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Scott Van Pelt Believes Doing Radio Made Him A Better Broadcaster

“Anyone on radio can talk about sports. What you get to share there is who you are, what you think, what matters to you.”

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Scott Van Pelt is in his eighth year of hosting the late night SportsCenter with SVP on ESPN and it’s a show that he never thought would actually happen, but ESPN believed he can host SportsCenter a little bit differently and it has allowed him to connect with his audience and be more personal: 

Van Pelt was a guest on The Dave Pasch Podcast this week and he mentioned the idea for the new SportsCenter came when Van Pelt had a conversation with then ESPN executive John Wildhack and then ESPN president John Skipper about bringing what he did with Ryen Russillo on SVP & Russillo on ESPN Radio to television:

“The conversation was just kind of an organic what do you want to do sort of a thing? I said it would be pretty cool to take the idea of radio and bring it to SportsCenter and have it a little bit less structured, but not just entirely abandon the notion of who won the games and what were the cool things that happened.

“It was the type of thing where I never thought they would do it. SportsCenter, as you know, has always been this sacred sort of a brand. The idea that they give me the keys to the car so to speak and let me go where I wanted, I just didn’t think it would happen. To John’s [Wildhack’s] credit, he said to use the car analogy, I don’t want you to stay in the middle lane. Treat it like there is a lot of lanes that you can explore and see what works and what doesn’t. It was just kind of born out of the idea that maybe it could work.”

Van Pelt did mention that being on radio helped him because he wants his audience to get to know him as a person.

“Enormously because what you learn in radio, which I’ve said was the hardest thing that I did and I don’t know what else can be harder in this field because it requires hours and hours and hours of interesting conversation and it’s everyday. Russillo helped me massively. I’ve always credited him for saying ok, we’ll talk about Bears-Patriots in the A block, but what’s the topic? What’s interesting about the topic? Narrowing that down.

“Anyone on radio can talk about sports. What you get to share there is who you are, what you think, what matters to you. I don’t mind being vulnerable and sharing, it’s part of my life. The highs and lows, talking about losing our dog Otis this past spring. You are going to bare your soul. I sat on television and bawled about my dog. I was at a Maryland football game this weekend and strangers come up to me and they say the thing you did about your dog, that thing you say about Otis, they know his name.

“When you share yourself the way Mike & Mike did in the mornings about their children and watching their kids grow up and sharing that part of their lives, if you are willing, to the audience gets to know you as a human and not just some person on television and they care about your life if you are willing to share it. Undoubtedly, that part has helped.”

While Van Pelt thinks it’s easier than ever to have a show, he thinks it’s even harder to connect with an audience:

“I think people recognize that I like sports. I tell them where I’m from. They know I’m a Terp…That coupled with having done SportsCenter for a long time, getting to sit alongside Neil Everett and Stuart Scott, you have all these different ways that you can connect to an audience. Radio is the one that made it really personal and that’s been a huge, huge help because now it’s harder than ever. It’s easier than ever to have a show, harder than ever to connect with people because there’s so many of them to sort of choose from.”

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101.9 The Horn in Austin Sold to Norsan Media

Norsan has appointed Edgar Saucedo as Southwest Market President overseeing all of the company’s Texas operations and Ramon Loo as Austin Program Director.

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Logo for 101.9 The Horn in Austin, TX

A Radio Insight report says Norsan Media has purchased 101.9 The Horn in Austin, Texas from Genuine Austin Radio. According to the report, Norsan had already been operation a couple of Genuine Austin Radio’s stations and will now take add the rest of their stations, which also includes country stations 99.3 FM.

The report also says Norsan has appointed Edgar Saucedo as Southwest Market President overseeing all of the company’s Texas operations and Ramon Loo as Austin Program Director.

The Horn used to also be on 104.9 FM and was the University of Texas flagship station for Longhorn athletics. That stopped when Norsan took over the signal to air Regional Mexican programming. The Texas Rangers games air currently on The Horn.

Should anything change with the programming or format at The Horn, we will keep you posted.

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AJ Hoffman Headed to Mornings on San Antonio’s Sports Star

“Excited for my next chapter post-Vegas and stoked to start building an audience in San Antonio!”

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Photo of AJ Hoffman and a logo for 94.1 San Antonio's Sports Star

AJ Hoffman announced via his X account he will be back on local radio in Texas doing mornings at San Antonio’s Sports Star. “Life announcement,” Hoffman wrote. “I’m moving back to Texas. Starting May 6, you can find me back on local radio, doing mornings on San Antonio’s Sports Star. Excited for my next chapter post-Vegas and stoked to start building an audience in San Antonio!”

Hoffman had worked for several years at ESPN 97.5 in Houston and was most recently in Las Vegas serving as the executive vice president and director of digital content for Pregame, an information site for sports wagering.

Hoffman had hosted the popular show, The Blitz, with Fred Faour for more than 10 years and then became the station Program Director in 2019. He exited the station in the summer of 2021 to take the position with Pregame.

San Antonio’s Sports Star made a change earlier this year in mornings when Rudy Jay left the station in mid-January. RJ Ochoa, Managing Editor of the ‘Blogging the Boys’ website, took over for Jay, doing the show with station Program Director Rob Thompson.

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Steak Shapiro About Pat McAfee: “Dude, Relax”

“That is the definition of cringe. You have to be authentic.”

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Graphic for The Steakhouse on 92.9 in Atlanta and a picture of Pat McAfee

Sports radio has spent a lot of time during this football offseason talking about Bill Belichick. From his ending in New England to the search for a new head coaching position to being a free agent in the sports media world, his name has come up often. Steak Shapiro and Sandra Golden hit on the topic this week during The Steakhouse on 92.9 The Game in Atlanta.

A lengthy story from ESPN’s Don Van Natta Jr., Seth Wickersham and Jeremy Fowler this week reported Belichick may not have landed the Atlanta Falcons head coaching position because of a conversation Falcons owner Arthur Blank had with New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft. Another part of the story says the executives around Arthur Blank didn’t have Belichick in their top 3 of candidates which had interviewed for the position.

The same report also divulged that Belichick is expected to sign a deal with Omaha Productions to provide analysis and is interested in potentially coaching either the Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles or New York Giants after taking this year off.

The same day, The Pat McAfee Show had Belichick on as a guest and announced the coach would join McAfee and team for their annual Draft Spectacular.

Shapiro and Golden talked about the article as it related to Atlanta, but also about Belichick’s appearance on McAfee’s show. “[Belichick] on McAfee trying to be this lighthearted guy that loves The Pat McAfee Show, it’s a stretch dude, that is a stretch.”

“That is the definition of cringe,” Golden replied. “You have to be authentic.”

Shapiro does an impersonation of McAfee talking excitedly about hanging out with Belichick and said, “Dude, relax, relax…the whole thing…I wish we hadn’t gotten started on this…”

Back in late January, McAfee had said on his show about Belichick, “I would like to let everybody know…I will make this promise that if Bill Belichick is going to do TV, ol’ Pat McAfee will be in the running to try to get Bill Belichick to join our progrum [sic],” McAfee said. “Belichick… knows everything about the NFL. Every game that’s ever been played…every player that’s ever been great — that’s why he was so great on [NFL 100 All-Time Team]. And after what we saw on College GameDay, he’s got moxie too. He’s great on TV, I think we’ll all be incredibly lucky if that’s the case.”

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