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Jeff Passan Calls Out WFAN For Criticizing Jared Porter Report

“A lot of people on social media assumed Passan’s rant was in reference to Kay’s direct competition on WFAN, Craig Carton and Evan Roberts.”

Brandon Contes

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On Tuesday, Jeff Passan joined ESPN New York’s The Michael Kay Show to discuss the bombshell report he co-wrote with Mina Kimes, which detailed a sexual harassment incident by Mets general manager Jared Porter.

Passan’s first order of business in the interview was to chastise 98.7 ESPN New York’s competition, and the local radio station he used to frequent, WFAN.

“There’s another radio station in New York that’s been pretty damn irresponsible today about its coverage of this and I hate giving them any shine because they don’t deserve it, but the notion that ESPN has been sitting on this story since 2017 is the most giant load of irresponsible garbage that I’ve heard in a longtime,” Passan said to open the interview.

To clarify, ESPN did receive the information in 2017, but Passan doesn’t believe that means they were “sitting” on the story for four years.

“We have duties as journalists to protect our sources,” Passan continued. “And to look after the people that give us the stories that we get to tell. It is their story, it is not ours.”

WFAN midday producer Brian Monzo seemingly disagreed. 

https://twitter.com/BMonzoRadio/status/1351544962362568705

Monzo wasn’t alone, many people similarly wondered why ESPN held the information for years, even after learning it was done at the victim’s request. But the meat of the story is inarguable. Every person with any form of rational moralities agrees what Porter did was reprehensible. Which means if you want to debate an aspect of the story, the easiest thing to do is question its timeline.

A lot of people on social media assumed Passan’s rant was in reference to Kay’s direct competition on WFAN, Craig Carton and Evan Roberts. While Carton did say the timing of ESPN releasing the story was an interesting layer to the overall incident, he also defended their decision. 

“ESPN does not have a responsibility to report [the story] when you want it to be reported,” Carton said during the first segment of WFAN’s afternoon show on Tuesday.

Carton also did not dispute the validity of the victim being uncomfortable with ESPN running the story at any point in recent years. But what Carton did assume is that ESPN didn’t first gain her permission to run the story on Monday. Carton this morning took to Twitter to further explain his position.

Unaware of when ESPN ultimately received permission to release the damning information, Carton pointed out that Passan didn’t release the story when Porter was being considered as the Mets GM, or after he completed the trade for Francisco Lindor. Instead, Carton said ESPN released the bombshell report “out of the blue, in a slow news week for baseball.”

According to Passan, he was unaware of the information ESPN held on Porter. It was a report his colleague Mina Kimes was working on and he was only briefed recently.

Ultimately, Carton doesn’t believe the timing really mattered because it’s a side note to the actual information presented in the story. But to Passan, who doesn’t want his journalistic ethics questioned in any way, it did matter.

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ESPN 97.5 in Houston Announces New Lineup

“The station had to make some very tough & unfortunate economic decisions last week.”

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ESPN Houston

ESPN 97.5 in Houston announced they will have a new lineup starting Monday Feb. 26. The drive time slots will continue to feature John Granato and Lance Zierlein in mornings and The Killer B’s, Jeremy Branham and Joel Blank, in the afternoon.

In between the two shows will now have The Del Olaleye Show airing from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. followed by Gallant and George with Paul Gallant, who had been hosting the early midday slot previously and Joe George, the station’s Assistant Program Director.

Earlier this week, Josh Beard and Michael Connor confirmed they had been let go from the station after being in the midday slot for just six months. George posted on X at the time, “So here’s the deal. The station had to make some very tough & unfortunate economic decisions last week. It has nothing to do with the quality of their show and work they did. Programming on the station will be weird this week, then back to fully local from 7 am – 6 pm on 2/26.”

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Former Toronto Blue Jays Announcer Ben Wagner Named to Baltimore Orioles Broadcast Team

A release from the Blue Jays says Wagner will appear on radio and select television broadcasts throughout the year.

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Ben Wagner
Courtesy: Ben Wagner on Instagram

The Baltimore Orioles announced the club’s broadcast talent lineup for the 2024 season, which includes former Toronto Blue Jays announcer Ben Wagner. Wagner had served as the radio voice of the Blue Jays for the last six seasons before Sportsnet announced it decided not to renew his contract. Prior to joining the Blue Jays broadcast team, Wagner spent 11 seasons with Toronto’s Triple-A affiliate, the Buffalo Bisons. A release from the Orioles says Wagner will appear on radio and select television broadcasts throughout the year.

The Orioles will continue to use guest analysts throughout the season, including Orioles Hall of Famers Mike Devereaux and Brian Roberts, as well as former Orioles Brad Brach and Dave Johnson.

Geoff Arnold will return for his fifth season with the Orioles broadcast team and will be the primary play-by-play announcer. Kevin Brown will be in his third season as the primary television play-by-play announcer for MASN.

Other team members for the 2024 season include Scott Garceau, Brett Hollander, Rob Long, Ben McDonald, Melanie Newman and Hall of Famer Jim Palmer, who will be in his 32nd season as an analyst and 61st year as a member of the Orioles organization.

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Fred Toucher: ‘I Would Feel Weird’ if Rich Shertenlieb Reached Out to Me

“Even if it was nice, I wouldn’t like it, so if he’s listening, don’t reach out to me.”

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Fred Toucher
Courtesy: Beasley Media Group

Fred Toucher is in the midst of co-hosting a new morning program on 98.5 The Sports Hub with Rob “Hardy” Poole. The Toucher & Hardy show made its premiere in January following the end of a 17-year run in which he worked alongside Rich Shertenlieb. Last November, Shertenlieb parted ways with the outlet that elicited questions and nostalgia from listeners, some of which continue to persist on the new program.

On Friday’s edition of the program, a caller asked Toucher about the last time he spoke to Shertenlieb and if there was still communication between them. The duo started hosting their radio program together at rock radio station WBCN-FM before making the move to the sports talk format with 98.5 The Sports Hub (WBZ-FM) for its launch in the summer of 2009. The caller wanted to specifically hear a “juicy story” and apologized if his broaching the topic was “a forbidden path.”

“I have not talked to Rich,” Toucher said. “I told you I got the text message the Saturday after they didn’t put him on the air anymore, and I haven’t talked to him.”

Toucher wondered who among former members of the Toucher & Rich program had heard from Shertenlieb, leading him to go around the studio and ask. Update anchor Jon Wallach revealed that Shertenlieb texted him on Thanksgiving Day to discuss how the music group Bell Biv DeVoe was performing, but he has not heard from him since. None of the others in the studio had heard from Shertenlieb in a considerable amount of time either.

“None of us were really friends with him so I don’t know what to tell you,” Toucher replied to the caller. “I wasn’t friends with him; I didn’t talk to him, so it’s not odd that I don’t talk to him.”

Toucher then began to hypothesize what would happen if Shertenlieb were to reach out to him. As he thought over such a potential occurrence, he realized that he would have a feeling in his stomach and get anxiety. He did concede, however, that if someone paid him a large sum of money to appear somewhere with Shertenlieb, he would do the 10 seconds.

“I would feel weird; I wouldn’t enjoy the process,” Toucher said. “Even if it was nice, I wouldn’t like it, so if he’s listening, don’t reach out to me. You’d make me incredibly uncomfortable. Just don’t do it.”

In thinking about the potential nostalgia from Toucher & Rich, the program briefly mentioned Christopher “Mad Dog” Russo and his relationship with former co-host Mike Francesa. Toucher believes that Russo is doing fine without Francesa, a sentiment Wallach concurred. Wallach also shared that he feels Russo is doing better after Mike and the Mad Dog than Francesa.

Russo hosts a SiriusXM program on the Mad Dog Sports Radio channel named after him, in addition to High Heat on MLB Network and a weekly appearance on ESPN’s First Take. The split between both shows elicited interest from the listening public, something Toucher completely understands because of the unique facets of radio.

“People consume you 20 hours a week or they conceivably could, so when there’s any change, your immediate reaction to it, even though it hasn’t been bad, a lot of people if you listen to an old thing all the time it’s going to be strange to you, a new thing, or when a component of it is missing,” Toucher explained, “even if it’s better than it was, which I contend Toucher & Hardy over the last three weeks is better than Toucher & Rich was in 2023 and 2022 certainly.”

The segment concluded with Toucher proclaiming that he had answered the question and now will not have to entertain it again. “I have no idea what he’s doing and no one I know does, and no one I know has seen him,” Toucher said. “I haven’t even had a listener email me and go, ‘I saw him.’”

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