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Rob ‘Hardy’ Poole, Fred Toucher to Launch New Morning Show on 98.5 The Sports Hub

“He’s someone that I talk to who makes me laugh in my personal life, he’s extremely talented with production and he’s been quite frankly underutilized here at this radio station.”

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Toucher & Hardy
Courtesy: 98.5 The Sports Hub

Fred Toucher made a long-awaited announcement on Tuesday morning’s edition of the morning drive program on 98.5 The Sports Hub, revealing his new co-host beginning on January 4, 2024. Rob “Hardy” Poole, a member of the station since 2009, will join Toucher on the new Toucher & Hardy morning show from 6a-10a ET on weekdays, starting a new era in the mornings on the Beasley Media Group-owned outlet.

After graduating from Michigan State University, Hardy worked for 15 years as a rock DJ on music radio before making the switch to 98.5 The Sports Hub. Through the last eight years, he has worked with Zolak & Bertrand in middays, contributing to the ratings success of the multiple Marconi award-winning station. Hardy has continued working in music radio on Beasley Media Group’s Rock 92.9, and he has also been the host of the Sports Hub Golf Club show as well.

“Hardy is one of the most talented and creative individuals I have ever worked with in radio,” 98.5 The Sports Hub program director Rick Radzik said in a statement. “Teaming him with Fred was just a natural fit for our new morning show. I look forward to them providing great content and entertaining our listeners for years to come.”

“Hardy was the perfect candidate to join Fred and the team to take this show to even greater heights,” Mary Menna, Beasley Media Group Boston vice president and market manager, said in a statement. “Everybody loves him!”

Toucher teased an announcement about the future of the morning program on Instagram, drawing the attention of listeners with an interest in the search process. The Hub’s morning man shared that there were many people interested in the opening, with some candidates even reaching out to him personally. He recalled the situation regarding how former co-host Rich Shertenlieb and 98.5 The Sports Hub were unable to come to terms on a contract. In fact, there had been an enigma and uncertainty pertaining to Shertenlieb throughout the year, accentuated by Toucher’s absences after a medical emergency and checking himself into a rehabilitation facility for alcoholism.

Toucher inked a contract extension with the station in October while Shertenlieb’s name was omitted from the announcement, bolstering speculation on the duo’s future together. In early November, Toucher revealed that Shertenlieb was leaving the station, ending a 17-year partnership together and initiating a search for his new partner.

There were various people involved in the search, eliciting thanks from Toucher before he revealed the news Tuesday morning. He took the time to spotlight Ryan Johnston in particular, who will have accumulated over 100 fill-in appearances for the station by the end of the year. Moreover, Toucher shared his thoughts on Kendra Middleton, who reportedly interviewed for the role and has worked to establish herself in the industry.

“Kendra Middleton, who I didn’t even know four months ago, and now I think is one of the most talented people in radio,” Toucher said. “I think that Kendra, as I said, is going to be a huge star, and I think it’s going to happen soon, so someone better scoop her up. Until that happens – and I don’t know what Kendra’s future is – but Kendra, I can tell you, is going to be a big part of whatever happens going forward outside of this whole betting thing that she’s doing right now; we’ll get her involved in other stuff.”

Jon Wallach will also retain his role on the program, with Toucher mentioning that his job was never in jeopardy. Wallach has been a member of the station since 2009 while also doing work with the Boston Celtics as a commentator filling in as a play-by-play announcer on the radio for select games.

Other contributors who work on the program, including Mike Lockhart, Dan O’Brien and Nick Gemelli, were all mentioned within the segment as well and commended for welcoming Hardy to the program. From the beginning, Toucher informed his agent to tell station management that if something were to happen between him and Rich that Hardy would represent the partner he would be most interested in working with going forward.

“Now why?,” Toucher said. “Because I’ve known him for almost as long as I’ve known Rich; I consider him a good friend. He’s someone that I talk to who makes me laugh in my personal life, he’s extremely talented with production and he’s been quite frankly underutilized here at this radio station – not in terms of his jobs – he’s like one of these guys that has 17 maintenance jobs – he just works all over the place, but hopefully that can stop.”

Upon the conclusion of the announcement, Hardy expressed his gratitude towards Toucher and being able to officially sign the contract that has granted him the highly-coveted co-host role on the top-rated Boston morning program. Reminiscing over the years about some of the bits and segments he has produced, the show played them back for listeners to enjoy as he conveyed his appreciation and excitement for the new chapter set to commence.

“As a lifelong radio guy, I’m thrilled for this opportunity,” Hardy said in a statement. “I’m looking forward to working with Fred and the rest of the morning show crew on what I believe will be a great show.”

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Sports Radio News

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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Sports Radio News

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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Sports Radio News

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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