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Under The Radar – November 27, 2017

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Activity in the sports radio business has been high the past month. Here are a couple of stories that have taken place which you might have missed.

As always, you can be included in this column by forwarding pertinent information about yourself or your brand to JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me. Now on to the news!

Trey Wingo and Mike Golic have officially taken over the morning slot on ESPN Radio. The pair who are accompanied by Golic’s son Mike Jr. for the first hour of the show began their tenure as the radio network’s new morning team this morning. To promote the new show, Michael McCarthy of the Sporting News caught up with Wingo and the NY Post did a detailed story on Golic which detailed how close he came to retiring when the decision was made to split up Mike and Mike.

One behind the scenes move related to the new Wingo and Golic program, Bristol production whiz Jerry Mailhot Jr. has been named the show’s new imaging producer.

Former WFAN morning host Craig Carton may no longer be on the New York radio airwaves but rather than sitting silently on the sidelines, he’s using the opportunity to launch a new podcast. Carton released a trailer for his new project and you can hear it by clicking here.

The Entercom-CBS merger has resulted in a number of leadership changes in major markets across the country. To read the entire list of managerial changes click here.

In other management news, congrats to Todd Markiewicz on being named the new President/General Manager of 97.1 The Fan and 1460 ESPN in Columbus, OH. He takes over for Dave Van Stone who is retiring.

A sports radio reunion is taking place in Detroit. After being let go in a round of layoffs, Matt Shepard has been brought back to WDFN-AM 1130 The Fan. iHeartmedia’s Detroit sports talker has returned Shepard to morning drive.

1230 “The Fan 2” in Atlanta has removed “The Regular Guys” from its program schedule. Former NFL lineman and co-host Bob Whitfield was taken off the show last month and now featured host Larry Wachs and his remaining cohorts are also done. The station is said to be shifting its focus in the direction of delivering more local sports content. On that note, one local name who’s expected to play a role on the station moving forward is Mark Zinno. The former 92.9 The Game evening host recently filled in for a few days on 680 The Fan. Zinno’s addition would provide a nice boost for David Dickey’s second sports station.

Congratulations go out to Mike Gill of 97.3 ESPN in Atlantic City. The afternoon host and station brand manager was recently inked to a new contract to continue in current dual role.

A job well done by the crew at 102.5/610 The Fan WFNZ in Charlotte. The station held its annual Street Turkeys promotion last week and raised over fifteen thousand dollars plus received 865 turkeys and fourteen thousand pounds of food to help the Harvest Food Bank and Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry.

Take a few minutes of your time to read this fantastic piece on WEEI and NBC Sports Boston personality Trenni Kusnierek. The article highlights some of the challenges of sexual harassment that Kusnierek has had to overcome and details how she’s cut thru and gained acceptance in the Boston sports radio market.

Also in Boston, as a result of the Entercom-CBS merger and sale of 98.5 The Sports Hub to Beasley Broadcasting, Adam Kaufman had to relinquish his role with The Hub to focus on his duties with WBZ. Kaufman had been involved with The Hub since 2011.

CBS Sports programming czar Sean McManus visited with Dan Sileo on the Mighty 1090 in San Diego to discuss the current state of NFL ratings on television. McManus shared his views on viewing habits and why he remains bullish on the NFL’s drawing power. To hear it click here.

It’s not everyday you hear a baseball manager publicly share a near death experience on the radio airwaves but that’s exactly what took place in Kansas City. Royals skipper Ned Yost spoke with Bob Fescoe, Mike Welch and Josh Klingler about his scary situation. To hear Yost tell the story click here.

Chris Russell of 106.7 The Fan in Washington DC is being given an opportunity to host a few weekend shifts on the CBS Sports Radio Network. Russell hosted this past weekend and is expected to return next weekend as well.

In St. Louis, Nick Wagoner returned last week to his former city for a few days, teaming up with Anthony Stalter on 101 ESPN. Wagoner is now based in California and covers the NFL for ESPN.com.

Former CBS Radio CEO turned play by play broadcaster Dan Mason has been tabbed to call Coppin State women’s games this season. The school is broadcast in the Baltimore market on WNST 1540AM.

Memphis sports radio host Eli Savoie has landed the play by play role on Memphis Hustle broadcasts. Broadcasts this season are available via Facebook Live thru the team’s page and the NBA G League’s page.

Sports Radio USA celebrated a milestone with its 500th live NFL game broadcast on November 12th. The national play by play syndicator aired its first NFL game November 3, 2002. Founder and lead broadcaster Larry Kahn says the network is still going strong and growing and the network’s achievement is a testament to the league’s success and having help from a number of very talented individuals.

Winnipeg sports fans will be treated to seven more years of Blue Bomber football broadcasts on 680 CJOB. The Corus Radio group has extended its agreement with the team through 2024 giving CBOJ the opportunity to air all of the teams home and away games.

SB Nation Radio has brought back “In the Post” featuring NBA Hall of Famer, Elvin Hayes. The show is co-hosted by Joe George and features a mix of interviews and analysis from the biggest newsmakers in college and pro basketball. Listeners can hear the show live on Saturday evenings at 7p ET or via replay on Sunday at 8p ET on SB Nation Radio and local affiliate stations.

In the digital audio space, Jimmy Shapiro has launched a new podcast focused on sports betting. “The Hedge – Why I Gamble with Jimmy Shapiro” features different media personalities discussing the reasons why they bet on sports and what they look for in particular situations. The first episode features 95.7 The Game morning host Joe Fortenbaugh.

New FOX Sports contributor Howie Schwab recorded a podcast with ESPN’s Chris Berman. Boomer discussed some of the NFL storylines and his first season not occupying a main role on Sunday NFL Countdown. To hear it click here.

XTRA 1360 sports radio host Mark Willard has launched a new podcast titled “Ballers and Babies.” Former athletes turned radio personalities Mychael Thompson and Keyshawn Johnson have appeared on recent episodes. To hear it click here.

The NCAA has decided to ramp up its college basketball coverage by adding longtime ESPN college hoops insider Andy Katz. The exceptional reporter was a surprise cut during the last round of layoffs at the network. His addition should increase the visibility and quality of the NCAA’s digital and social content.

The Star Tribune in Minneapolis published a good piece on former NFL wide receiver turned ESPN NFL analyst Randy Moss. The article captures how Moss has transitioned into the media and has brought an infectious energy to Sunday NFL Countdown. To read it click here.

Proof that good things come to those who wait. The Times Herald Record in Middletown, NY has promoted sportswriter and columnist Ken McMillan to the position of Sports Editor. McMillan has contributed to the newspaper’s sports section for the past 17 years.

A great signing by The Athletic in San Francisco. The growing sports digital platform has hired the exceptional San Francisco Giants writer and reporter Andrew Baggarly. Baggs is expected to play a vital role in strengthening the brand’s Giants coverage.

In Phoenix, Richard Morin has been named the Arizona Republic‘s new beat writer of the Arizona Coyotes.

Congrats to Oakland Raiders Senior Editor and Team Historian Jerry Knaak on the release of his new book “The Dark Truth.” To learn more and purchase your copy click here.

Sticking with new releases, former ESPN producer Jason Romano has a new book coming out. “Live To Forgive” is available for pre-orders and will be officially released in January. For more information click here.

ESPN recently announced the addition of broadcaster and author Mark Kriegel. His contributions are expected to revolve around NBA and Boxing coverage with a variety of content coming in the form of long-form storytelling and video and print essays. He has previously contributed to the NFL Network, FOX Sports, the New York Post and Daily News, and Showtime.

Speaking of ESPN, last Wednesday night’s college basketball game between Tulane and Miami (OH) on ESPN3 featured a play by play voice with great bloodlines. Sam Ravech, the son of multi-talented ESPN studio host Karl Ravech, got his first taste of ESPN activity. No word yet on if other opportunities are forthcoming.

Hard work has paid off for Brent Schwartz. NFL.com has hired Schwartz in an entry level role to contribute to its web content. The NFL blogger is expected to relocate to Los Angeles in the next few weeks.

The Miami Marlins are making changes to their television broadcasts. Longtime play by play man Rich Waltz has been informed he won’t be back for a 14th season. Also shown the door were former Marlins turned analysts Jeff Conine and Preston Wilson.

Sad news to pass along. Longtime broadcaster and former Trail Blazers star Steve “Snapper” Jones has passed away. Jones was 75 years old.

Congrats to Sports Radio 610 host and former WWE NXT announcer Alex Del Barrio. The sports media veteran has been named the new sports director of CBS 4 KGBT-TV in Harlingen, Texas.

The Players’ Tribune has launched a new six episode video series, The First Step, featuring former NBA player Jerry Stackhouse as host. Stackhouse travels the country meeting with athletes to discuss the important issues facing communities across the country. Among those scheduled to appear on episodes with Stackhouse are former NFL defensive back Charles Tillman, NBA assistant coach Becky Hammon, New York Giants WR Brandon Marshall, Lakers and Trail Blazers players Brandon Ingram and Caleb Swanigan, and WNBA player Maya Moore.

Former ESPN contributor Derek Tyson confirmed earlier this month on Twitter that his contract had officially expired with the worldwide leader in sports. Rather than dive back into covering the world of sports with another media outlet, Tyson says he’s going to pursue business opportunities outside of the sports world.

Congratulations to Lauren Walsh. After spending time with WYSR in Syracuse, Walsh is off to ABC 22/FOX 44 in Burlington, Vermont to serve as a sports anchor and reporter.

Sports Radio News

Doug Gottlieb, Nick Wright Feud Over College Sports NIL Issues

“Gottlieb caught wind of Wright’s rant and let his disapproval be known.”

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FOX Sports hosts Doug Gottlieb and Nick Wright definitely do not see eye-to-eye when it comes to money going to college athletes.

Despite both being employed by the same company, Gottlieb, who is never afraid to voice his opinion, fired back at Wright Friday regarding his take on college football’s NIL rule in the wake of Alabama head coach Nick Saban’s claiming Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher “brought” his recruits.

On Wright’s morning show, First Things First, the colorful broadcaster had a two minute rant about how he’s happy that schools are finding workarounds under the new NIL rules implemented by the NCAA to pay the players for their name, image and likeness. He said the universities have been taking advantage of college athletes, particularly black student athletes from rough backgrounds, for years and now that the tide has shifted, people are freaking out.

“The general sports public wants extra regulations and extra rules, is keeping their thumbs on college football and basketball players because their is an undeniable and always has been an incredibly uncomfortable racial context of the guys,” Wright said. “It’s mostly young black men from mostly really tough circumstances, generating billions of dollars. Who’s sharing in that?” Wright asked.

“An overwhelmingly white administration, an overwhelmingly white coaching staff, and an overwhelmingly white non-revenue sports. How do we pay for the tennis team and golf team, ah men’s football and basketball. What do they get? A scholarship. Be happy, we pulled you out the hood. Maybe you’ll have a better life if somehow you make the league or do something with your education.”

Gottlieb caught wind of Wright’s rant and let his disapproval be known. That resulted in a back and forth between the two sports personalities on Twitter.

Gottlieb continued, claiming the NIL rule puts exceedingly high expectations on the student-athletes before ever stepping on campus and are given something without having to “earn it.”

“The sad part is this push to pay SAs before they have even played a game, taken a class or assimilated to a school sets them up for failure in their post sports career. If you have been given before you earn, where is the motivation when you get to the real world?”

Wright then took a shot at Gottlieb, saying it always feels good that his take is the complete opposite of Gottlieb’s.

The dialogue continued with Gottlieb throwing shots at Wright, calling his take “embarrassing” and mentioning how he failed to point out the educational imbalance in society during his take. Wright asked Gottlieb what are some of the other “fake racism” takes that he claims are out in the media.

Gottlieb is no stranger to conflict with his FOX Sports colleagues. Troy Aikman called his opinion on Andrew Luck’s retirement “total bullshit” in a tweet from 2019. More recently, Gottlieb got into it with Speak for Yourself co-host Emmanuel Acho after Gottlieb ripped his brother Sam’s “Top 5 QB list” on First Take. He also called out Skip Bayless for name-calling.

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Sports Radio News

Bob Cousy: ‘JJ Redick Is Untalented Using Me To Get Attention On ESPN’

“People with less talent will always try to make a name for themselves by criticizing other people and hopefully getting some attention and perhaps increasing their credibility,” Cousy said.

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Celtics legend Bob Cousy was not too happy with J.J. Redick dissing his game and credibility as an all-time great player.

During an appearance on First Take, Redick got into a fiery debate with Chris “Mad Dog” Russo about whether Chris Paul deserves to be mentioned among the best point guards in NBA history despite another disappointing exit from the playoffs. Russo claimed that Paul is “no Bob Cousy” which prompted Redick to retort, saying Cousy couldn’t even dribble with his left hand and called the players he played against, “plumbers” and “firemen.”

“Bob Cousy won championships when there were eight teams in the NBA and you had to win two playoff series,” Reddick said. “Let’s celebrate Bob Cousy in his era, but you can’t compare pre-1980 with the modern NBA.”

The 93-old Cousy made an appearance on SiriusXM Radio where he went scorched earth on Redick, basically calling the ESPN analyst “untalented” while listing some of the players that he went up against in his era.

“People with less talent will always try to make a name for themselves by criticizing other people and hopefully getting some attention and perhaps increasing their credibility,” Cousy said.

“So when you respond to something like this, you play into their hands. I won’t do that, but I will defend the firemen and the plumbers that he referenced. And I’ll just give you a few of the names of these firemen that I played with and against during those years. How about Bill Russell, the aforementioned, not too bad a player. Wilt Chamberlain, remember that guy? He wasn’t bad. I guess he must have fought fires as well. But in any event, Wilt Chamberlain.

“Still the best, in my judgment, small forward that ever played the game, a guy named Elgin Baylor. A couple of point guards that weren’t too shabby, my colleague who also had an award created [in his name], guy named Oscar Robertson, who was pound for pound the best player perhaps in the game.”

Chris Paul is a 12-time All-Star compared to Cousy’s 13 appearances.

One thing Paul and Bob Cousy do have in common is their aptitude for leadership. Cousy developed and started the NBA players union in 1954, being named its first president. Paul served in that same role from 2013-2021.

The two men also share similarities off the court. Cousy was a stanch anti-racist advocate during the civil rights era 50s and 60s, when it wasn’t all that popular to so. Paul has also spoke out on issues regarding race, working with commissioner Adam Silver to address some of the issues facing the black community.

Maybe the two have more in common than either Redick or Russo would like to admit.

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Cole Cubelic: ‘A Lot Of Media Wasn’t Prepared To Talk About Nick Saban and Jimbo Fisher’

“There were multiple other messages that were attempted to be delivered by Nick Saban two nights ago that I don’t think anybody paid attention to, and I’m wondering if Jimbo paid attention to them.”

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The comments from Alabama football coach Nick Saban regarding other teams allegedly “buying” their players through the new rules pertaining to name, image and likeness (NIL) deals has set the college football world abuzz.

In his comments, Saban directly accused Texas A&M Head Coach and one of his former assistant coaches at Louisiana State University Jimbo Fisher of unreasonably using NIL deals to recruit college football players, and remarked that the system as a whole has created a fundamental disadvantage for certain programs. Additionally, he stated that Alabama has never tried to lure a player solely based on these deals; however, he left the door open to potentially having to adjust his recruitment strategy to align with the actions of his competitors around him.

Much of the college football world weighed in on the comments, but the voice everyone was waiting to hear was that of Jimbo Fisher, including McElroy and Cubic in the Morning on Jox 94.5 FM in Birmingham, Ala. On Friday morning, the program opened with show co-host Cole Cubelic reacting to the candid response given by Fisher in a news conference carried on multiple media outlets in which Fisher called Saban a “narcissist.”

“When we’ve had coaching feuds before, we’ve had guys go back and forth; we’ve had guys go at one another, sometimes in a little bit more of a subtle way; sometimes maybe a less-confrontational way,” Cubelic said. “Jimbo even said it yesterday – he’s not afraid of confrontation; he’s not worried about it.”

An aspect of what has made this discordance between two highly-accomplished and eminent coaches a story being followed across the college football landscape is the fact that it has taken place within the public sphere. When Saban appeared on SiriusXM Radio and apologized for singling out Texas A&M in his comments from earlier in the week, there was not much emotion involved, according to Cubelic. Fisher’s remarks in his press conference though, were of a completely different sentiment – and may have escalated the situation altogether.

“Debates often turn to arguments as soon as emotions become involved,” Cubelic said. “…Jimbo Fisher yesterday at 10 a.m. – that felt emotional; that felt personal, and that one had to dig deep. Jimbo Fisher said yesterday he doesn’t anticipate things are going to be repaired. I don’t see in a way that these two sort of get things back in line.”

“The bridge is burned both ways,” added show co-host Greg McElroy. “They’ll probably shake hands; do what they need to do pregame. But as far as any love lost? Nah, that’s a wrap.”

A part of this story that remains seminal when reporting or commenting on it is listening to the full extent of the comments from both Saban and Fisher on the situation so as to more effectively contextualize and comprehend the situation. Cubelic said that he did multiple interviews on different programs yesterday, and some of the interviewers, as he anticipated, had solely listened to portions of the comments, rendering them not completely prepared to have a truly pertinent discussion about the topic at hand.

“We said it here on the show yesterday morning — right out of the gate — people are going to take the Miami; the Jackson State; and the Texas A&M stuff, and they’re going to clip it and they’re going to play it and they’re going to read it and that’s all they’re going to pay attention to,” said Cubelic. “There were multiple other messages that were attempted to be delivered by Nick Saban two nights ago that I don’t think anybody paid attention to, and I’m wondering if Jimbo paid attention to them.”

Jimbo Fisher and the Texas A&M Aggies visit Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide on October 8 in a matchup that will sure to be a primary topic of discussion in the weeks and months leading to kickoff.

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