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Program Director Sean Thompson to Exit Arizona Sports

“Sean’s exit won’t be official until the end of the week. He’ll be working through Friday June 16th before signing off, and making the move back east.”

Jason Barrett

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After nearly eighteen months in Arizona, Sean Thompson is ready to head home. The program director of Arizona Sports is moving back to the east coast to be closer to family.

Thompson made the move to Phoenix in January 2022, leaving 92.9 The Game in Atlanta. He had been a part of the Atlanta sports station since its inception. Though the opportunity to lead and grow with Bonneville was exciting and rewarding, the distance away from loved ones proved to be too difficult. In the end, Thompson decided being near family was the wiser move for all involved.

“Ryan Hatch and Bonneville have been great to me, and this opportunity was everything I hoped it’d be and more,” Thompson told BSM on Monday night. “I’ve learned a lot and grown as a programmer here, but it’s been a challenge being so far away from my family. That made it harder to adjust than I expected. I’m thankful that I had a chance to work with a great team and I am proud of what we did together. They deserve someone who is all-in, and I’m excited to see where they go next because the sky is the limit.”

Sean’s final day with Arizona Sports will be Friday June 16th. He’s planning to return to New Jersey where his mother resides. He says that once he gets settled, he’s hoping to work again in the industry. Where and when that happens will depend on timing and opportunity.

“If you know Sean, you know he’s all character with a heart of gold,” added Bonneville Phoenix Market Manager Ryan Hatch. “While we will miss him, we respect and support his decision to be closer to family.”

The Arizona Sports program director job immediately becomes one of the more attractive openings in sports radio. Bonneville has enjoyed a long run of success in the desert, thanks to strong leadership, a talented air staff, and owning the play-by-play rights to the majority of Phoenix’s local teams. Ryan Hatch plans to start searching immediately for a strong and capable leader.

“We have a great brand, an all star team, and now an exciting opportunity for someone to lead the next wave of evolution and innovation at Arizona Sports. I’m looking forward to seeing where this process takes us.”

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Rich Shertenlieb: ‘If This Fails, It’s My Name on It, But You Know What, It’s What I’ve Always Wanted’

“We’re going to complain about the Bruins, we’re going to celebrate the Celtics and analyze the new ‘Road House’ movie like it’s the Zapruder film.”

Barrett Sports Media

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Rich Shertenlieb
Courtesy: Rich Shertenlieb on X

After approximately six months off the Boston radio airwaves, Rich Shertenlieb made his long-anticipated return with the launch of his new program, The Rich Shertenlieb Show, on Monday morning on 100.7 WZLX, an iHeartMedia-owned station. Shertenlieb will bring sports and entertainment talk to the classic rock-formatted station on weekday mornings from 6 to 10 a.m. EST, along with an array of co-hosts from various areas in media.

Some of these include former 98.5 The Sports Hub personalities Michael Hurley and Ted Johnson, who were part of the debut episode on Monday. Other contributors include former NFL Network reporter Mike Giardi and former Sports Illustrated reporter Charlotte Wilder, the latter of whom will also continue working as a contributor on Meadowlark Media’s show, The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz.

To open his show on Monday, Shertenlieb expressed how much he had missed talking with listeners in the Boston area and stated that there was a lot to discuss. Additionally, he hinted at the return of popular segments that aired during his time at 98.5 The Sports Hub, some of which include audio from Celtics fans on the street and humorous calls to 9-1-1. Shertenlieb previously worked with Fred Toucher on the popular Toucher & Rich show, which first launched on rock station 104.1 WBCN.

The show moved to 98.5 The Sports Hub upon the launch of the station in 2009 and was frequently on top of the ratings books, building and sustaining a loyal and dedicated audience. Beasley Media Group said in a statement that it had offered Shertenlieb a multi-year contract extension to which he never accepted, and there was apparent ambiguity surrounding his sudden exit from the station.

“Better opportunity, and it’s that easy,” Shertenlieb said in an interview with CBS Boston. “I really liked where I worked – I liked a lot of the people over there – but sometimes you get presented with something as cool as this and you just can’t say ‘No.’ I know that that’s not what people want to hear, but it’s the truth.”

Shertenlieb explained that the program will discuss sports and a variety of other topics, working to build a new on-air product akin to the beginning of his time with 98.5 The Sports Hub. Toucher had previously stated that he believed Shertenlieb should find an opportunity outside of sports radio through which he would be able to demonstrate his penchant for comedy and simply have fun.

Toucher is now hosting morning drive with Rob “Hardy” Poole in morning drive as part of the new Toucher & Hardy show, which made its debut in early January. On WZLX, Shertenlieb, Hurley and a rotation of co-hosts and show contributors will seek to foster a new sound in the Boston marketplace on the classic rock station as a part of morning drive.

“It’s awesome, but you know all the pressure’s on,” Shertenlieb said. “If this fails, it’s my name on it, but you know what, it’s what I’ve always wanted. It’s what I’ve worked my whole career towards, and I’m glad that [W]ZLX and iHeart were able to give it to me.”

There were other opportunities within the process that Shertenlieb was offered, and he may be open to discussing some of them down the road. There had been speculation that he was being considered for an afternoon drive program on WEEI, with several industry professionals predicting that the outcome would render itself a reality. In an interview with Chad Finn of Boston.com, Shertenlieb explained that he considered other opportunities when previously signing contracts with 98.5 The Sports Hub. In launching something new, he is excited to make an impact and construct a new product in the city.

“We’re going to complain about the Bruins, we’re going to celebrate the Celtics and analyze the new ‘Road House’ movie like it’s the Zapruder film,” Shertenlieb said.

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Mike Florio: Giving Teams Too Many Prime-Time Games ‘Compromises the Integrity of the Game’

“At some point it’s just going to be whatever we think every week is going to lead to the biggest ratings and the biggest numbers and the most money, that’s what we’re going to do and it’s unfair to certain teams to do that.”

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Mike Florio
Courtesy: Denny Medley, USA TODAY Sports

Mike Florio spent time on his Pro Football Talk Live show talking about the NFL schedule which was released in full earlier this week. The focus of the discussion was on the New York Jets schedule, however the topic related to many of the top teams in football. With the league wanting to maximize revenue there are more stand-alone games, which Florio says have “an extra layer of stress and strain.”

The Jets will have six prime-time games over the team’s first 11 weeks of the season. This includes an opening week Monday Night Football road game on the other side of the country against the San Franciso 49ers, two Sunday Night Football games, a Thursday Night Football game, one other appearance on Monday Night Football and a trip to London to play the Vikings.

Florio believes it is unfair to have teams with this much travel and this many featured games. “See, this is a TV show,” he said. “This is where the pursuit of money, the pursuit of maximum ratings, laying the foundation for putting all of the TV contracts out to bid again after the 2029 season, it gets in the way of giving teams a fair shake.”

He later added, “The truth is, the broadcast partners are clamoring for Aaron Rodgers…so they loaded it up early before the Jets have the wheels come off…The problem is they’re kicking the wheels off by doing this. By having them hopscotch the country and play short weeks twice and all of these prime-time games. There’s an extra layer of stress and strain that goes into all of these stand-alone games and all of this travel early in the season.”

Rodgers is coming off missing an entire season due to an Achilles injury and will turn 41 in early December. “Let’s be realistic about it, you’re putting him in a position where this 40-year-old body is going to be strained beyond reasonable limits from all these games on short [rest],” Florio said. “…It’s dangerous to Aaron Rodgers and its disadvantageous to the Jets and it compromises the integrity of the game.

“You still have an obligation to balance things out. It can’t be ‘let’s have the best possible TV audiences, that can’t be the driving factor…It should be a fair balance for all teams…At some point it’s just going to be whatever we think every week is going to lead to the biggest ratings and the biggest numbers and the most money, that’s what we’re going to do and it’s unfair to certain teams to do that.”

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Marv Albert Talks Retirement, Play-by-Play and OJ Simpson Chase with Dan Patrick

“I must say retirement has been great.”

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Marv Albert
Courtesy: PDA Speakers

Three years ago on Friday, legendary play-by-play announcer Marv Albert announced that he would be retiring from his role as the lead voice of the NBA on TNT. This concluded a 55-year broadcast career during which he called 13 NBA Finals matchups, eight Super Bowl championships, eight Stanley Cup Final series and countless other memorable games across a variety of professional sports. Albert is the former television play-by-play announcer for the New York Knicks and appeared on the Dan Patrick Show where he discussed his takeaways of the team. In fact, Albert divulged that he was at Madison Square Garden during the team’s first-round series against the Philadelphia 76ers.

Patrick wanted to know from Albert how he was enjoying retirement, a reality that he himself will be facing in three years. Last summer, Patrick announced that his final show would take place on Dec. 24, 2027 and inked a four-year contract extension with NBC Sports and iHeartMedia. Patrick’s show currently airs on FOX Sports Radio and can be live streamed through NBCUniversal’s Peacock streaming service. Albert has not been behind the microphone for approximately three years, but he is still keeping in tune with what is going on around the sports world.

“Life is good, Dan. How are you doing?,” Albert asked. “I must say retirement has been great. I do miss the preparation and the people I work with, and we do stay in touch, but I am Mr. Binge TV, and I do a lot of reading, work out, all those kind of things, but all is good. I’ve been enjoying the playoffs also.”

Earlier on Friday morning, PGA Tour professional golfer Scottie Scheffler was arrested and charged with a felony and other counts after he allegedly injured a police officer. Scheffler was driving by the scene of a fatal crash and was charged with felony second-degree assault on a police officer, third-degree criminal mischief, reckless driving and disregarding signals from officers during traffic. Scheffler was released from jail in the morning and played the second round of the PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Course in Louisville, Ky. Patrick mentioned the police chase involving O.J. Simpson that lasted for two hours following Simpson being charged with murdering his ex-wife and her friend.

Albert was in the midst of calling Game 5 of the 1994 NBA Finals between the Houston Rockets and New York Knicks. He vividly remembers players going to the press table at Madison Square Garden, which had televisions, and trying to see the latest action going on during the car chase.

“Dick Ebersol, the president of NBC Sports, was sitting to our left in the stands, but he had an earpiece so he heard exactly what was going on, and he was kind of directing the activity also,” Albert recalled. “‘Send it back to Tom [Brokaw]; go over to Bob [Costas],’ all this stuff. ‘By the way, there’s Charles Smith with the jump shot.’ It really was the most unusual situation I have been in on the air.”

Patrick was curious to know what has changed in terms of play-by-play announcing since Albert has retired, to which he replied that things largely remained the same in basketball. In other sports though, Albert has observed that there is more talking than there was in the past, articulating that he watches a lot of baseball and has noticed it during the broadcasts. Patrick added that he enjoys the usage of silence within a call and believes it is a lost art with the ostensible need to consistently speak when they are describing something, a sentiment Albert agreed with and explained was more compatible with television broadcasts.

“There’s no question,” Albert said. “You can use the crowd – the crowd is very important, particularly at times like this during the playoffs where the crowds are at another level.”

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