurrect the program and return to his roots. The Score has added it to its Sunday schedule airing from 8a-9a CT.

Marc James and Greg Dickerson have been given a Saturday program on WEEI in Boston. Both men were regularly involved as rotating third hosts with Dale Arnold and Rich Keefe before the show was moved to middays. They’re also both active on Boston sports television.

Congratulations is in order for Jim Costa who has been elevated from APD to PD at 96.1 ESPN in Grand Rapids. Costa also hosts the station’s popular local afternoon show “Big Drew and Jim” with Drew McCarthy. The program also airs in Detroit on iHeart’s 1130 WDFN.

105.7 The Fan in Baltimore has named Brent Harris as its Ravens Insider. Aside from covering the team, Harris will also host the station’s Ravens post-game show.

FOX Sports Radio is adding an affiliation at the expense of ESPN Radio. Starting Saturday September 1st, 1230 and 1320 in Lehigh Valley, PA will re-brand as FOX Sports 1230/1320. The radio station which has been a longtime ESPN Radio affiliate said the moves are being made to offer a better lineup of personalities to the local airwaves. Dan Patrick and Colin Cowherd‘s shows are expected to be part of the lineup. The station has no changes planned for its local afternoon show which features Tom Fallon and Matt Markus.

SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Radio recently gave ESPN Syracuse afternoon host Brent Axe an opportunity to do some fill-in work on national radio. Axe was summoned for duty on Sunday August 19th. No word yet on when Axe will host next for the satellite company but expect him to get another shot.

Speaking of fill-ins, Jason Goff resurfaced recently in Atlanta, hosting two shows for 92.9 The Game. Goff previously worked for the station, and has remained active in recent months on SiriusXM, WFNZ in Charlotte, and a few Chicago sports media outlets.

Another talented guy who’s picked up some expanded opportunities is 1620 The Zone‘s Nick Bahe. FOX Sports Radio recently gave the Omaha sports talk show host a chance to fill in on the national stage. Bahe worked with sports talk veteran Andy Furman. In addition to hosting on The Zone, Bahe does college basketball analyst work for FOX Sports television.

Pete Thompson is no longer a full time member of The Sports Bash on 97.3 ESPN. In a social media post from on-air host and PD Mike Gill, Thompson was given credit for helping take the show to another level. Gill concluded his post by adding “that chair will always be open for you PT!”

A new wrestling podcast is now available courtesy of 102.5 The Game assistant program director Chase McCabe. “Through The Ropes” debuted with a special guest appearance from WWE Hall of Famer Jeff Jarrett. You can hear it by clicking here.

A new two year deal is what sources say CBS Sports HQ has signed Nick Kostos to. The CBS anchor is expected to continue in his current role as part of the new agreement. For a good read on what his day consists of click here to read the SBJ’s story.

Matt Perrault has announced he’s left The Action Network as a contributor to provide columns, videos and podcasts for 2 sports gambling sites.  One of those outlets is PlayPicks.com where Perrault contributed his first piece previewing the opening weekend in College Football.

And a couple of congratulatory notes go out to Kelly Bydlon who’s joined VSiN as a producer after 9 years with ESPN West PalmMatt Murphy for being named the new voice of Alvernia football on WIOV Sports Radio 1240AM, Jake Marsh on adding play by play duties on Vermont Men’s basketball, Tommy Call who’s adding a weekly sports talk show on 1440 KVON in Napa, and Rudy Reyes who’ll be covering the Wyoming Cowboys for KGWN.

After 34 years of sports coverage on Bay Area television, Gary Radnich signed off at KRON 4. Radnich’s farewell commentary provided moments of candor, emotion, and humor. To watch it click here. Congrats to Gary on an incredible run.

ESPN continues to introduce programming for multiple platforms. The company has announced a new show exclusively for Twitter. The College Football Show airs Saturday night’s at 7pm with Jason Fitz and Treavor Scales serving as hosts. Fitz says he’s pumped up, and promises the show will do things that have never been done before on digital programs.

An opportunity to head home was too good for Ben Murphy to pass up. After spending the past year in Charleston, SC working for WCBD, Murphy has accepted a sports anchor/reporter position at the local ABC/NBC affiliate in his hometown of Jacksonville, FL.

A ton to pass along from the print world starting with another hiring spree by The Athletic. The site’s NFL coverage immediately received a boost with the additions of well respected NFL reporter and television personality Jay Glazer, and former NFL GM and football analyst Michael Lombardi. Other moves made include adding Arif Hasan to cover the Minnesota Vikings. Travis Haney taking on the Tennessee Titans beat. Larry Holder has been hired in New Orleans to serve as a columnist and cover the New Orleans Saints and LSU. Green Bay is where you’ll find Josh Tolentino who’s now covering the Packers alongside Michael Cohen. In Indianapolis, Scott Agness and Stephen Holder will cover the Colts and Pacers. Less than 2 hours away, Jay Morrison is covering the Bengals in Cincinnati. Greg Auman exits the Tampa Bay Times after 19 years to cover the Buccaneers for the company. Joe Person has taken a similar approach in Charlotte, leaving the Charlote Observer after 8 years to cover the Carolina Panthers. Chris Perkins joins the brand in Miami reporting on the Dolphins. And Dane Brugler, Ted Nguyen, and Lindsay Jones have been named contributors to the platform’s NFL outfit.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune is giving Chris Hine an opportunity to cover the Minnesota Timberwolves. Hine takes over for Jerry Zgoda.

After spending 13 years with Arizona Central Sports/Arizona RepublicDoug Haller is moving on. Haller says details about his next adventure will be announced soon, and he won’t be going far.

The Global News in Montreal received some good news just in time for hockey season. Brian Wilde has agreed to return as a hockey commentator. Wilde has spent two decades covering the Montreal Canadiens, and will bring his popular blog, Call of the Wilde, to the Global News’ website.

Yahoo Sports has added Kimberley Martin as a Senior NFL Reporter. Martin previously worked for the Washington Post, Newsday, and Buffalo News.

And Christopher Heady is taking over the Nebraska men’s basketball beat. He adds those responsibilities in addition to covering Nebraska football for the Omaha World-Herald.

 

Sports Radio News

New Study Finds Listeners to MLB on Radio Are Willing to Spend

More than one third (34%) of the respondents recently purchased clothing/apparel that features their favorite team… 27% have visited a ballpark in the past year. That compares to only 19% of the average MLB fan base has made an apparel purchase to support their team while just 11% have gone to a game in person in that same time span.

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MLB Radio

When it comes to advertiser’s attempting to reach an affluent and engaged audience, sports talk radio might have a whale on their hands. Major League Baseball play-by-play features an audience that has money and has no problems spending it.

In a recent MRI-Simmons study, data shows that consumers who listen to MLB broadcasts on the radio are the perfect audience for sports marketers. According to the analysis, done by Katz Radio Group, nearly two thirds (62%) of those surveyed consider themselves “super fans” of baseball. That number is 58% higher than the average.

Radio Listeners to MLB

Those “super fans” are willing to spend to support their team, as well. More than one third (34%) of the respondents recently purchased clothing/apparel that features their favorite team. Those fans are also far more willing to make the trip to see their team. The study found that 27% have visited a ballpark in the past year. That compares to only 19% of the average MLB fan base has made an apparel purchase to support their team while just 11% have gone to a game in person in that same time span.

The news continues getting better for advertisers. Continued analysis reveals that 66% of listeners are currently employed and have a median household income greater than $106,000.

Listeners to MLB games on the radio are also 34% more likely to place a sports bet and 106% more likely to be a participant in fantasy baseball.

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Sports Radio News

Jeff Dean Signs Off At ESPN Tucson for The Final Time

Dean said on Facebook: “…the years of burning the candle at both ends has taken a dire toll on my health and for the first time in my life, I’m going to put myself and my livelihood first”

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Jeff Dean Show

Fans will no longer be able to tune into ESPN Tucson and hear Jeff Dean hosting his show. Friday morning was his last show, according to his Facebook and Twitter pages.

The Jeff Dean Show had been airing from 7-9a MT weekday mornings. Dean took to social media to relay the news and the reason behind him stepping away from the microphone. Dean said on Facebook:

“This morning I signed off from my radio show on ESPN Tucson for the final time. I have been devoting too much of my life and my time to working multiple jobs…the years of burning the candle at both ends has taken a dire toll on my health and for the first time in my life, I’m going to put myself and my livelihood first”

Jeff Dean Facebook

Dean went on to emphasize that he isn’t stepping away from ESPN Tucson, he’s just taking himself off the air. He also added that “gladly, I will be continuing my position as PA announcer of University of Arizona Football and Men’s basketball.”

Dean would also go onto Twitter to add even further context for his self-removal from the ESPN Tucson airwaves. He added, “It’s not a decision I arrived at hastily, as it’s been a 6 month mental grind to make the ultimate decision that had to be made, and I’m not particularly happy about it, but I have to put my health first, we all do, and make sure we’re around long enough to enjoy life”.

Dean had been ESPN Tucson’s morning host since November 2019.

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Sports Radio News

Jonas Knox: Adrian Wojnarowski’s NBA Draft Reporting Was Desperate Ratings Ploy

“The idea that Woj is going to get duped by Orlando Magic in the draft! The first time he’s ever been duped in his career?”

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Thursday’s NBA Draft is a moment the guys waiting to hear their names called had been waiting for since the day they picked up a basketball. While his draft came decades ago in the NFL, LaVar Arrington could relate to what they were feeling.

“It’s a dream recognized,” he said on Friday’s episode of FOX Sports Radio’s 2 Pros and a Cup of Joe. “You work so hard for so long. So, when you’re sitting there waiting for them to call your name, it’s a surreal moment.”

His partner, Jonas Knox, wasn’t in such a nostalgic or celebratory mood. He had a problem with the information leading up to draft night and just how much the narrative that Auburn’s Jabari Smith would be taken by the Orlando Magic with the first pick was pushed before all the sudden, it wasn’t.

“What a bunch of crap that we are being fed by Adrian Wojnarowski, ESPN, the Orlando Magic,” he said. “Whoever’s feeding it is full of crap.”

Wojnarowski tweeted an hour before the Draft that Jabari Smith was still the favorite to be taken, but he was hearing that the Magic weren’t ruling out Duke’s Paolo Banchero. 

When the first pick was announced, it was Paolo Banchero that heard his name called, not Smith. 

“One of three things happened,” Knox said. “Either ESPN is so desperate for ratings and for people to give a crap about the NBA Draft and their sport that they waited until the final hour to pump up some interest, realizing we’ve got a problem here based on some ratings and some reports on some ratings in the NBA Finals, so they waited until an hour before and had Woj drop a ‘Woj Bomb’ that it could not be Jabari Smith, that it could be Banchero who’s gonna go number one overall. It’s either that or Woj is in some kind of cahoots with the Orlando Magic.”

That is a powerful accusation. Knox finds it hard to believe the information got to ESPN’s renowned NBA Insider so late in the process.

“The idea that Woj is going to get duped by Orlando Magic in the draft! The first time he’s ever been duped in his career?”

He didn’t rule out that someone was trying to make money behind the scenes. As late as Thursday afternoon, the Duke Forward was still in plus territory to be the top pick on many sportsbooks’ odds boards. The odds had gone as high as +1600 last week.

“I call BS. I think it’s all shenanigans and I think somebody needs to get called out for it,” Knox concluded. “That pisses me off, man.”

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