NRG Media and 1620 The Zone has reunited Gary Sharp and Damon Benning in mornings drive and added Connor Happer to the line-up to host the mid-day slot weekdays from 10a.m. to 2p.m. Both shows debuted on Monday, January 3rd.
Gary and Damon previously hosted the morning show on 1620 The Zone for seven years, before Gary moved into mid-days for the last two years. Damon, a former Nebraska Cornhusker, has been doing mornings on KOZN since October 2012. Now the duo is back together.
Connor Happer joins 1620 The Zone beginning today to host The Connor Happer Show on KOZN. Connor joins the team from 93.7 The Ticket in Lincoln where he hosted in a variety of time slots since 2015. Connor is a native of Omaha and attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
“I’m extremely excited to have Gary and Damon back together hosting our top-rated sports-talk morning show. And adding Connor to the weekday line-up is just icing on the cake,” NRG Media GM Mark Schecterle said in a press release.
Will Dundon is a sports media writer for BSM, and producer for ESPN’s 102.5 The Game in Nashville, TN. Additionally, he hosts the Paydirt Sports podcast. You can find him on Twitter @williedundon or reach him by email at [email protected].
Channing Crowder: I Still Underestimate How Many People Listen to Radio
“We make fun of it like ‘Oh, AM radio’ and this, man, but here are people who when I went to the bathroom, and they’re walking up to me ‘Hey, love the show, man’.”
Even though he’s been in the sports radio game for more than a decade, 560 WQAM’s Channing Crowder admits he still doesn’t appreciate just how many people listen to his show.
While hosting Hochman and Crowder at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino ahead of sports betting going live in Florida, co-host Marc Hochman shared a story that one of the employees at the casino told him he often deals with giant celebrities.
However, despite his dealings with major music and movie stars, the employee was excited to meet Hochman and Greg Cote of The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz.
That led Crowder to admit he often underinflates the size of his daily audience.
“It’s funny, because like, I underestimate, still –12-13 years into radio — how many people listen to radio,” Crowder said. “And it’s funny because we make fun of it like ‘Oh, AM radio’ and this, man, but here are people who when I went to the bathroom, and they’re walking up to me ‘Hey, love the show, man. You and Hochman are hilarious’.”
Crowder has hosted afternoons alongside Hochman on 560 WQAM since 2015 after previously hosting the early afternoon window on the Audacy station. In addition to his radio work, he hosts The Pivot podcast with Ryan Clark and Fred Taylor.
Kevin Burkhardt: Athletes Are Calling Me ‘Lil’ Baby Kay Kay’ After FOX Sports Commercial
“It’s kind of turned into a life of its own.”
Throughout its broadcasts during the National Football League season, FOX Sports has presented a variety of marketing spots meant to promote its NFL on FOX property. Featuring the lead broadcast team of play-by-play announcer Kevin Burkhardt, analyst Greg Olsen, and reporters Erin Andrews and Tom Rinaldi, the commercials have captured the attention of football fans on gameday.
One of the spots features Olsen trying to impersonate FOX NFL Sunday studio analyst Terry Bradshaw by donning a bald cap with white hair and trying out one of his catchphrases in the broadcast booth.
As Kevin Burkhardt appeared on Seattle Sports 710 on Thursday morning’s program featuring Brock Huard and Mike Salk, he was asked about what the filming session for these commercials was like. Salk in particular could not recall a similar instance taking place where the NFL on FOX utilized talent to film these types of commercials. Burkhardt began to explain how the marketing department at FOX Sports came up with the idea and everything was shot over a 13-hour day.
“We had a crew that had done a lot of funny commercials; a director and producer that were great,” Kevin Burkhardt said. “They were just like, ‘Okay, let’s do it this way. Let’s try it this way. KB, can you do it like this?’ So I actually had fun – it was kind of like an opportunity to act for the first time in my life, and it was a blast.”
Salk has enjoyed the promotional endeavor, and he was wondering whether or not there will be more commercials to be unveiled throughout the rest of the year. While Burkhardt revealed that all of the recorded spots have already aired, he did reference a story about one of the earlier commercials. When the NFL on FOX crew was gifted jackets with nicknames on the back, Burkhardt’s read, “Lil’ Baby Kay Kay,” and it is now an epithet that he is being referred to by athletes.
“A month ago, we’re doing a Cowboys game and we get on a Zoom with Dak Prescott and he’s like, ‘Lil’ Baby Kay Kay, what up man?,’” Burkhardt said. “I swear, and I rolled [with it]. It’s kind of turned into a life of its own. I’m glad you guys enjoy it.”
“It’s good,” Salk replied. “You worked really hard to get to the very top of your profession; all the respect that comes with it and now the athletes are calling you Lil’ Baby Kay Kay, so I think it’s good for you. Nice job.”
“It’s amazing,” Burkhardt said. “If you can’t laugh at yourself, what are we doing, right Mike?”
Burkhardt, Olsen, Andrews, and Rinaldi will return to the air this Sunday when the Seattle Seahawks face the San Francisco 49ers on FOX at 4:05 PM ET. The game will feature a quarterback matchup between Geno Smith and Brock Purdy as both teams look to continue making a postseason push.
Matt Vasgersian: Shohei Ohtani Free Agency ‘Should Be Pumped Up’ By Media
“There has to be some urgency here for these clubs to get it done.”
Shohei Ohtani is reportedly close to making a decision about where he will play next season after a free agency process that has been largely hidden from public view. Reports from earlier in the offseason indicated that if teams leak information about negotiations, it would be something to be held against them. This is something that has complicated manners for Matt Vasgersian and other broadcasters to effectively cover the sport, especially this week.
During the Winter Meetings earlier in the week, Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts revealed that the team indeed met with Ohtani. In the process, it helped revived an event that was filled with minor transactions and uncertainty regarding the two-way superstar, considered by many baseball fans to be one of the most talented players to ever step foot onto the field.
MLB Network was among several broadcast networks on-site to cover the event, featuring signature programming such as Hot Stove and MLB Tonight. Matt Vasgersian, who has previously served as a TV play-by-play announcer for the Los Angeles Angels, appeared on AM 570 LA Sports on Thursday afternoon with Petros Papadakis and Matt “Money” Smith where he recalled how the event went.
Papadakis specifically asked Vasgersian whether or not he felt Ohtani was holding the broadcast coverage hostage because of the stoppage that his free agency has put on other sectors of the overall marketplace.
“What it did for me is it kind of furthered the need for at least more conversation about like [what] the NBA has [in] just [having] a signing period,” Vasgersian said. “Like, ‘Look, Major League Baseball teams, if you don’t get your business done by the end of business hours on the final day of the Winter Meetings, you either get hit with a tax or we’re going to freeze you out for two-and-a-half months.’ There has to be some urgency here for these clubs to get it done.”
While Ohtani was among the most intriguing topics at the Winter Meetings, the conversation with him between team executives and reporters was quite minimal. On numerous occasions, officials stopped short of mentioning him by name and instead spoke in vague terms about everything going on.
“The Ohtani thing should be pumped up,” Matt Vasgersian said. “I’m not saying Jim Gray-LeBron [James] ‘Decision’-style, but there’s got to be a little sizzle around the biggest international star in our sport – maybe any sport – and we’re allowing the agent to completely hamstring the process and dictate who and when we get conversations with him.”
Vasgersian is grateful for what Roberts did at the Winter Meetings, choosing to be honest about what was going on rather than concealing details about the negotiations. These comments proved valuable in Winter Meetings coverage, as it led to further discussion and conversation on broadcast networks and conjecture from print reporters about his whereabouts. The lack of a conversation, however, is something that some people feel is just the opposite of what baseball needs as it tries to appeal to a younger demographic.
“I felt your pain,” Smith said. “I felt the pain of baseball not being able to celebrate the most exciting player that it’s seen in 50 years.”
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