As Troy Aikman’s contract with Fox is set to expire at the conclusion of the NFL Playoffs, the color analyst and former Dallas Cowboys quarterback is undoubtedly a highly sought-after free agent in sports media.
While Aikman has not ruled out a return to Fox, he recently suggested there is a chance Sunday’s NFC Championship game between the San Francisco 49ers and Los Angeles Rams could be his final matchup in the Fox booth. There’s a possibility that Aikman could leave Fox to call games exclusively on Amazon’s new Thursday Night Football package with Al Michaels, the current play-by-play announcer on NBC Sunday Night Football. If Aikman were to leave Fox, the question then becomes who would be his replacement as Joe Buck’s new broadcast partner.
On Friday morning, The Mac Attack‘s Chris McClain and Travis Hancock spoke on the NFL playoffs and Carolina Panthers’ offseason with former NFL tight end Greg Olsen on WFNZ 610 AM in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Olsen started working as a Fox NFL color analyst full-time this season after occasionally calling games while an active player for the Panthers. Since going into broadcasting following his retirement from football in 2020, Olsen has received positive reviews. According to McClain and Hancock, he could be an ideal choice to join Buck in the booth.
“Olsen could end up somewhere in a front office down the line, but he’s doing a phenomenal job in TV,” said Hancock. “With the way he explains stuff [and] the way he talks [about] the game, if Troy Aikman does leave for Amazon and doesn’t do the Amazon-Fox double, Greg Olsen’s a natural number one with Joe Buck as well. I know that [Sean] Payton’s been named, but come on – Greg Olsen could very easily be their number one.”
Olsen has respect for Payton, who stepped down as head coach of the New Orleans Saints earlier this week and is reportedly contemplating an entry into sports media, whether in radio or television, in studio or in the booth. At the moment, Payton is not sure what is next for his football career, but Olsen knows from his experience playing against him that he was a savant of the game.
“I obviously had a lot of respect for his football mind and what he was able to do with those guys there,” said Olsen. “I understand from a fan standpoint, you always hate whoever you feel like is your enemy, but from the field I always liked competing against guys like that because they brought a good energy to the game.”
Olsen also talked about not being able to call any playoff games this year for Fox due to the way the schedule of broadcasting rights fell. Despite this, he looks forward to being on the mic for the big games down the road as his career in sports media continues.
“I’ve been sitting there watching every other network call multiple games,” explained Olsen. “Those are the games everybody wants. You want the marquee primetime night games during the regular season. You want playoff games. You want games that matter. That’s what every broadcaster really wants.”
Jeff Rickard Named Program Director of WFNZ in Charlotte
“After our first conversation I knew Jeff was the one to take us to the next level.”
Jeff Rickard is headed to Charlotte. The sports radio veteran has been named the new program director of WFNZ, one of the Southeast’s premier sports radio brands.
Rickard replaces Terry Foxx who announced in February that he was leaving Charlotte to take over KUT in Austin.
“We are committed to making sports radio even bigger in Charlotte, adding the 92.7 FM signal in March was just the beginning of that commitment,” Marsha Landess, Regional Vice President of Radio One, said in a press release. “Having a successful veteran like Jeff Rickard join our team will help take us to the level that a passionate sports city like Charlotte deserves. Jeff brings to WFNZ extensive sports experience, talent, drive, and a passion for success. He will be a great complement to our incredibly talented local Charlotte on-air team. After our first conversation I knew he was the one to take us to the next level. As the flagship station for the Charlotte Hornets as well as Charlotte FC we are looking forward to an incredibly successful future with Jeff leading the charge.”
Rickard’s resume in sports radio speaks for itself. He was most recently the brand manager at WEEI in Boston, a role he exited in January. Prior to that, he spent six years at 107.5 The Fan in Indianapolis serving as both a weekday host and the station’s program director. He has also worked nationally for ESPN Radio, FOX Sports Radio, and SiriusXM, and spent time during the early part of his career working in Denver and Salt Lake City.
“I had been planning on taking a professional sabbatical this year but after meeting with Marsha Landess and learning more about Radio One, I began to get more excited to get back to work,” shared Rickard. “Radio One as a company, combined with Marsha’s leadership and the potential for WFNZ, was just too appealing to not be a part of. I am extremely grateful to Radio One for this opportunity and can’t wait to start working with the talented staff in Charlotte. My family and I are all in on this situation and can’t wait to get started on this new chapter.”
Not one to waste time diving in, Rickard officially stepped into the Charlotte offices today to meet his new staff.
Kirk Herbstriet Wants To Be Held To Same Standard For NFL As College Football
“Herbstreit was on The Pat McAfee Show on Friday and he said he is already at Pro Football Focus in Cincinnati doing his research.”
The NFL schedule was released last week, and Thursday Night Football has a lot of interesting matchups for its first year on Amazon Prime. It is also a new broadcast booth with Al Michaels and Kirk Herbstreit on the call.
With Herbstreit now adding Thursday Night Football to College Gameday, he has already started preparing for the upcoming season. Herbstreit was on The Pat McAfee Show on Friday and he said he is already at Pro Football Focus in Cincinnati doing his research.
“I’m just trying to lay a foundation,” said Herbstreit.
Herbstreit told McAfee that whenever anyone asks him to talk about a college team, he can quickly tell them what the DNA of that team is. Now he wants to bring that level of preparation to his NFL broadcasts. He will look at a different matchup every week this summer to get a more detailed idea of what each team is about:
As for his connection with Al Michaels, Herbstreit mentioned he has gone out to dinner with him a couple of times and he wants to make going out to eat with his broadcast partner a frequent deal.
“Hung out with him 2-3 times. Had a chance just to get to know him. When you go into a new deal, I love like Wednesday night dinner, I want to make a staple and just hang out and get to know him and hopefully he will get to know me. When you do that, it allows you to have natural chemistry.”
Andrew Mason To Succeed John Clayton At 104.3 The Fan
“Mason comes to The Fan from DNVR, a digital outlet where he provided written and audio content for the last three seasons.”
John Clayton passed away earlier this year. That left 104.3 The Fan without a lead Broncos writer for the 2022 season. On Monday, the station announced that it had hired a successor in Andrew Mason.
Mason comes to The Fan from DNVR, a digital outlet where he provided written and audio content for the last three seasons.
“Mase’s work speaks for itself as one of the market’s most respected analysts when it comes to writing about and discussing the Broncos,” Raj Sharan, The Fan’s program director, said in a press release. “Replacing someone of the legendary stature of John Clayton was not something we took lightly, and we believe Mase is the perfect person to pick up that mantle and bring tremendous credibility and content to our rapidly growing digital platforms.”
Andrew Mason has a lot of credibility with Broncos fans. He has covered the team for 19 years. He has also written a book called Tales from the Denver Broncos Sideline.
The Fan won’t be his first foray into Denver radio either. Mason has previously been a host on Mile High Sports Radio and the defunct KDSP- AM.
“I’m thrilled to join The Fan team and add what I can to the efforts of building Denver’s premier online destination for Denver fans,” said Mason. “Being tasked with replacing a legend like John Clayton is a responsibility I take very seriously, and I’m honored The Fan has entrusted me with this opportunity.”