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Bob Fescoe: Taylor Swift Coverage at Chiefs Game Warranted on NFL Sunday

“The Chiefs are the most popular entertainment option in this country right now.”

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Taylor Swift - Kansas City Chiefs
Courtesy: Jason Hanna, Getty Images

Sunday afternoon’s presentation of “America’s Game of the Week” on FOX Sports was a pivotal matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and Chicago Bears with significant early season implications in the standings. While the quarterback matchup of Patrick Mahomes against Justin Fields was responsible for much of the buzz leading up to the National Football League (NFL) game, the attention quickly shifted when one of the country’s most notorious superstars showed up to GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium to take in the action.

Taylor Swift, while in the midst of her worldwide tour that has reportedly grossed over $2 billion in the United States alone, was present at the game after rumored interactions with Chiefs star tight end Travis Kelce. Last week on The Pat McAfee Show, Kelce revealed that he extended an invitation to her to watch him “rock the stage” at Arrowhead Stadium, similar to what he did when she played the venue in July.

Swift took in the contest from Travis Kelce’s suite and was enthusiastic when Kelce was announced on the field and scored a touchdown to make it a 40-0 ballgame. After the game, the duo was recorded leaving the stadium together in a convertible and drove around Kansas City alone. While it has not been confirmed whether or not they are officially dating, many football and Swift fans assume that there is indeed a romantic relationship, or perhaps one is imminent.

Kansas City sports radio host Bob Fescoe received word that Swift would be at the game several hours before kickoff, incredulous that the sourced report was genuine. Throughout the contest, much of the attention was focused on Swift, with infatuated fans recording the suite and plenty of photographers trying to catch a glimpse of the 12-time Grammy Award-winning superstar.

“This has become a big ruse; this has become a big joke,” Fescoe remembered thinking after learning of her arrival. “Lo and behold, Taylor Swift ended up being at the football game yesterday.”

Josh Klingler, who works on Chiefs radio broadcasts as the sideline reporter, was on the air when word of Swift’s presence began circulating and precipitously recognized the palpable buzz surrounding the superstar. In the moment, he chose to stay the course and proceeded to search the dates for “The Eras Tour” during a commercial break to see if it was indeed possible that she would show up. Sure enough, Swift emerged on the suite level and took in the entirety of the Chiefs’ 41-10 win over the Bears, dominating part of the media coverage because of her whereabouts.

“I text somebody else that I know is at Arrowhead that’s on the suite level and I said, ‘Is Taylor Swift there today?,’” Fescoe said Monday morning on 610 Sports Radio. “The response back was one of the funniest I’ve ever received. They go, ‘I don’t know what’s going on, but on every level, everybody is standing outside the elevator with their phones up hoping the door opens and Taylor Swift walks out.’”

Since Swift was attending a game, there was an increased police and security presence at the stadium to ensure her safety. The Chiefs visit MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. to face the New York Jets on Sunday Night Football for their Week 4 matchup, and being that Swift keeps a residence in the “Big Apple,” there is a chance she shows up for the game. Kelce, along with Patrick Mahomes and coach Andy Reid, have propelled the team into a new level of prominence and prestige and are the center of attention in the worlds of sports and pop culture.

“Just think about what happened yesterday, guys,” Fescoe said. “We had Taylor Swift show up [and] Derek Jeter interviewing Patrick Mahomes for the FOX pregame show. The Chiefs are the most popular entertainment option in this country right now. It’s the modern-day version of The Beatles, and I don’t know what The Beatles were like because I wasn’t alive, but you hear about it all the time.”

Football insiders, in addition to reporting on the Chiefs-Bears game, were trying to unearth more information about Swift choosing to attend the matchup. KTRH 740 AM Houston reporter Cliff Saunders posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, that he did not understand why all of the attention was diverted to Swift rather than the football game at hand. In fact, he called the curiosity of insiders “embarrassing,” leading Fescoe to respond to the assertion on the air.

“No it’s not,” Fescoe said. “She is the most popular person in the world, and she was at an NFL game yesterday to see Travis Kelce catch a touchdown pass.”

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Merrill Reese: I Treat Every Broadcast Like Its Biggest of My Career

“As a radio broadcaster, you call almost every step and every yard line.”

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Merrill Reese
Courtesy: Philadelphia Eagles

Merrill Reese has been calling games for the Philadelphia Eagles since 1977, and he is in the midst of chronicling what could end up becoming a storybook season for the team. The Eagles are off to a 10-1 start, and many experts around the league surmise that the team could be a favorite to qualify, and ultimately win, Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas.

He recently participated in an interview with Richard Deitsch of The Athletic, during which the venerated radio play-by-play voice was asked if he feels he can still improve as a broadcaster.

Within his answer, he described a book he read about former New York Yankees outfielder Joe DiMaggio, which divulged that “The Yankee Clipper” would feel as nervous before every game as he did during his rookie season in 1936. He can relate to the mindset approaching every game as he prepares to take the air. In fact, he views the weekly matchup as the most important game he has ever done in his career.

“I feel that way about a preseason game or a Super Bowl,” Reese said. “During the summer, I will go through three or four games and jot down notes how I used this word too often or I didn’t pick something up the way I wanted to. I don’t think my voice has changed. My eyesight is very good. I feel great. I’m doing what I’d rather do than anything else in the world.”

Although he had several opportunities to take his talents to the national level, Merrill Reese conveyed that he feels he has been fairly compensated enough not to leave the locale. At the same time, he also understands the unique facets of a radio broadcast that render it compatible with and enjoyable to the listeners.

“I love the fact that radio broadcasting is painting a picture,” Merrill Reese said. “I think the television guys do a great job, but it’s a little bit of a different job where you are captioning the picture. As a radio broadcaster, you call almost every step and every yard line.”

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Damon Bruce After KNBR Cuts: ‘Radio’s Over, It’s Dead’

“A person who’s never listened to a show – not for a single day in their life – some accountant in another city somewhere just saw a number that they drew a red line through.”

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Damon Bruce
Courtesy: Audacy

KNBR in San Francisco recently engaged in a round of layoffs that has affected the on-air lineup. Various on-air hosts from competitor 95.7 The Game addressed the staff cuts both during their programs and in social media posts. Damon Bruce formerly worked for the outlet and was let go as part of a lineup change earlier in the year. Since then, he has hosted his own independent programming distributed via digital platforms and took time to comment on what took place at KNBR, a station he used to work for as a producer.

“I don’t know if there’s a good time to lay anyone off, but just about to get into the month of December in-between the holidays is the biggest dickhead move any corporation can make,” Bruce said, “and you can see that these radio stations are owned by dickhead corporations.”

Bruce listed the employees and areas of the radio station that were affected by the move, including a producer and the outlet’s digital department. In fact, he chided the outlet for eliminating this facet of their coverage, referring to them as “morons” amid an era where digital content has been substantiated and inculcated within various sectors of the industry. For Brian Murphy, in particular, he just lost his morning partner of 18 years, something Bruce affirmed McCaffrey should be saluted for.

“Now I can speak from experience as someone who’s been laid off by a terrible corporation that I guarantee you what happened to Paul McCaffrey is the same thing that happened to me,” Bruce said. “A person who’s never listened to a show – not for a single day in their life – some accountant in another city somewhere just saw a number that they drew a red line through. Goodbye, Paul McCaffrey.”

Since the layoffs were announced, Bruce has reached out to McCaffrey and Santangelo and stated that he planned to put a call into Hammer. Moreover, he spoke with Murphy, who he surmises is going to take a few days to cool down before returning to the station.

A part of the layoffs that particularly bothered Bruce was the end of the 6 to 10 PM timeslot, which he used to host while at the outlet. Within his commentary, he conveyed that if KNBR had found a way to fairly compensate him, he would have remained in the timeslot for 35 to 40 years and been content with his role.

“I love an evening of taking calls and talking to fans and doing interviews and having an entire day of sports to look back on and an entire day of sports to preview,” Bruce said. “I love that timeslot, and it’s gone.”

Bruce is disappointed in the ramifications these layoffs have for the industry as a whole and expressed his concerns over finding the next generation of talent. He did acknowledge, however, that there are a variety of prospective talent hosting programming in the evenings and working to prove themselves. His concern in all of this is where young broadcasters will be able to broadcast on the air due to the elimination of evening and weekend programming.

“If all you’ve got on a radio dial is morning, middays and afternoon drive, those are usually always occupied by experienced people,” Bruce said. “How do you get experience? So we now live in a world where YouTube is going to matter more than ever before to not just up-and-coming broadcasters, but broadcasters that have been disregarded; broadcasters that have been laid off and people who want to do this.”

Within his YouTube segment, Bruce spoke directly to hosts in the San Francisco market from his experience and explained how a round of layoffs from five to eight years ago that let well-compensated professionals let go caused them to be replaced by young, inexperienced decision-makers. Because of the lack of experience and proficiency in the craft, he affirms that the new people in charge do not know what they are doing because they have not done it long enough and are simply focused on profitability and the bottom line.

“Radio’s over; it’s dead,” Bruce said. “And if anyone at 95.7 The Game is listening to me right now, if any remaining host at KNBR is listening to me right now, if any actual radio host is listening to me right now, I’m telling you you get your backup plan ready because that red line is coming for you. And it’s coming for you because there is middle-management corporate bloat that is part of the reason why these stations can’t figure it out.”

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95.7 The Game’s Bonta Hill, Joe Shasky and Matt Nahigian Address KNBR Cuts

Jordan Bondurant

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A photo of Bonta Hill
(Photo: Bonta Hill)

Bay Area sports station KNBR parted ways with several staffers this week including morning show co-host Paul McCaffrey. The departures took many in sports media by surprise, including 95.7 The Game morning host Bonta Hill.

Hill, who worked at KNBR on the Murph and Mac show, felt obligated to discuss McCaffrey’s exit on The Morning Roast on Thursday, offering his condolences.

“Whenever I worked with him on that morning show as a board op or producer, I always left with a smile on my face,” Hill said. “They made me laugh, they treated me right, they taught me the ropes. And when you have an 18-year run together, that is legendary. Legendary.”

“Morning radio, that’s what we grew up on, and he was a pioneer,” Bonta added.

Bonta Hill shared that Mac was one of his favorite people at the station, and that he did and continues to look up to him.

“I just feel bad, man. Christmas is around the corner, and people are losing their jobs,” Hill said. “You never want to see that. You never want to see that, but Paulie Mac, Murph, those guys are one of one. They are. They truly are man.”

“Murph and Mac is the combo in this market in terms of longevity, excellence, what they symbolized with that Giants run and how we gravitated towards them,” co-host Joe Shasky chipped in. “All of my sports radio love came through those guys’ love for each other. And you could feel it.”

95.7 The Game brand manager Matt Nahigian echoed the sentiments from Hill during a video commentary on X. He said despite the two stations being fierce competitors, there’s a mutual respect between leadership, talent and staff.

“I think it’s important to point out that the stations compete against each other hardcore,” Nahigian said. “We want to beat each other every month in the ratings and the whole bit. But all of us for the most part get along really well.”

“KNBR didn’t gloat and celebrate when we made changes in March, and we won’t do that either,” he added. “Onward and upward. Great run by Paulie Mac, Murph and Mac.”

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