After three years as play-by-play voice for the New Orleans Saints Radio Network and their flagship WWL, Zach Strief is leaving the broadcast booth and returning to the field.
Strief recently announced he’s joining the Saints as their assistant offensive line coach. He played 12-years with the Saints, serving as a starter for more than half of his career and helping the team to a Super Bowl championship during the 2009 season.
In 2018, Strief took an unprecedented route, retiring from football and joining the Saints Radio Network as their play-by-play voice despite having no experience. The unlikely hire was tasked with replacing Jim Henderson, who’s voice became synonymous with the Saints after more than 30 years on their radio call. Now, the 37-year-old retired offensive lineman is set to take another job that he has no experience with: coaching.
“Up until five weeks ago, if you’d asked me if I’d ever make this change, I would have said ‘never,’” Strief told WWL radio according to NOLA.com. “It’s been an interesting few weeks getting to the realization.”
Not lost on Strief was how unusual his path to broadcasting was, landing a play-by-play job that other professional broadcasters spend decades trying to achieve.
“Announcing Saints games was every bit as exciting and challenging as I thought it would be,” Strief said in a press release. “So many people stuck their neck out to give me this chance, none more so than Diane Newman (WWL brand manager). My hope on the first day was that I would validate the faith that she placed in me. She trusted that I would learn the broadcasting business and grow in the profession.”
Entercom now begins their search to fill the void left by Strief and find the next radio play-by-play voice of the Saints. The company said they’re looking for someone who can provide professional play calls with personality and insight to the broadcast. But if Strief is any precedent, one requirement that might not be necessary is experience.
Brandon Contes is a former reporter for BSM, now working for Awful Announcing. You can find him on Twitter @BrandonContes or reach him by email at Brandon.Contes@gmail.com.
Jeff Thurn To Exit ESPN Sioux Falls To Join ESPN Radio
“I get to stay here and do it from here. Who gets to radio from Sioux Falls on a national level?”
ESPN Sioux Falls host Jeff Thurn will depart the station for a new national position with ESPN Radio.
The host of Overtime from 11:00 AM-2:00 PM on ESPN Sioux Falls, Thurn has been with the station for more than a decade.
Thurn thanked executives at Results Radio — owner of ESPN Sioux Falls — as well as listeners and guests for being so supportive during his tenure with the show and station during a thread posted to Twitter.
Thurn joined ESPN Radio as a fill-in host in February of last year.
“I’m so pumped to get to go out there and do something on a national level,” Thurn told Dakota News Now last year. “I get to stay here and do it from here. Who gets to radio from Sioux Falls on a national level? I think it’s really cool just growing up here, having that opportunity, to now do that on ESPN Radio throughout 2022…that’s pretty cool for me personally.”
His final show on ESPN Sioux Falls will be on Friday, February 3rd.
Craig Carton: Adam Schefter Was Used By the Broncos
“Based on other stories that have come out — that we now know as a fact — he’s willing to be a mouthpiece for a team.”
Tuesday was a frenzy for NFL insiders as the Denver Broncos and Houston Texans nearly simultaneously announced the hiring of new head coaches, and WFAN host Craig Carton believes one NFL insider was used.
Reporting from NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport at 4:44 PM ET claimed the Broncos tried to hire DeMeco Ryans — who was hired by the Texans — at the last minute, but was rebuffed, and Denver hired Sean Payton instead.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter — in no uncertain terms — refuted the validity of that report at 4:55 PM ET.
Carton believes Schefter was used by the franchise to help with damage control.
“So here’s the deal: Adam Schefter — many, many years ago — used to write for The Denver Post, and he covered the Denver Broncos,” Carton said. “He is clearly — to his credit – getting his information directly from the Denver Broncos who figure that that story from Ian Rapoport — and it is — is somewhat embarrassing…the fact that it’s out there is a bad look.
“So they go to Schefter who, along with Rapoport — the two voices of record as insiders — and they say ‘Nonsense. Put out there that that’s nonsense’. Rapoport’s getting his information DeMeco or his agent, saying “Naw, naw, no. He had choices. He could have gone to Houston, he could have gone to Denver. Obviously, the Texans sweetened the deal’.”
“Schefter’s getting his info from the Broncos, who are doing damage control,” co-host Evan Roberts concurred.
“Schefter’s great at what he does, I’m not saying that he’s not,” Carton continued. “But based on other stories that have come out — that we now know as a fact — he’s willing to be a mouthpiece for a team — namely Washington — and again, he’s great at what he does. I wanna be clear at how I state this, he’s great at what he does, but it’s obvious that the Broncos are trying to spin this, and they’re using Schefter to spin it.”
Roberts added that the situation was similar to that of NBA Insiders Adrian Wojnarowski and Shams Charania, where Wojnarowski “speaks for front offices, where Shams gets his info from players and agents”.
K&C Masterpiece: Cowboys Could Add 30 Million More Viewers To Super Bowl
“The Cowboys in the Super Bowl against the Chiefs would’ve shattered all viewership ratings.”
The matchup in this year’s Super Bowl is set, and the game will undoubtedly be the most-viewed program on TV this year. But if the Dallas Cowboys were taking part in the game, it’s safe to say the ratings would be astronomical.
The Cowboys divisional playoff game against San Francisco drew 45.7 million viewers. It was the second-most watched divisional round contest on record.
The NFC championship between San Francisco and Philadelphia drew 47.5 million.
On 105.3 The Fan in Dallas, K&C Masterpiece host Kevin Hageland said had the Cowboys made it to Philly, the viewership would’ve been even better.
“I know the game sucked, but that just shows you, because the Cowboys were like almost 8 million above every other divisional game, this could’ve gotten to 58 (million),” Hageland said.
Kevin added that if Dallas had gone all the way, the audience tuning in would’ve easily eclipsed some of the highest-rated programs of all-time.
“The Cowboys in the Super Bowl against the Chiefs would’ve shattered all viewership ratings,” he said. “Even with the new system and so many people streaming and everything like that.”
Usually the Super Bowl averages around 100 million viewers. Hageland said a Cowboys Super Bowl appearance in this day and age would’ve set the new top ratings mark for years to come.
“My estimation would be you would add approximately an extra 30 million people,” he said.
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. He works full-time as a multimedia specialist at the Virginia State Corporation Commission, while also putting in part-time work for News Radio WRVA and 910 The Fan in Richmond. Additionally, you can find Jordan contributing coverage of the Washington Capitals for the blog NoVa Caps. His prior media experiences include working for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Danville Register & Bee, Virginia Lawyers Weekly and ABC 8News. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.