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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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KFC on WFAN: What Makes Barstool Sports Successful is the “Reality TV Aspect”

“Anybody that has success in entertainment and sports…I think there is going to be that desire to see behind the curtain and we just kind of opened the curtain willingly.”

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Kevin Clancy, aka KFC from Barstool Sports
Courtesy: Barstool Sports

Kevin Clancy, better known as ‘KFC’ from Barstool Sports, filled in for Boomer Esiason on WFAN this morning with Gregg Giannatti. The two hosts discussed the feuding going on between members of the 1990’s Chicago Bulls as some players, most notably Scottie Pippen, are disputing some of what was said in The Last Dance back in 2020.

They compared the situation to some of what they face at their offices, noting they spend a lot of time with their co-workers, who aren’t members of their family or in most cases their best friends and drama can sometimes ensue. “Barstool has taken that office drama to a level that no one else has achieved,” Giannotti said to KFC. “When we do stuff like that here [at WFAN], it’s very rarely serious. The drama that you guys have, it’s real and it’s out there and that’s got to be a really difficult thing to deal with if you’re not prepared for it.”

“We usually refer to it as “being in the mud,” Clancy responded. “And there’s only certain people that can really live in the mud…It’s part of what made Barstool successful, is that reality TV aspect of it in that it is kind of like a team, and there is internal drama like clubhouse drama, locker room drama and the way we usually handle that is let’s do it out there and on the air.”

KFC talked about being a fan of WFAN and seeing it from the outside looking in. He said as a listener you could sense who was not a fan of certain people. He used the example of the feuds which would take place between Mike Francesa and Craig Carton and then the subsequent feuds Giannotti found himself in with “The Pope” when he took over for Carton.

“Anybody that has success in entertainment and sports…I think there is going to be that desire to see behind the curtain and we just kind of opened the curtain willingly,” KFC said about Barstool Sports. “We will probably fight each other more than anything, but then when there’s an outside problem, we close ranks and we are like, let’s handle business.”

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Gow Media Parts Ways With Sports Map Radio Program Director Craig Larson

“With Larson exiting, Gow Media will make another change, tapping into its partnership with VSiN to satisfy its Sports Map Radio affiliate stations.”

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It’s been a tough week in Houston for Gow Media. First, the company made cuts to ESPN 97.5, parting ways with the midday team of Joshua Beard, Michael Connor and Andrew Carlson. Then yesterday, the company informed longtime network program director Craig Larson that he too was unfortunately a budget cut casualty.

Larson had been with Gow Media since the company acquired the Sporting News Radio network in 2010. He started with Sporting News Radio as a producer in Illinois, moving next to Los Angeles to take on programming duties for the network before relocating to Houston to lead the outlet following David Gow’s acquisition of the brand.

During the fourteen years that Larson managed the network, it’s gone through a few changes. Gow elected to change the identity from Sporting News Radio to Yahoo Sports Radio in 2011. That was followed by rebrands to SB Nation Radio and its current name, Sports Map Radio.

With Larson exiting, Gow Media will tap into its partnership with VSiN to satisfy its Sports Map Radio affiliate stations. The two groups have already been working together. This just gives the sports betting network an even bigger push. It also helps Gow stand out better in a crowded national sports radio marketplace.

As for Larson, this is his first trip to free agency in nearly a quarter century. When reached by BSM, he acknowledged that his time with the company had come to an end. He added, ‘It was an amazing 14 years in Houston. I’m proud of the work we put in, and there’s no better person in the world to work for than David Gow.’

Those interested in chatting with Larson about future possibilities can reach him at [email protected].

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Eli Gold Out as Voice of Alabama Football; Ends 35-Year Run

“I will not be returning. The university chose to not bring me back. I have not retired!”

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Eli Gold
Courtesy: Alabama Athletics

The Tuscaloosa News has reported longtime University of Alabama radio play-by-play voice Eli Gold will not be returning next season. Gold, who has been in the position for 35 years, told Birmingham FOX 6 Reporter Jonathan Hardison, “I will not be returning. The university chose to not bring me back. I have not retired!”

The report says Chris Stewart, who has been calling Alabama basketball for the Crimson Tide Sports Network, will take over the football broadcasts.

“Eli has been an invaluable member of our broadcast team,” Jim Carabin, Vice President and General Manager of the Crimson Tide Sports Network said in a statement. “We are grateful for his years of service and wish him all the best in this next chapter. CTSN is fortunate to have someone as part of our existing broadcast team in Chris to step up and seamlessly transition into this role.”

Gold missed the 2022 season for health reasons, otherwise he has been calling Crimson Tide games each season since 1988. Gold, 70, had been diagnosed with cancer just over one year ago but called home games in 2023. Stewart filled in for Gold both in 2022 and 2023.

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