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Steve Blass To Retire After 34 Years With Pirates

“Although Blass will step away from the broadcast booth, the Pirates lifer will remain with the organization as an ambassador.”

Brandon Contes

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2019 will mark the 60th year Steve Blass is involved with the Pittsburgh Pirates organization and his 34th season in their broadcast booth.  On Tuesday, Blass announcedthe upcoming season will be his last as a broadcaster.

“Sixty seasons with the Pirates, one organization in one city, I am so very proud of that. It ranks right up there with anything I have ever done on the baseball field. It has been a wonderful run,” said Blass.

“My wife, Karen, and I felt that it was time to step away from my broadcasting duties in order to have more time to spend together and with our family and friends. I have spent many years driving by the roses, but now it is time for me to stop and smell the roses. I am very much looking forward to the 2019 season, as it will be special for me in so many ways.”

Following a 10-year major league pitching career, from 1964 – 74 with the Pirates, Blass joined the team’s broadcast booth in 1983 as a part-time analyst, becoming full-time in 1986.  In 2005 Blass took a reduced schedule, working only home games to spend more time with his family.  Blass, like the entire Pirates roster of broadcasters, splits his airtime between both radio and television.  AT&T SportsNet serves as the TV home for the Pirates, with Entercom’s 93.7 The Fan being their flagship radio station.

“Steve is as synonymous with Pirates baseball as anyone in the history of our organization,” said Bob Nutting, Pirates Chairman. “Steve leaping up into the air following the final out in his second complete game victory of the 1971 World Series is one of the most iconic moments in Pirates history.

“For 60 seasons, Steve has represented the Pirates with humility, grace, pride and passion. Words cannot express how appreciative we at the Pirates organization are for his dedication or how beloved he is and always will be.”

Blass’ pitching career was partially defined by the “yips.” After winning the World Series in 1971 and being named to the National League All-Star team in 1972, Blass suddenly lost control, walking 84 batters in 88 2/3 innings.  Never regaining any sort of accuracy, “Steve Blass disease” became a part of baseball terminology and ultimately led to his retirement.

Although Blass will step away from the broadcast booth, the Pirates lifer will remain with the organization as an ambassador.  Play-by-play announcers Greg Brown and Joe Block, along with analysts Bob Walk and John Wehner fill out the remainder of the Pirates roster of broadcasters.

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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