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Steve Somers Signs Off At WFAN For Final Time

“WFAN began 34 years ago, and Somers has been there every step of the way, a consistent lighthouse guiding nighttime listeners in the city that never sleeps.”

Russ Heltman

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Courtesy: WFAN

Steve Somers signed off of WFAN late nights for the final time on Friday night, and he said one final goodbye on Monday from 1-2 p.m. ET.

WFAN began 34 years ago, and Somers has been there every step of the way, a consistent lighthouse guiding nighttime listeners in the city that never sleeps. ESPN Monday Night Football play-by-play voice Steve Levy paid tribute to his old friend. 

“I just wanted to thank you for how you treated me when I was so young and knew nothing,” Levy said as he called into Somers’ final hour. “You taught a lot of people about the industry. How to respect your audience, how you treated them, and the last thank you, Steve. You were a piece of the success in the first-ever all-sports radio station in the country.”

Levy got his start in the industry doing score updates on WFAN. He parlayed that into success at ESPN and the eventual MNF gig.

“I travel around a lot now,” Levy continued. “You see these all-sports radio stations, and they go to network programming at night, and it’s awful. You need the local flavor. You were one of us.”

Chris “Mad Dog” Russo couldn’t wait to give Somers his praise. Russo chatted with Somers during his final scheduled show this past Friday.

“Yours is a little different because I was gonna still work,” Russo said about his transition from WFAN. “I was just gonna do it in a different venue and look for a new challenge. You’re gonna go into a retirement scenario where you can do whatever you want. You can wake up at 2:00 in the afternoon…go see a movie, you can do anything you want. For the first time in your life, you’re not constrained to a time schedule.

“Your situation is more about making the adjustment to keeping busy and keeping your mind active when you don’t have a place to hang your hat every day. For anybody that’s worked as hard as you have for as long as you have, that’s probably an adjustment that’s going to take a little while.”

Before taking the airwaves for one final sendoff thanks to Marc Malusis and Maggie Gray stepping aside to let the Schmoozer connect with fans and special guests from 1pm-2pm ET, Somers was honored by the radio station. In a video posted to social media, Gregg Giannotti and Craig Carton thanked the longtime WFAN host for being a class act, great teammate, and leaving an unforgettable mark on the radio station and industry. The station announced the break room inside the building would be renamed in Somers’ honor.

For his final hour, Somers welcomed longtime friend and nationally recognized comedian Jerry Seinfeld to the show, as well as WFAN’s longtime afternoon show staple Mike Francesa. Additional appearances were made by former New York Yankee Bernie Williams, and WFAN past and present members such as Mark Chernoff, Eddie Scozzare, Rich Ackerman, and Paul Arzooman who Somers credited for some of the exceptional production which had been done for his show. John Minko also returned to reunite with his longtime friend and colleague.

Seinfeld told Somers during their on-air discussion he was one of the greatest sports voices in New York. He then thanked Steve on behalf of all NY sports fans who enjoyed his rhythms, humor, and humanity. Seinfeld concluded by telling Somers ‘Nobody put the work into openings like you did.”

During his chat with Francesa, the former afternoon king told Somers he was ‘as big a part of it as anyone who has ever stepped through the doors.’ Francesa praised the impact Somers made on the station to which Somers added afterwards ‘I’m surprised Mike didn’t refer to me as a compiler for lasting 34 years.’

Upon signing off, Somers mentioned that the attention has been overwhelming, and some could make the argument that it’s been over the top, but it’s been absolutely appreciated. He thanked the audience for making the last 34 years, the happiest of his life.

Sports Radio News

Jonathan Zaslow No Longer With WQAM

An attempt to reach out to Zaslow for comment went unanswered.

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WQAM midday host Jonathan Zaslow is no longer with WQAM in Miami.

The radio station has removed his show from the website and references to him and his normal 10a-2p ET midday timeslot program have been scrubbed from the station website.

Zaslow tweeted at 5:19p ET confirming the news.

Whether or not this has any effect on his involvement with the Miami Heat broadcasts is unknown as of now.

Zaslow had been with 790 the Ticket since 2004. He was transitioned from Audacy-owned 790 to sister station AM 560 Sports WQAM last October. During his tenure he has worked with a number of established local voices including Joy Taylor, Amber Wilson, Brett Romberg, and Brendan Tobin amongst others.

WQAM has gone thru a number of changes, including a rebranding effort to call the station “560 The Joe”. That ended last year with the station returning to the AM 560 Sports WQAM brand listeners were more familiar with. What they have planned next in Zaslow’s timeslot is unclear but local listeners will likely get some answers next week.

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Sports Radio News

Vanessa Richardson Named Houston Rockets Sideline Reporter, Paul Gallant to Host Solo on ESPN 97.5

Vanessa Richardson will be on the sidelines for the Houston Rockets and Paul Gallant will host solo show on ESPN 97.5.

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Vanessa and Gallant

Changes are taking place in Houston sports media. First, the Houston Rockets will have a new television sideline reporter this season, and she’s a familiar name to Houston sports fans.

Vanessa Richardson, the now former co-host of ESPN 97.5’s Vanessa and Gallant, revealed that she will be on the sidelines for the NBA franchise covering the team for AT&T SportsNet Southwest.

She tweeted the news saying, “Elated to be the new Houston Rockets sideline reporter! I can’t wait to travel the country & share the stories of this dynamic team during 80+ games on AT&T SportsNet Southwest. I’ll continue to fill-in as a host/reporter for Astros broadcasts as well.”

Richardson’s co-host, Paul Gallant, tweeted that with Richardson leaving the show for the Rockets sideline gig, Vanessa and Gallant will become the Paul Gallant Show. The solo show led by Gallant begins Monday September 26th.

“We’re excited to have Paul host his own show”, said Todd Farquharson, General Manager of ESPN 97.5 & 92.5.  “He’s super creative, energetic, and likeable.  He’ll get the audience involved and have fun.”

Paul commented, “You know what I’ve always loved about sports talk radio?  That it’s interactive.  Whether through a phone call, text message, tweet or on Twitch, it’s the best place for sports fans to come together and celebrate…or vent.  And that’s what The Paul Gallant Show is going to be…Houston’s platform to talk about its teams. THE most interactive sports talk show in Houston.”

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Sports Radio News

Ken Carman: Al Michaels ‘Feels Untethered’ On Amazon Prime Video

“The thing that stuck out was Kirk Herbstreit ripping the elf,” said Carman. “Don’t be ripping Brownie the Elf, man.”

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The Cleveland Browns defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers during Thursday Night Football on Amazon Prime Video. 92.3 The Fan morning host Ken Carman applauded Al Michaels for his performance during the presentation.

“Al Michaels feels untethered for the first time. He’s not network television anymore and he can say whatever he wants. We interviewed him on the pregame show and I was nervous,” Carman said.

“He’s a legend,” co-host Anthony Lima added.

During the final play of the game, the Steelers fumbled a lateral into the endzone which the Browns recovered to make the final score 29-17. Michaels said “that may be meaningful to some of you. And you know who I mean”, alluding to people who had placed wagers on the game.

Carman, who hosts two-hours of pre-game coverage on the Browns Radio Network, continued to discuss how nervous he was interviewing Michaels. He also discussed how impressive Amazon’s behind-the-scenes production was, pointing out the only football broadcast with more cameras is the Super Bowl. More than 400 people work behind the scenes for Amazon Prime Video.

“The thing that stuck out was Kirk Herbstreit ripping the elf,” said Carman. “Don’t be ripping Brownie the Elf, man.”

Carman later said people angry that Michaels misspoke by saying the Pro Football Hall of Fame is “down I-71” instead of I-77 were unreasonable, and joked “Al Michaels hasn’t been on a highway in 20 years”.

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