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ESPN 1000 Celebrating 20th Anniversary Today

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Chicago’s ESPN 1000 kicked off it’s 20th Fanniversary celebration early this morning at Austin’s in Libertyville. Midday host Carmen DeFalco told Barrett Sports Media that the station is planning to bring back former hosts and iconic Chicago voices for the celebration. “It has been business as usual on air this week. All the best surprises are coming Friday.”

Mike Golic and Trey Wingo kicked off the festivities at 5am in Chicago. The duo was in town to host their nationally syndicated morning show from Austin’s. The rest of the ESPN 1000 lineup will broadcast live as well. DeFalco’s on air partner John “Jurko” Jurkovich will have a reunion, via telephone, with his former Mac, Jurko, and Harry co-hosts Dan McNeil and Harry Teinowitz.

DeFalco was one of the earliest hires at ESPN 1000. “My first shift was just a weekend update shift,” he told BSM via telephone earlier this week. “But I have been on the air here in one form or another for 20 years at this station.”

He gave the answer you would expect most Chicago hosts to give when you ask about the most memorable moment of their broadcasting career. DeFalco says the morning after the Chicago Cubs won the 2016 World Series he didn’t want to walk in with the attitude of “we’ll just turn the mics on and the show will do itself.”

DeFalco “spent most of the night of Game 7 thinking about what the night meant to Cub fans, what the night meant to generations of Cub fans that came and went and missed it.” It was a personal mission for him, as he said he thought about his grandfather in the moments after the final out was recorded. “He lived to 92. A long, wonderful life, and he survived a World War, and getting wounded twice, and he STILL never saw the Cubs win it all.”

Earlier this week, the station’s vice president and general manager Jim Pastor told Robert Feder of the Daily Herald that today’s celebration isn’t about ratings or sales success. It is about what ESPN 1000 has meant to Chicago sports fans for the last two decades.

Most importantly, we know where we stand with Chicago sports fans and our partners.  The relationship we have with them can be heard and felt on our air every day.

The station is owned and operated by the Walt Disney Company. It first became a sports station in 1993 known simply by its call letters, WMVP, under the control of Evergreen Broadcasting. The station was sold to Bonneville International in 1997 and briefly flipped to a news/sports hybrid. Disney took over the station and rebranded it as ESPN 1000 with an all sports format on October 12, 2008.

Some of the original hires are still at the station. Those include program director Adam Delevit, who was originally hired as a producer at the station, and afternoon host Marc “Silvy” Silverman.

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.

Barry Jackson, a veteran journalist with the Miami Herald, reports that 790 The Ticket morning hosts Brendan Tobin and Leroy Hoard will move to that 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. WQAM slot during the week of Oct. 3.

In more station movement, Joe Rose’s WQAM morning show with Zach Krantz now will be simulcast on The Ticket, replacing the Tobin/Hoard program. Audacy, which owns both WQAM and The Ticket, also simulcast Marc Hochman’s and Channing Crowder’s afternoon show.

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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