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Seth Payne: J.J. Watt Hire May Mean NBC Drops Chris Simms or Tony Dungy

“Simms has turned himself into an actual broadcaster. I think he’s gotten pretty smooth, but they would boot him out the door in a heartbeat for JJ Watt.”

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Photo of Seth Payne and Sean Pendergast

NBC Sports is reportedly targeting JJ Watt to join its analyst team as it gets set to begin coverage of the Big Ten Conference this season. If the network gets its way, Watt would join Maria Taylor and former Ohio State linebacker Joshua Perry on the college football pregame show and potentially have a role with Sunday Night Football broadcasts on the network as well.

On Friday morning in Houston, Texas, SportsRadio 610’s Seth Payne and Sean Pendergast reacted to the news of the longtime Texans star defensive end potentially considering a broadcasting career and the implications it would have for the network.

“That’s a sly move,” Payne said. “Compared to NFL studio shows and whatnot, [NBC is] kind of a pipsqueak network going after JJ Watt, but it does make sense. I think that JJ, with his young son, probably more on the way, based in Wisconsin, could go to these games without making a big ordeal out of it. It might be a nice little transition into broadcasting for him.”

The discussion on the radio program Friday morning centered around Watt joining coverage of Sunday Night Football though, leading Payne to ponder over which current analyst he would replace – that is, if he was not merely added alongside Chris Simms, Tony Dungy and Rodney Harrison.

“Of those three, Simms has turned himself into an actual broadcaster,” Payne said. “I think he’s gotten pretty smooth, but they would boot him out the door in a heartbeat for JJ Watt.”

Payne added that Tony Dungy could also face a potential exit if Watt ends up signing with the network.

“Dungy does nothing for me – and this has nothing to do with anything either politically, socially or anything at all – he’s just never done anything for me at all as a broadcaster,” Payne said. “He’s low energy. He looks sickly 24/7, and I don’t enjoy watching him or hearing him, so if JJ replaces Tony Dungy, it’d feel like the Texans finally beat the Colts…. They finally beat Tony Dungy and Peyton Manning, yeah.”

Pendergast replied that he is intrigued to see what Watt could bring to the broadcast in a studio setting and just how opinionated he would be.

“When he’s giving some of his football opinions as I’ve heard him just go on various shows, you can tell he’s put some thought into them,” Payne told Pendergast. “He’s not saying anything too divisive or anything; he’s not picking winners or losers in a game…. He would provide constructive criticism. I think he could handle it, [and] I think he’d be pretty good at it.”

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iHeartMedia Extends with Pittsburgh Steelers Through 2028 Season

“We teamed up with iHeart to build a new platform that allows Steelers Nation to connect with the team – where they want and on their terms.”

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Logos for iHeartMedia and the Pittsburgh Steelers

iHeartMedia Pittsburgh announced an extension of their audio partnership with the Pittsburgh Steelers, which will now include the newly established “Steelers Audio Network” through 2028.

The “Steelers Audio Network” will offer a wide range of content, including game day broadcasts, additional shows, digital audio, podcasts, and social media posts. Fans can access the “Steelers Audio Network” and its programming throughout the year on various platforms such as 102.5 WDVE, Fox Sports Pittsburgh (970AM), the Steelers mobile app, the iHeartRadio mobile app, as well as on the team and station’s websites.

Additionally, 102.5 WDVE will continue to be the home of the Steelers game broadcasts, as they have done since 1999.

“We are excited to announce the continuation of our long-standing partnership with iHeart Media and our flagship station, 102.5 WDVE,” said Ryan Huzjak, Steelers Vice President of Sales and Marketing in a release. “We’ve teamed up with iHeart to build a new platform that allows Steelers Nation to connect with the team – where they want and on their terms.”

“We are thrilled to continue our collaboration with the Pittsburgh Steelers,” said Kevin LeGrett, President of iHeartSports. “Our renewed agreement, now known as ‘Steelers Audio Network’ encompasses a comprehensive range of audio offerings, delivering an exceptional listening experience for Steelers fans. Additionally, we’re excited to provide promotional support and further brand awareness across all six iHeartMedia Pittsburgh stations and digital sites. Our longstanding partnership continues to thrive, and we look forward to celebrating many more victories together!”

“iHeartMedia Pittsburgh and the Steelers have had a longstanding partnership,” said Tim McAleer, Market President, iHeartMedia Pittsburgh. “We are thrilled to continue to give Steelers fans access to Steelers audio broadcasts and unique Steelers programing content for years to come.”

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Nick Cattles To Fill In on 98.5 The Sports Hub

“No future guarantees, but it’s the opportunity I’ve been waiting for. Can’t wait to get back to do what I love to do.”

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Nick Cattles, who was last heard on the air at the end of June 2023 at Sactown Sports 1140 in Sacramento and has been hosting podcasts, will get a chance to fill in Monday on 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston. Cattles posted about the assignment on his LinkedIn account.

“The wait is over,” he wrote. “It’s been almost a year since the last time I walked into a radio studio. I’m back. This Monday morning from 6a-10am, you can listen to myself, Ryan Johnston, and Kendra Middleton on 98-5 The Sports Hub. No future guarantees, but it’s the opportunity I’ve been waiting for. Can’t wait to get back to do what I love to do.”

Cattles was part of the Cattles and Ramie show in Sacramento and upon leaving said, “It’s just, we love our family more. Since moving to Cali, we’ve had to overcome a lot personally. Those challenges have been amplified the last two months. It’s no longer tolerable to be 3,000 miles away. Once we settle the home situation, we’re heading back.” He had started with Sactown Sports in 2021 and also had the program director title for a period of time.

Cattles worked at The Sports Hub from in 2017 and 2018, taking part in The Adam Jones Show in the evenings and hosting on the weekends. Cattles had other stints in Boston, Virginia and with ESPN Radio.

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Andy Bunker and Randy McMichael Celebrate 5 Years Together on 92.9 The Game

“To make it five years, we are proud of it because in the grand scheme of things in radio it is unusual.”

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Graphic for Andy and Randy on 92.9 The Game and a picture of hosts Andy Bunker and Randy McMichael
Graphic Courtesy: Audacy Photo Courtesy: Randy McMichael X Account

It was a milestone week for Andy Bunker and Randy McMichael, hosts of 92.9 The Game’s The Midday Show with Andy & Randy in Atlanta. It was this week five years ago they permanently took over the midday slot replacing John Michaels and Rick Kamla who had been released earlier that year.

The show celebrated on remote at a party with several listeners, friends and family members and spent time talking about their time together. “People listening right now, thank you, we appreciate that,” said Bunker. “We wouldn’t be doing this if you weren’t listening and if you hadn’t been listening the last five years…Making it five years on a radio show is not normal. I know it seems normal at 92.9 because we are a radio station that has a lot of stability. Dukes and Bell have been on for 10 years. The morning show that’s on right now is doing great, and the show before them was on for a lot of years.”

Bunker later added, “To make it five years, we are proud of it because in the grand scheme of things in radio it is unusual.” McMichael replied, “It has been a fun five years.”

Bunker had been hosting the evening show for three years prior to partnering with McMichael, and had previously been in sports radio in Seattle, Portland and Boston. McMichael had been with the station for about four years at the time, after an 11-year career in the NFL. Prior to that he was a three-year letterman at the University of Georgia.

The show amassed an 8.3 share for the most recent quarter, retaining their fourth place ranking it had in the fall. The show airs from 11a-2p EST.

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