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Ref’s Lawsuit Against Matt Jones Dismissed

“Higgins claimed the harassment and complaints affecting his Nebraska roofing business were encouraged by Kentucky Sports Radio.”

Brandon Contes

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A lawsuit filed by NCAA Basketball referee, John Higgins against Kentucky Sports Radio and its operators, Matt Jones and Drew Franklin was dismissed by a Kentucky judge on Wednesday.

Following an Elite Eight game loss to North Carolina in 2017, members of the Kentucky Wildcats and their fanbase believed they were victims of poor officiating.  Although the critique was for the team of three referees, Higgins received the brunt of fan complaints which grew into threats.  Later that year Higgins sued Kentucky Sports Radio for allegedly influencing fans to target the referee, posting his personal business information on their site.

When not refereeing basketball games, Higgins owns a Nebraska roofing company called Weatherguard which saw their 4.8 Facebook rating drop to 1.2 shortly after the Elite Eight matchup.  Higgins claimed the harassment and complaints affecting his Nebraska roofing business were encouraged by Kentucky Sports Radio.

KSR founder, Matt Jones argued he never encouraged any of the harm inflicted on Higgins, even using his radio show to tell fans to stop the harassment described in the lawsuit.

According to Kentucky’s local Fox affiliate, WDRB, U.S. District Court Judge Joseph Hood acknowledged the Higgins family’s “frustration is understandable and their damages are real.” The lawsuit, however was dropped because KSR is protected by their First Amendment right to speak “openly and freely,” “even if that speech is revolting and upsetting.”  Judge Hood did not excuse the actions of Jones and managing-editor Drew Franklin, but won’t place the faults of third party individuals on Kentucky Sports Radio.

“It’s been a long two-year process,” Matt Jones said in a Wednesday interview discussing the dismissed lawsuit, “but I’m pleased the court was able to differentiate between the acts of others and our coverage of them.”

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

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Sports Radio News

Dan Dakich: Craig Carton is ‘The Way Talk Radio Should Be’

“If you’re being critical because you want to be the guy that’s always critical I don’t think you can do that either. I think you gotta be honest. And criticism comes with it.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Craig Carton has prided himself on being one of those hosts who tells it like it is, especially when talking about New York’s pro sports teams.

That willingness to call a spade a spade and levy criticism on teams like the Jets and Giants, especially when things are not going well on the field, is something Dan Dakich has always seen as a recipe for success in the industry.

Interviewing Carton on Thursday on his Outkick show Don’t @ Me, Dakich praised the WFAN afternoon host for essentially creating a blueprint for how sports talk should be done.

“In Indianapolis I’m the bad guy right, because I say look the Colts stink, this regime is 46-49-1 – why are you telling me the GM is the best in the country – why are you telling me Frank Reich can really coach?” Dakich said. “New York’s different, though, right? I mean, New York they expect you to say look if you ain’t any good then you ain’t any good. Yu don’t sugarcoat nothing, and I think that’s the way talk radio should be.”

Carton noted that what’s key in how you critique a team or a front office, executive or owner is finding a balance. He said you can’t as a host be the ultimate homer and blow smoke up everyone’s behind.

“You have to be able to be critical when it’s warranted,” Carton said. “If you’re being critical because you want to be the guy that’s always critical I don’t think you can do that either. I think you gotta be honest. And criticism comes with it.”

Carton pointed out that the fan bases in both New York and in Indianapolis are ultimately the same, because at the end of the day it’s all about making sure you have competent people calling the right shots. He added that the organizations are the same too because of how sensitive they can be to criticism, which he said if they don’t like it, “too bad.”

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Sports Radio News

Nick Ashooh Joins BetMGM Tonight

Jordan Bondurant

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The talent lineup for the BetQL show BetMGM Tonight is expanding, and Nick Ashooh is joining the team.

The news became official on Thursday when BetQL announced the addition of Ashooh on Twitter.

Ashooh has worked mainly in the D.C. market up to this point in his career, hosting for Audacy and NBC Sports Washington. He had been contributing sports betting content for the BetQL network for the latter part of the last year.

Ashooh joins co-hosts Trysta Krick and Ryan Horvat on BetMGM Tonight. The show can be heard weeknights from 7-11 p.m.

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Sports Radio News

1010XL Jay Fund Radiothon Raises Nearly $250,000 For Pediatric Cancer Research

“In the 15 year history of the radiothon, the station has raised just under $1.5 billion for the Jay Fund.”

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Jacksonville’s 1010XL used its airwaves to raise money for the Jay Fund for the fifteenth year earlier this week. The radiothon was a smashing success, raising $249,784 to fight pediatric cancer.

This year’s total is a new record for the event. In the 15 year history of the radiothon, the station has raised just under $1.6 million for the Jay Fund.

“I’m truly amazed at the generosity of the 1010 XL listeners in times when a carton of eggs cost six dollars,” said General Manager Steven Griffin, “and equally amazed how the hosts, producers, radio staff and volunteers come together with a singular focus to year-after-year produce these results in one broadcast day.”

Former Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin started the Jay Fund in memory of  Jay McGillis, who developed leukemia while playing for Coughlin at Boston College. The organization has helped over 5,000 families and given away over $16 million in grants in Northeast Florida and the New York/New Jersey Metropolitan Area.

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