iHeartMedia announced a partnership with a second franchise from the newly formed Alliance of American Football league, the Memphis Express.
iHeart’s 101.9 Kiss FM will be the radio home for Express football during their 2019 inaugural season with Greg Gaston serving as the broadcast’s play-by-play voice.
Gaston is a veteran play-by-play announcer having worked on the University of Memphis football and basketball broadcasts, also calling games on ESPN, Comcast and Fox Sports. Gaston will continue to co-host the midday show on Sports 56 in Memphis.
“We at iHeart Media Memphis are so excited about being part of the Memphis Express with Kiss 101.9,” said Kevin Klein, area president Memphis/Mississippi Region, iHeart Media. “The partnership with the Express and iHeart is a perfect fit for both our brands. We look forward to starting some rivalries with the Birmingham, Atlanta and Orlando markets.”
Each broadcast will have 30-minute pre and postgame shows featuring Express head coach Mike Singletary as well as some of the team players.
“Our goal is to create a unique experience for all Memphis Express fans,” said Kosha Irby, team president, Memphis Express. “We feel our partnership with iHeart allows us to build on their broadcast and special event expertise.”
The Alliance of American Football League was founded by NFL Hall of Fame executive Bill Polian and TV producer Charlie Ebersol, son of former NBC Sports chairman Dick Ebersol. The league kicks off with eight teams playing a 10-week regular season schedule beginning February 9th on CBS.
Damon Amendolara: ‘It’s Hard to Leave What We’ve Built’ at CBS Sports Radio
“The coolest thing about this place for the last 11 years is they gave me total freedom to do what I wanted to do. My mind was the only limit in what we could do creatively.”
Damon Amendolara opened his CBS Sports Radio show on Thursday morning by acknowledging that his days at the network are numbered. SiriusXM announced yesterday that he will be taking over the morning show on Mad Dog Sports Radio beginning October 2.
“Instead of a cold open here, I just thought I would talk and reflect and use today and tomorrow to do the same thing,” he said to start the 6 o’clock hour.
He thanked by CBS Sports Radio and the audience for being integral to the show’s success. He noted that finding a dedicated audience is what helped the show grow in overnights and move to more prominent day parts of the course of the last eleven years.
“These eleven years have been a pure joy to work here at CBS Sports Radio,” Amendolara said. “I’ve said this often. The coolest thing about this place for the last 11 years is they gave me total freedom to do what I wanted to do. My mind was the only limit in what we could do creatively. Man, and for those that are creative, maybe you’re a painter, you’re a musician, maybe you’re an artist, a sculptor, maybe you just look at landscaping and see a bunch of weeds and go, ‘I can create something out of that,’ or maybe you see a car that needs to be renovated and go, ‘I can create something out of that.’ Those things, to me, are my oxygen. I love that part of this job. And they let me do it. I mean, look at how weird this show is sometimes! They let me do it, and for that I am forever grateful.”
He said that the show felt complete once it made the move from nights to middays. That is when Andrew Bogusch and Pete “The Body” Bellotti joined the show.
“I have worked with some amazing, amazing people. Bellotti and Bogusch and me and Mraz (former producer Shawn Morash). I just couldn’t have asked for anything more. These guys are next-level talented, next-level committed, and it was just such a synergy immediately. It was like, ‘Wow, this is special. And that started in 2017. So I can say without a shadow of a doubt, the last six plus years of working with these guys, these shows mid-morning, then we were promoted to mornings going into 2020. These six years with Bogusch and Bellotti have just been the greatest radio I’ve ever done.”
He concluded by saying that in the end, the offer that SiriusXM made him checked all the boxes of what he would need in order to feel good about leaving CBS Sports Radio.
Amendolara admitted that he wanted to take the entire crew with him. It just was not going to work out.
“It’s hard to leave these guys and it’s hard to leave what we’ve built here. But it wasn’t an option. Because of the inner workings of radio, that wasn’t an option. They are too valuable here, and they’re going to be wonderful and supportive and talented for Maggie & Perloff, who are taking over the morning show starting on Monday.”
Phillies Star Trea Turner Thanks 94WIP’s Marks & Reese For Inspiring Turnaround
“Obviously, the whole thing happened and the rest is kind of history. Started playing a lot better and it was thanks to you guys and the crowd.”
WIP is the radio home of the Philadelphia Phillies. This season, it is like the station has been an integral part of the team. That was clear again on Wednesday when Trea Turner called in to thank afternoon hosts Jon Marks & Ike Reese.
Turner, who signed with the team this offseason, opened the year in a real slump. He was pressing as fans began to make it clear that he was not living up to his 11-year/$300 million contract.
Last month, Marks & Reese producer Jack Fritz posted a video on social media encouraging fans to give the shortstop a standing ovation in his next plate appearance. It worked. Fans responded and so did Turner.
“First off, I owe you guys a thank you,” Turner said Wednesday afternoon on 94WIP. “I’ve heard that you guys were responsible so I want to say thank you to you guys. But yeah, I think my wife saw a video on social media about it and she showed me before I went to the stadium that day. So she was kind of where I heard it first. Obviously, the whole thing happened and the rest is kind of history. Started playing a lot better and it was thanks to you guys and the crowd.”
Since the stunt, Turner has raised his batting average from .236 to .263. He has also hit 16 home runs in that span.
“Those first 100 games or so, I wasn’t kind of living up to the standard that I played at for a while and just wanted to get back to that,” he said. “And then the next 35, 40 games have been pretty special. I think it’s probably the best I’ve hit in my life, just from a power standpoint really.”
Last month, another Phillies star drew inspiration from Marks & Reese. Bryce Harper acknowledged that it was a caller named Chuck who inspired a home run against the Angels.
Mike Florio: Can Taylor Swift Fans Save Sunday Night Football Without Aaron Rodgers?
“If all the Swifties out there decide they’re gonna descend on NBC and Peacock on Sunday night to watch Travis Kelce – and maybe catch glimpses of Taylor Swift in a luxury suite at MetLife Stadium – those numbers could go through the roof.”
This week’s Sunday Night Football matchup was supposed to feature Patrick Mahomes against Aaron Rodgers, but that’s not going to happen.
Viewership of the game will probably suffer a little bit without Rodgers, but NBC’s Mike Florio thinks Taylor Swift fans can give the game a nice bump.
In an appearance on Bernstein & Holmes on 670 The Score on Wednesday, Florio expressed doubt that football fans will one day get to see a game featuring the Mahomes and Rodgers considering all the previous potential matchups between the Chiefs and Packers one quarterback or the other was hurt and wouldn’t be able to play.
But with tight end Travis Kelce now reportedly dating Taylor Swift, Florio said there’s great potential that there will be added interest in hopes of potentially seeing Taylor in another suite cheering Kelce and the Chiefs on.
“If all the Swifties out there decide they’re gonna descend on NBC and Peacock on Sunday night to watch Travis Kelce – and maybe catch glimpses of Taylor Swift in a luxury suite at MetLife Stadium – those numbers could go through the roof,” he said.
Florio added that he’s only been paying attention to and talking about Kelce and Swift since Travis saw a huge jump in jersey sales this week. Reports are that sales were up 400%.
Mike credited Rich Eisen for pointing out on Monday that while the league will undoubtedly stand to benefit further from the Swift effect, it wasn’t a good day for those who worked on announcing Usher as the halftime performer at the Super Bowl in February.
“The NFL had to be pissed that the day that they announced Usher was gonna be the Super Bowl halftime performer, Taylor Swift took all the oxygen out of the musical room as far as the NFL is concerned,” Florio said. He added that it’s possible Swift is trying to leverage herself into a spot on the stage in Las Vegas.
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. He’s a multimedia journalist and communicator who works at the Virginia State Corporation Commission in Richmond. Jordan also contributes occasional coverage of the Washington Capitals for the blog NoVa Caps. His prior media experiences include working for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Danville Register & Bee, Virginia Lawyers Weekly, WRIC-TV 8News and Audacy Richmond. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.