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Harrison Explains Process Of Releasing Hill Audio

“In an attempt to gain clearance for the recording, Harrison reached out to Tyreek Hill’s attorney, agent, the Johnson County District Attorney and the Overland Park Police Department, but neither would verify the audio.”

Brandon Contes

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Usually sports radio hosts are in the business of forming opinions on available evidence, but sometimes being a journalist takes precedence as they gather their own information.  

For over a month, Carrington Harrison of Kansas City’s 610 Sports Radio held a recording of the full 11-minute recorded conversation between Chiefs wide-receiver Tyreek Hill and his fiancée, Crystal Espinal privately discussing domestic abuse allegations.  The tape, released by 610 Sports earlier this week may have swayed the court of public opinion about Hill’s alleged involvement, but for Harrison the process of releasing the audio wasn’t easy.

Unable to share how he received the audio, Harrison did acknowledge he wasn’t holding onto it by choice.  Although saving it for the dog days of summer helped create content during a slow period for sports, the time-frame for when to release the 11-minute recording was not dictated by Harrison.  Acquiring the audio on June 7th, Harrison and 610 Sports didn’t receive clearance to release the recording until Monday July 8th at 4:40pm CST.

“I was explicitly told if I went against our legal team’s orders to not play the tape, it would be violating a direct order for my superiors,” Harrison told me.

In an attempt to gain clearance for the recording, Harrison reached out to Tyreek Hill’s attorney, agent, the Johnson County District Attorney and the Overland Park Police Department, but neither would verify the audio.  It was not until these efforts were exhausted that Entercom, which owns 610 Sports, stepped in and paid for the audio to be independently verified last week.

“I personally went to Hill’s attorney to speak with him.  He would not meet with me,” Harrison said, noting he was told to set an appointment which they declined when he attempted to do so.  Harrison even had his personal attorney contact the DA, but he too would not verify the audio.

During the course of the last month, Harrison never believed any other media outlet had access to the tape and would release it before 610 Sports gained clearance to do so.  Kansas City’s CBS affiliate, KCTV5 publicly shared excerpts from the 11-minute recording in April, but declined to release it in full.  Since the full recording was made public, some have questioned why KCTV5 and their news director, Casey Clark chose select clips to release back in April.

“I couldn’t live with myself if we had taken a chunk of something like that and given life forever,” Clark said on-air, referring specifically to the part of the recording where Hill told Espinal he didn’t want to have children.  “I just felt like it was best for us if we took the parts that were relevant, put them on the news.”   

When I asked Harrison if he had any moral hesitations about releasing the full recording knowing the potential firestorm it would create, the radio host said, “I had a few, but they did not slow down the process of playing the audio and getting it authenticated.”

Whether or not releasing the full audio vs only select clips paints Tyreek Hill in a different light is up to the court of public opinion.  For Harrison, it was important to put in the necessary work to give the public that option of forming their own opinion with the available evidence.

Carrington Harrison and Sean Levine host The Drive on 610 Sports every weekday from 2 – 6pm.

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

Steak Shapiro Apologizes, Says He Didn’t Think Stetson Bennett Criticism Was ‘That Inflamatory’

“You were just trying to play music and not ignore the fans. Still don’t think it was a great speech, but again, you’re the biggest football hero in Georgia football history.”

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Wednesday’s edition of The Steakhouse was one Atlanta sports fans were waiting for. Late Tuesday night, Steak Shapiro took to Twitter to promise that he would address Stetson Bennett IV’s reaction to his criticism of the way the quarterback behaved at Georgia’s National Championship parade on Saturday.

“The notion is that Steak was basically roasted,” he said of the coverage the social media spat received. “He was put on the grill and taken to task.”

Shapiro had tweeted that he did not think it was a good look for Bennett to be on his phone during the championship parade and that his speech seemed more about settling old grudges than it was about celebrating the team or the fans. In a message on Twitter, which began by addressing Shapiro as “Mr. Med Rare”, Bennett explained that he was using his phone to play music in the car he was riding in. He was not ignoring the moment or the fans.

After giving Bennett credit for coming up with a funny nickname, Steak Shapiro said that he was surprised that the quarterback took the criticism so personally.

“My job is to give an opinion. I didn’t think it was that inflammatory. I didn’t think it was that dramatic.”

He added that has no problem with Stetson’s disdain for the media. He just thought the parade should have been about the fans and the accomplishment rather than Stetson Bennett IV trying to settle old grudges. Still, Shapiro wanted to make it clear that he does not hate the Georgia quarterback. He remains one of Bennett’s most vocal fans.

“On three or four occasions, I was lambasted because I said I thought he was the greatest player in Georgia history, and I said that before he won the national title,” Shapiro said. “I said that when they had the undefeated regular season, and then people started saying ‘stop saying that about Stetson’ or ‘Stetson’s overrated’. I just kinda had his back the entire year and probably had his back the last two years. I just didn’t think Saturday was a great day. That is what I have been saying, and I stand by it. I just didn’t think it was a great-looking day.”

Steak Shapiro did offer an apology to Bennett. He said that if the quarterback was just trying to play music on his phone, that isn’t that big of a deal, and if he had known that is what was happening, his reaction may have been different.

“My bad,” he concluded. “You were just trying to play music and not ignore the fans. Still don’t think it was a great speech, but again, you’re the biggest football hero in Georgia football history. You’re one of the iconic sports figures — maybe number one — in a town of Hank Aaron, and Chipper Jones, and Domonique Wilkins, and Matt Ryan, and Deion Sanders. You’re probably number one all time.”

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Sports Radio News

Brian Gebhardt to Serve as Program Director of Sactown Sports 1140

“Learning under skilled leaders such as Terry Foxx, Sean Thompson, Reggie Rouse, and Mike Conti helped prepare Gebhardt for the next step.”

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Sactown Sports 1140 has found their next program director. After an extensive search, GM Steve Cottingim and Bonneville Sacramento’s Group Director of Programming Chad Rufer have found their next leader in Atlanta, GA, tabbing Brian Gebhardt to guide the brand’s programming department.

Gebhardt heads west to join Bonneville Sacramento after enjoying over seven years of success at 92.9 The Game. He has served recently as the Executive Producer of the ‘Andy & Randy’ show featuring Randy McMichael and Andy Bunker. During his time with the Atlanta sports station, Gebhardt has learned under skilled leaders such as Terry Foxx, Sean Thompson, Reggie Rouse, and Mike Conti. Those experiences prepared Gebhardt for the next step, as did working with numerous on-air talents who have helped The Game become a model of consistency in Georgia.

“Brian’s experience working with both premiere talent and professional sports franchises will help us help the Sactown Sports brand grow both on-air and on-line ,” said Cottingim.

“Brian demonstrated to us a real passion for leading extraordinary talent,” shared Rufer. “We are very confident that he will help us grow Sactown Sports into Sacramento’s premiere sports brand.”

“I can’t wait to get started and I am beyond excited to be working with Bonneville,” added Gebhardt.  

The hiring of the Georgia native as new PD allows Nick Cattles to focus exclusively on hosting the station’s afternoon show, a role he’s wanted to invest more time. Cattles joined Sactown Sports in November 2021 and has pulled double duty since arriving in Northern California. He hired Ramie Makhlouf as his afternoon drive co-host and the duo have built a solid foundation in afternoons. Having the ability now to focus solely on the show should allow Cattles and Ramie to elevate their program even more.

The first day on the job for Gebhardt will be Monday February 3rd. Depending on what develops with the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC playoffs, there’s a possibility he could be walking into two straight weeks of Super Bowl planning. Regardless, Gebhardt has a new market to learn, a new team to meet, a new company to deliver results for, and an opportunity to take a big step in his radio career.

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Sports Radio News

DNVR Sports Files Injunction Against Bonneville Over Denver Sports Brand

“We can’t allow someone that represents the exact opposite of us to damage the goodwill of our brand or create confusion in the community.”

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After Bonneville International unveiled new branding for its Denver Sports properties, digital outlet DNVR Sports has filed an injunction to stop the radio company from utilizing the brand and logos.

In a Twitter thread, ALLCITY Network CEO Brandon Spano claimed DNVR Sports has already seen listeners, viewers, and readers confuse the two brands. “We can’t allow someone that represents the exact opposite of us to damage the goodwill of our brand or create confusion in the community,” Spano tweeted.

“Our branding was created purposefully, to be different from the way sports networks traditionally looked,” he said in another tweet. “To represent the city of Denver in a simple way while removing us from the gloss and pretentiousness of sports media. To create something that brings people together.”

Spano added that ALLCITY sent Bonneville a cease-and-desist letter last week, but claims the company failed to respond, so an injunction has been filed.

The Denver Sports branding utilized by Bonneville — which encompasses 104.3 The Fan and ESPN Denver — features a black and white city skyline as well as the Rocky Mountains inside a hexagon with block lettering. The DNVR Sports logo is a rectangle, similar to the city of Denver flag, with the sun centered between the mountain peaks and a block “DNVR” below the rectangle.

The complaint filed by StudioIP LLC — the law firm representing ALLCITY — claims the branding used by Bonneville constitutes “trademark infringement, unfair competition, trade dress infringement, dilution by tarnishment, and tortious interference arising out of Bonneville’s trademark infringement of Plaintiff’s trademarks,” according to Westword.

Bonneville has denied any wrongdoing, saying the accusations “have absolutely no merit, and our legal counsel is preparing a formal response. Denver Sports remains committed to delivering the most in-depth and inclusive local sports content for all Denver sports fans.”

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