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Former Fanatic PD Eric Johnson Returns To Music Radio

“Johnson parted ways with The Fanatic last November, after almost exactly two years as its program director.”

Brandon Contes

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Seven months after being let go as program director of Beasley’s 97.5 The Fanatic in Philadelphia, Eric Johnson is back with the company, as he joins Mix 99.5 WJBR in Wilmington, DE.

In his new role, which begins July 1, Johnson will be WJBR’s PD and afternoon host according to All Access. Johnson parted ways with The Fanatic last November, after almost exactly two years as its program director. Although he most recently worked in sports radio, Johnson has plenty of experience outside the format, having spent nearly two decades at New Jersey 101.5. 

“Thank you to Joe Bell, Justin Chase and Bruce Beasley for bringing me back to the family,” Johnson said in the release. “I’m looking forward to working with the Beasley management team and the talented staff at Mix 99.5 WJBR in serving our listeners and the community! The station has such a rich heritage in Wilmington and the tri-state area and has a tremendous signal. We will make it shine!”

Mix 99.5 categorizes itself as an adult contemporary station.

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Dan Bernstein Begins 30th Year at 670 The Score; Terry Boers: ‘He Really is Brilliant’

“Once you get used to the rest of him, you start going, ‘Oh my God, he knows exactly what he’s talking about.'”

Barrett Sports Media

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Dan Bernstein
Courtesy: Robert Feder

Midday show host Dan Bernstein is beginning his 30th consecutive year on the air at 670 The Score, a venerated streak in the Chicago marketplace that will be recognized by the Audacy-owned station. Bernstein became a full-time on-air host four years after officially joining the station in 1995 and was paired with Chicago Sun-Times columnist Terry Boers. The Boers and Bernstein show quickly gained notoriety in the locale and was centered around recurring segments, caller interactions and on-air debates. The show lasted for 17 years before Boers left the station, but the sound was renewed on Monday afternoon.

Laurence Holmes represented Bernstein’s fourth partner in seven years upon the departure of Boers, but their program has been embraced by listeners and attained widespread success. Bernstein has been hosting alongside Holmes since 2022 as part of an updated weekday programming lineup for the station, and the midday show has included Leila Rahimi on Wednesday editions as well. On Monday’s edition of the Bernstein and Holmes show, the duo was joined by Boers in honor of Bernstein beginning his third decade with 670 The Score. Holmes asked Boers how he resisted the urge to want to punch Bernstein in the face working with him.

“He really is brilliant,” Boers said. “Once you get used to the rest of him, you start going, ‘Oh my God, he knows exactly what he’s talking about. He’s sharp, he’s concise, he’s not too windy like I am and he can talk about anything he wanted to whenever he wants to talk about it.’ After a while, you sort of learn what’s not to like.”

Before he started working at 670 The Score, Bernstein worked in a variety of media roles in both sports and news media, including as a broadcaster with the South Bend White Sox, Raleigh Bullfrogs and Rockford Lightning. Additionally, he has made appearances on networks including CNN and MSNBC to offer his opinions on news topics and current events. When he first joined 670 The Score, he covered the Chicago Bulls dynasty that won three consecutive NBA championships from 1996 to 1998 and continues to write about sports as the station’s senior columnist.

When Boers was paired with Bernstein, he received condolence messages from others who were not sure how he would make it through a month. The partnership ended up lasting for a significantly longer time with a distinctive chemistry, something that Boers attributes to his former co-host. At the same time though, he chose to accept the wisdom and shrewdness of Bernstein and was cognizant of his role on sports talk radio.

“He solidified the station,” Boers said of Bernstein. “I was just along for the ride – that’s what I was. I didn’t have any great thoughts about it, [and] I didn’t have any great ideas of what the station could become, but what it’s become still makes me proud to this day because I know what little I had to do with all that that where the station is today, and the people on it are terrific.”

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Boomer Esiason: ‘Michael Malone’s Response to Reporter Was Ridiculous’

“Everybody wants to beat you; everybody wants to give you their best effort.”

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Boomer Esiason
Courtesy: Gail Schulman, CBS

The matchups for both the Eastern and Western Conference Finals in the NBA were solidified on Sunday to narrow the field to four teams remaining looking to capture a league championship. The early game resulted in a 21-point win for the Indiana Pacers over the New York Knicks. Later in the day, the Minnesota Timberwolves overcame a 20-point deficit to eliminate the defending NBA champion Denver Nuggets, gaining key contributions from several members of the team. With the Nuggets having a double-digit lead in the third quarter and losing the game by seven points, the swing surprised many basketball fans and left Ball Arena in a state of shock.

After the game concluded, Denver Nuggets head coach Michael Malone fielded questions from members of the media about the game and season as a whole. One reporter asked him about how it felt to process a loss of this magnitude, especially when the team had held a substantial lead in the second half of the game. Malone responded with ostensible indignation and disappointment, immediately articulating to move on to the next question.

“The season’s over – that’s what’s hard,” Malone said. “F**k being up 20. The season’s over – you don’t understand that. The season’s over – it’s hard. Stupid ass questions.”

On Monday morning, the Boomer & Gio morning show on WFAN and CBS Sports Network played audio of Malone providing the response, something that was met with incredulity and surprise in the studio. Update anchor Jerry Recco explained the paradox of these athletes being tired from playing heavy minutes in the playoffs, yet taking the court over the summer anyway rather than resting. Throughout the series against the Timberwolves, three-time NBA most valuable player Nikola Jokić averaged 40.2 minutes per game and star guard Jamal Murray averaged 38.2 minutes per contest, both in the upper echelon among the rest of the league. Even so, Malone emitted choleric towards the season coming to a close.

“I can’t believe Mike Malone would do that,” co-host Boomer Esiason said. “I just can’t believe it. You’re in the NBA freaking Playoffs. You have to play, you have to be tired. I mean, you just have to go – you got to go 100 mph, and you know what, because you’re the defending NBA champions, you got the target on your back. Everybody wants to beat you; everybody wants to give you their best effort. I can’t believe he said a ‘stupid ass question;’ that’s ridiculous.”

Co-host Gregg Giannotti agreed with Esiason’s point of view, especially when Malone has a team and standout player who is expected by many basketball fans to win multiple championships. The Nuggets finished as the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference after hoisting the Larry O’Brien Trophy last year and were considered as a legitimate threat to secure a second consecutive league championship.

“They got embarrassed in this game because they were up 20, ended up losing the game [by] seven at home, and I think he’s grasping at straws and coming up with excuses to cover his own ass for coming up short,” Giannotti said. “That’s really what it is.”

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Rich Shertenlieb: ‘If This Fails, It’s My Name on It, But It’s What I’ve Always Wanted’

“We’re going to complain about the Bruins, we’re going to celebrate the Celtics and analyze the new ‘Road House’ movie like it’s the Zapruder film.”

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Rich Shertenlieb
Courtesy: Rich Shertenlieb on X

After approximately six months off the Boston radio airwaves, Rich Shertenlieb made his long-anticipated return with the launch of his new program, The Rich Shertenlieb Show, on Monday morning on 100.7 WZLX, an iHeartMedia-owned station. Shertenlieb will bring sports and entertainment talk to the classic rock-formatted station on weekday mornings from 6 to 10 a.m. EST, along with an array of co-hosts from various areas in media.

Some of these include former 98.5 The Sports Hub personalities Michael Hurley and Ted Johnson, who were part of the debut episode on Monday. Other contributors include former NFL Network reporter Mike Giardi and former Sports Illustrated reporter Charlotte Wilder, the latter of whom will also continue working as a contributor on Meadowlark Media’s show, The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz.

To open his show on Monday, Shertenlieb expressed how much he had missed talking with listeners in the Boston area and stated that there was a lot to discuss. Additionally, he hinted at the return of popular segments that aired during his time at 98.5 The Sports Hub, some of which include audio from Celtics fans on the street and humorous calls to 9-1-1. Shertenlieb previously worked with Fred Toucher on the popular Toucher & Rich show, which first launched on rock station 104.1 WBCN.

The show moved to 98.5 The Sports Hub upon the launch of the station in 2009 and was frequently on top of the ratings books, building and sustaining a loyal and dedicated audience. Beasley Media Group said in a statement that it had offered Shertenlieb a multi-year contract extension to which he never accepted, and there was apparent ambiguity surrounding his sudden exit from the station.

“Better opportunity, and it’s that easy,” Shertenlieb said in an interview with CBS Boston. “I really liked where I worked – I liked a lot of the people over there – but sometimes you get presented with something as cool as this and you just can’t say ‘No.’ I know that that’s not what people want to hear, but it’s the truth.”

Shertenlieb explained that the program will discuss sports and a variety of other topics, working to build a new on-air product akin to the beginning of his time with 98.5 The Sports Hub. Toucher had previously stated that he believed Shertenlieb should find an opportunity outside of sports radio through which he would be able to demonstrate his penchant for comedy and simply have fun.

Toucher is now hosting morning drive with Rob “Hardy” Poole in morning drive as part of the new Toucher & Hardy show, which made its debut in early January. On WZLX, Shertenlieb, Hurley and a rotation of co-hosts and show contributors will seek to foster a new sound in the Boston marketplace on the classic rock station as a part of morning drive.

“It’s awesome, but you know all the pressure’s on,” Shertenlieb said. “If this fails, it’s my name on it, but you know what, it’s what I’ve always wanted. It’s what I’ve worked my whole career towards, and I’m glad that [W]ZLX and iHeart were able to give it to me.”

There were other opportunities within the process that Shertenlieb was offered, and he may be open to discussing some of them down the road. There had been speculation that he was being considered for an afternoon drive program on WEEI, with several industry professionals predicting that the outcome would render itself a reality. In an interview with Chad Finn of Boston.com, Shertenlieb explained that he considered other opportunities when previously signing contracts with 98.5 The Sports Hub. In launching something new, he is excited to make an impact and construct a new product in the city.

“We’re going to complain about the Bruins, we’re going to celebrate the Celtics and analyze the new ‘Road House’ movie like it’s the Zapruder film,” Shertenlieb said.

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