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Countdown To Coverage: College Football’s Best Local Radio Show

“The best local shows are the ones that are going to give you three entertaining, uninterrupted hours on the local team that’s fighting for an invite to the Sun Bowl!”

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College football season is nearly here.

Forget last Saturday. It’s called Week 0 for a reason. Do you really want to believe the first game of the 2022 season was 3-9 Northwestern and 3-9 Nebraska playing halfway around the world?

Here at Barrett Sports Media, we are celebrating college football from a media angle. All week long, our editors and resident college football superfans, Arky Shea, Demetri Ravanos and Garrett Searight, will be looking at the best the media has to offer in terms of college football coverage.

The entire schedule is as follows:

MONDAY: Best Local Show

TUESDAY: Best National Radio Show

WEDNESDAY: Best College Football Podcast

THURSDAY: Best TV Show

FRIDAY: Best TV Play-by-Play Booth

College football, like all politics, is local. That is why it is important to put a spotlight on the shows that really capture the atmosphere of a fanbase.

Fans across the country know that Ohio State is really good. They know Lincoln Riley is out to prove football isn’t dead on the West Coast and they know every NFL GM is licking his lips and fighting the urge to throw 17 games in order to be in position to draft Will Anderson Jr.

The best local shows are the ones that are going to give you three entertaining, uninterrupted hours on the local team that’s fighting for an invite to the Sun Bowl! They know College GameDay and Big Noon Kickoff will have the top ten matchups covered.

Which shows do that best? Here are our picks.

OFF THE BENCH – 104.5 ESPN IN BATON ROUGE by Garrett Searight

This will sound like a sales pitch for Guaranty Media, but I found Off The Bench while looking for radio shows utilizing video streams of their shows. I found myself watching Off The Bench daily.

Off The Bench is one of the rare radio shows that isn’t “radio guy paired with former player”. It’s former player paired with former player as former LSU greats Jacob Hester and T-Bob Hebert. Their ability to talk about college football’s — not just LSU or the SEC — biggest topics sets them to the top of my list. They’re fun, energetic, knowledgeable, and most importantly entertaining. I’ve always found it’s more difficult than you think to sound like two dudes having a conversation that a listener is eavesdropping on. Hester and Hebert do it flawlessly. The pair are rising stars in the industry.

THE OG – 99.9 THE FAN IN RALEIGH by Demetri Ravanos

College football, whether we will admit it or not, is mostly about misery. There are 131 teams in the FBS and at the start of each season; roughly 128 of them have no shot at winning a national championship. Every team in the state of North Carolina is amongst those 128, so it makes sense that no one has more fun with that misery than Joe Ovies and Joe Giglio on 99.9 The Fan in Raleigh. It’s a show that sounds like the market it serves when talking about college football.

Where else can you go from hearing about one host’s private texts with UNC’s athletic director to taste-testing unopened cans of baby blue Carolina-themed soda and neon red NC State-themed soda from the 1980s? The show is subversive as hell, but it is the kind of subversion that is only possible if you really love the institutions and people in your crosshairs.

MCELROY & CUBELIC IN THE MORNING – JOX 94.5 IN BIRMINGHAM by Arky Shea

There simply isn’t a more fervent market for college football, and only college football, than Birmingham, Alabama. The show that talks it best is on Birmingham’s flamethrower WJOX. McElroy is the former Alabama quarterback Greg McElory and Cubelic is former Auburn center Cole Cubelic. What these two do goes beyond sticking two players from in-state rivals on the same radio show and expecting great talk. WJOX is fortunate to have two extremely smart analysts who also double as traveling television analysts during the season. They take real playing experience and mesh it beautifully with what they see every single week on the road during the Fall.

The show, though very driven by college football, doesn’t get stale because the two show hosts aren’t sitting on past laurels. Every day is a chance to watch film of draft picks, current college production superstars and future names you are going to want to know. No one uses their access to better accommodate their show with college football knowledge and frivolity than McElory and Cubelic. They bring on top-notch analyst guests thanks to their well-earned relationships throughout the country and have the pull to grab any college football coach they desire to the salivating Magic City football capitol. No stone is left unturned to bring you more football information because they want it for themselves too.

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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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