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Damon Amendolara: Steve Somers Has ‘Some Legacy’

“The CBS Sports Radio host admired Somers’s ability to listen.”

Russ Heltman

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Folks in the radio business felt Steve Somers’s influence far and wide over his 34 years at WFAN. CBS Sports Radio host Damon Amendolara penned a tribute piece to “Captain Midnight” and highlighted the banter they shared.

“I worked overnights at the beginning of CBS Sports Radio’s existence in 2013, and moved to evenings two years later,” Amendolara wrote. “We shared a floor and neighboring studios with WFAN. For those four-plus years, I got to stand around and kibitz with Steve before shows. Sure, we could’ve talked sports, but we’d be doing that anyway, as soon as the red light turned on. So, we usually chatted about radio; the headaches, the beauty, and what makes the medium so imperfectly perfect.”

There has never been a voice like Steve Somers, a unique sounding instrument that Amendolara made sure to highlight in his ode to the retired late-night host.

“Better known as ‘The Schmooze,’ Steve’s voice is like New York rain dripping off an awning,” Amendolara described. “When you flipped on the FAN at night, it sounded like a guy chatting at Katz’s over a pile of pastrami on rye. He has that Big Apple hybrid dialect of a thousand ethnic backgrounds — his ‘awls’ and ‘tawk’ and ‘WHAT IS IT ALREADY?’ punctuating every sentence. If Batman was Gotham, he’d be Commissioner Gordon’s sounding board at the Gotham Diner. ‘Oy, the Bane and the Riddler and the noise and the chaos… WHAT IS IT ALREADY?’ There’s Steve, grabbing a pack of Camels and the New York Post from the corner bodega, lamenting over another Mets calamity.”

The CBS Sports Radio host admired Somers’s ability to listen. He zoomed in on the fact that Somers never lost his touch with the audience.

“Steve treated his listeners like gold, as though he couldn’t believe they would even care enough to call. He knew not to take himself too seriously. And he realized this is only sports, so don’t get too worked up over being right. I wish our industry did all of those things better. Thirty-four years on the air in one place is an extraordinary accomplishment unto itself, but also leaving everyone you ever spoke to feeling appreciated? Man, that’s some legacy.”

Check out Amendolara’s full tribute piece to “Captain Midnight” here.

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.

Barry Jackson, a veteran journalist with the Miami Herald, reports that 790 The Ticket morning hosts Brendan Tobin and Leroy Hoard will move to that 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. WQAM slot during the week of Oct. 3.

In more station movement, Joe Rose’s WQAM morning show with Zach Krantz now will be simulcast on The Ticket, replacing the Tobin/Hoard program. Audacy, which owns both WQAM and The Ticket, also simulcast Marc Hochman’s and Channing Crowder’s afternoon show.

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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