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Ben & Woods Pay Tribute To Norm Macdonald

“He could sit up there in front of an audience [when] no one was laughing, and he loved every second of it,” said Ben Higgins.

Derek Futterman

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Instead of talking about the San Diego Padres’ recent slide from the National League Wild Card race, Ben & Woods on 97.3 The Fan in San Diego took time on Wednesday morning to honor the legacy of Norm Macdonald. The 61-year-old comedian and former anchor of Weekend Update on Saturday Night Live lost his battle with cancer Tuesday, one that he very much kept concealed from public view.

“He could sit up there in front of an audience [when] no one was laughing, and he loved every second of it,” said Ben Higgins, co-host of Ben & Woods. “We were just commenting on how it’s so rare where, even the three of us, can agree on someone.”

Macdonald was fired from Saturday Night Live in 1998 after he refused to stop mentioning the court case wherein former NFL player and color commentator O.J. Simpson was arraigned and found not guilty for the murder of his ex-wife and her friend. The San Diego sports radio morning show played several clips of Macdonald discussing Simpson on Weekend Update, which had both hosts and producer Paul Reindl laughing.

“The L.A. district attorney’s office has given Marcia Clark and Christopher Darden… over 10,000 dollars for ‘lengthy hard-time duty’ in the O.J. Simpson case,” said Macdonald in the clip from Saturday Night Live. “A spokesman for the D.A. said the prosecutor’s bonuses would have been higher, except for the fact that they let a killer go free.”

The other host of the show, Steven Woods, admired the audacity Macdonald possessed in discussing controversial topics such as the highly-publicized court case.

“Honestly, he didn’t care. If he lost a gig, he’d get another gig,” said Woods. “If I said something offensive and lost this job, it would kill me. He was like, ‘I know what I have. I know who I am. I know my humor plays.’ He gave the Saturday Night Live job away for the sake of his comedy.”

Additionally, Woods reminisced on some of the guest appearances of Macdonald on The Howard Stern Show, extolling his innate ability to comedically discuss uncomfortable topics across the world of sports, news and entertainment.

“His appearances on Stern were through the roof. I’ve always loved that uncomfortable humor. I couldn’t take a sleeve of note cards out and read deliberately bad jokes.”

In a tweet, Conan O’Brien, the former host of Conan on TBS, conveyed the impact Macdonald had on the worlds of both comedy and mediated communications.

“I am absolutely devastated about Norm Macdonald,” said O’Brien, who hosted over 1,500 episodes of his late night talk show. “Norm had the most unique comedic voice I have ever encountered and he was so relentlessly and uncompromisingly funny. I will never laugh that hard again. I’m so sad for all of us today.”

Macdonald’s ingenuity in setting up and delivering the punchline of jokes that would get the viewer or listener laughing was something Woods called unique. In reference to a particularly memorable joke told by Macdonald, Woods discussed how guests are managed when appearing on radio or television. In his discussion, he expressed how it is often emphasized to callers and on-air hosts alike to get to their point as quickly as possible to keep the show moving. For Macdonald though, that punchline often took quite a bit of time to get to, something Woods said was always worth the wait.

“We do radio. We have a clock. We’ve got a little room to stretch, [but] TV shows have a much tighter clock,” explained Woods. “But even when Ben, me, Paul or a caller calls in and tells a story, you see me going ‘Let’s go. Let’s go. We’ve got to wrap it up. Let’s get to the meat.’ [Macdonald] goes on with [a] story for five minutes and the punch-line is so corny and dad-jokey, I had tears rolling down my face. The build-up for the payoff is the joke.”

The discussion concluded with both Higgins and Woods offering their final thoughts on the loss of Macdonald, who transformed his industry through his style of dry humor both on television as an update anchor on Saturday Night Live, and as a stand-up comedian.

“He didn’t want people to think differently of him or show pity towards him,” said Woods. “I think his longtime publicist and friend who was with him when he passed away said, ‘He just wanted to be Norm. He didn’t want people to be like, ‘Oh that’s Norm. He’s so funny and he’s dying, fighting this battle with cancer.’’ He was that committed to getting through it and not wanting anybody’s attention or adulation for anything other than his comedy. I think he legitimately didn’t want to make people sad, ever.”

“What’s really sad is that he could have had another 30 years being funny, deep into his later years,” expressed Higgins. “What a comedy legend that left us way too early yesterday.”

Sports Radio News

FOX Sports Radio Broadcasting Live From Arizona & Las Vegas For Super Bowl Week

Jordan Bondurant

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Sports radio will descend upon Glendale, Arizona and the greater Phoenix area next week for Super Bowl LVII, and FOX Sports Radio will be out in full force.

FOX Sports Radio announced Thursday that Dan Patrick, Colin Cowherd, LaVar Arrington, Brady Quinn, Jonas Knox, Doug Gottlieb, Steve Covino, Rich Davis, Chris Broussard and Rob Parker will all be live from either radio row, State Farm Stadium or Scottsdale Stadium starting Monday.

Dan Patrick and his crew will be at Scottsdale Stadium, which is the spring training home of the San Francisco Giants and the Scottsdale Scorpions of the Arizona Fall League. Colin Cowherd will broadcast two shows from State Farm Stadium, site of this year’s Super Bowl, on Thursday and Friday.

The rest of the FSR names mentioned above will all be doing their respective shows from radio row at the Phoenix Convention Center.

FOX Sports Radio also announced Jason Smith and Mike Harmon will broadcast from the Wynn Las Vegas resort on Thursday and Friday. They will have a strong focus on all things betting with regards to the Super Bowl.

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Sports Radio News

Alpha Media Ends San Antonio Sports Star Simulcast, 1250 AM Goes All ESPN Radio

“Alpha launched Sports Star on 94.1 back in June of last year, giving San Antonio its first FM sports talk station.”

Jordan Bondurant

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San Antonio now has a frequency where people can find local sports talk and the full ESPN Radio lineup.

RadioInsight reported owner Alpha Media has tweaked what was on 1250 AM, launching it as ESPN 1250. The station will be San Antonio’s 24/7/365 home for ESPN Radio. That will include NBA, NFL and MLB play-by-play on top of talk.

San Antonio’s Sports Star had been simulcasting on 1250, but Alpha will carry on with live and local programming on the stronger FM frequency. Alpha launched Sports Star on 94.1 back in June of last year, giving San Antonio its first FM sports talk station.

Sports Star is the home of the Dallas Cowboys and Texas Rangers in San Antonio.

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Sports Radio News

ESPN Radio 94.1 Sells Station Naming Rights To Priority Automotive Group

“The programming on the station does not change.”

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Max Media has found an interesting new revenue stream in Virginia Beach. ESPN Radio 94.1 has sold its naming rights. The station has rebranded as Priority Auto Sports Radio 94.1 ESPN.

“This is an important partnership for us,” said Priority Automotive COO Matt Elmer. “At Priority Automotive we think sports ties everyone together, so this is a great opportunity for us to be a voice in the community and partner with the number one voice for sports in Hampton Roads, ESPN 94.1.”

The programming on the station does not change. Listeners in the 757 will still hear the nationally syndicated ESPN Radio lineup except for in afternoon drive when The Tim Donnelly Show is on the air.

“The partnership between ESPN 94.1 and Priority Automotive is a natural evolution for both companies,” President and Market Manager Keith Barton added. “From the many youth organizations to college teams, Priority Automotive Has been dedicated to sports in Hampton Roads for decades. Max Media is incredibly proud to be partnered with such a class organization.”

Priority Automotive owns 17 car dealerships across Virginia.

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