The moment college basketball fans have been waiting for has arrived with the start of the NCAA March Madness Basketball Tournament. As the first round concludes Friday, it is safe to say that “madness” has already ensued; after all, three of the games yesterday ended in overtime.
Most sports radio hosts are invested in the college basketball action, but perhaps none more than Joe Giglio, co-host of The OG with Joe Ovies and Joe Giglio on 99.9 The Fan in Raleigh, N.C. While the show was in the midst of its “What’s Trending” segment, the game between No. 5 Iowa and No. 12 Richmond was coming down to the wire in overtime. Giglio, not wanting his bracket to be spoiled, held up the show to watch the end of the game, which cultivated some unique banter on-the-air between he and his co-host.
“I’m not the only person who either – A – picked Richmond, which I’m probably in the minority on that, but there’s a lot of people who have Iowa in the Final Four; if not winning this thing,” exclaimed Giglio.
In an effort to move the show along, co-host Joe Ovies attempted to return to the “What’s Trending” segment, revealing the number two trending topic to be something pertaining to Baker Mayfield. The listeners remained uncertain, however, of what exactly the topic would be – even though Mayfield had just requested a trade from the Cleveland Browns – because Ovies was unable to focus, inadvertently diverting his attention to the overtime action.
“Honestly, I can’t move on with the show because Giglio is just going to blurt out whatever so we’re just going to have to wait this thing out,” Ovies explained to the listeners.
Shortly after, one of the teams took a timeout, meaning that it was a perfect time to try to curtail the entropic moment on the show. “Let’s talk about Baker Mayfield while they’re in the timeout – geez,” Ovies said, breaking into laughter upon realizing that there was no chance the show would be moving on until the sounding of the final buzzer.
“Oh, that’s a foul!” shouted Giglio as play resumed.
“For whatever reason, I apparently have the ability to multitask, and everybody else in this building has zero ability to multitask when it comes to a sporting event going on,” Ovies explained.
The chances of filling out a perfect March Madness bracket are 1-in-9,223,372,036,854,775,808. Giglio cares deeply about his bracket despite the slim chances of filling out a perfect one, and wanted Richmond to win since he has them advancing to the Elite 8.
The game seemed to dawdle towards the finish – and then more time was added to the clock by the officials. At that point, Ovies had had enough and wanted to move on with their radio show.
“I would like to continue the show!” Ovies said in desperation. “I can’t continue the show if this game keeps bogging down. This five seconds is taking ten minutes.”
When producer Jonathan Rand played the “What’s Trending” sound effect again prior to the end of the game, Ovies questioned why they were even on the air if they were just going to react in real-time to a college basketball game.
“Why are we doing this?,” asked Ovies. “We’re not moving on because they’re just going back out on the court now and I’m not going to be able to move on because Giglio is watching with wrapped attention. I mean, this is where we are right now.”
Finally, the game ended with a 67-63 Richmond upset victory, setting them up for a matchup with No. 4 Providence in the second round Saturday. Giglio stood up and applauded after the show had been considerably delayed, and conveyed his emotions to Ovies and the listening audience.
“Your boy feels good,” Giglio said, referencing that his bracket had been retained – for now.
Dave Rothenberg Can’t Stand Hearing Kenny Albert Mispronounce ‘Raleigh’
“I would think a true professional, like somebody that cares about their craft, would get that kind of feedback and welcome it.”
Dave Rothenberg has a tiny bone to pick with Kenny Albert, and it’s over the way Kenny pronounces the Carolina Hurricanes’ home city.
Talking on his show on ESPN New York on Tuesday, Rothenberg, who spent three years working in Raleigh on 99.9 The Fan, said he wished someone would get in Albert’s ear and correct the way he’s been saying it adding that it has made him wish one of the top play-by-play voices in hockey wouldn’t be on the call for the playoff series between the Canes and New York Rangers.
“I would think a true professional, like somebody that cares about their craft, would get that kind of feedback and welcome it,” Rothenberg said.
Albert has been pronouncing the city’s name as “RAW-lee”. It is properly pronounced “RAH-lee”.
Co-host Rick DiPietro and the rest of the show crew thought Albert would take offense to the correction, especially since it’s such a minor thing, but Rothenberg thought that was ridiculous.
“See, no one can deal with tough love anymore,” Rothenberg said.
The New York Rangers and Carolina Hurricanes series shifts back to Raleigh on Thursday for Game 5. The series is tied 2-2.
NBC Sports Names Al Michaels To Emeritus Role
The partnership will keep Michaels on for the Olympics and NBC’s NFL playoff coverage.
NBC Sports, which had been the home of Al Michaels since 2006, will still feature the veteran broadcaster despite Michaels’ moving to Amazon for Thursday Night Football.
The network announced that Michaels will still be a part of NBC Sports’ high-profile broadcasting properties including the Olympics and NFL Playoffs. Michaels’ last broadcast with the network had been Super Bowl LVI in February, his eleventh Super Bowl.
NBC Sports Chairman Pete Bevacqua said in a statement, “Revered by viewers and colleagues, Al has been the soundtrack for many of the greatest moments in sports television history. We are thrilled that he’s staying in the family and raising the stature of our events for years to come.”
“I’m looking forward to continuing my longtime NBC relationship while also launching the Thursday Night Football package on Amazon this fall. A special thanks to NBC Sports Chairman Pete Bevacqua and the folks at NBCUniversal for their help in making this happen,” Michaels said.
Michaels moved to Amazon Prime Video this season for their Thursday Night Football package. He will be paired with ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit. This season will mark his 37th NFL play-by-play campaign in primetime.
Following another historic broadcasting moment in which Michaels deftly demonstrated his expertise and versatility, he became just the second sportscaster in history to receive a News Emmy nomination for his coverage of the San Francisco earthquake during the 1989 World Series.
In addition to the 11 Super Bowls, Michaels has worked nine Olympics and called eight World Series.
In December 2020, Michaels was honored with the 2021 Ford C. Frick Award for excellence in broadcasting by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. Michaels is one of only five distinguished broadcasters to be recognized with the baseball honor and the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Pete Rozelle Award (Dick Enberg, Lindsey Nelson, Jack Buck, and Curt Gowdy).
One of television’s most respected journalists, Michaels has covered more major sports events than any sportscaster, including 20 years as the play-by-play voice of Monday Night Football. He is the only commentator to call the Super Bowl, World Series, NBA Finals and host the Stanley Cup Final for network television. In addition, Michaels called the classic 1985 championship boxing match between Thomas “Hit Man” Hearns and “Marvelous” Marvin Hagler.
Among his many accolades, Michaels has captured eight Emmy Awards – seven for Outstanding Sports Personality – Play-by-Play and one in 2011 for the Lifetime Achievement Award, and has three times (1980, 1983 and 1986) received the NSSA Award from the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association; he was inducted into the NSSA Hall of Fame in 1998. Michaels was named Sportscaster of the Year in 1996 by the American Sportscasters Association, and, in 1991, he was named Sportscaster of the Year by the Washington Journalism Review.
Thom Brennaman Continues to Search for a Second Chance
Brennaman has been searching for a broadcasting gig since he spoke a homophobic slur in August 2020 on a Cincinnati Reds broadcast.
The last time Thom Brennaman sported the microphone for a major broadcast was August 19, 2020. It was game that featured a doubleheader between the Cincinnati Reds and the Kanasas City Royals and in between the two, Brennaman blurted a homophobic slur that has thus far kept him off radio and television.
Brennaman has struggled to find his footing since that error. Recently, Brennaman recorded an episode of Tell Me A Story I Don’t Know, a podcast hosted George Ofman. That episode was available Tuesday and in it, Ofman asks where Brennaman thinks he’ll be in six months.
Brennaman said, “I have no idea. I really don’t. There were a couple of times I thought that maybe somebody out there was going to give me a chance to broadcast again and then this same thing comes up again.”
Brennaman sounded baffled that he’s still searching for work, citing other influential local leaders and what they opined in the days after the incident. “You know what you find out George, the guy who’s considered to be the leading voice of the LGBT community here in Cincinnati, he’s a big executive with Johnson and Johnson, a guy named Ryan Messer. He had written, and I had never met Ryan Messer at this point in time, like two days after what I said, he wrote a letter to the editor of the Cincinnati Enquirer, local paper, that Thom Brennaman should not be fired. There is room for growth here in so many areas and a great opportunity for him, for the gay community, for the Reds, for our society.”
Brennaman added that the two met as well as did Brennaman with other leaders in the LGBT community at the time. “I reached out to the guy and made contact with him and he’s the guy who’s house we went to that I made reference to earlier in listening to a bunch of the stories with some gay leaders. But anyway, I said ‘if you have people there – and I know you do – that are gay that work there, I would put up the amount of hours that I have spent in the gay community in some form or fashion over the last year against anybody you have that works in that office that’s gay’.”
Despite his efforts, the broadcasting veteran is dismayed that it’s failed to sway opinion, “it’s almost like in some cases it just falls on deaf ears.”
Regardless of where he is at now, he’s confident that eventually he’ll be afforded another opportunity. “But I ‘d like to think there’s somebody out there – and there will be and all it takes is one – is just to say ‘you know what, this was a mistake. Here’s the documentation of what the guy’s tried to do since then. We’re going to take a chance – answer some tough questions – and take a chance and get him back in the booth.”
And if another opportunity doesn’t present itself? “If it doesn’t happen, it’s not going to be the end of my life.”