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Under The Radar – August 29, 2016

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I’ve been on the road recently which has made writing a bigger challenge than usual. As a result, a number of sports media news items have taken place yet been underreported. To make sure you’re up to date on what’s happening in the sports media universe I bring you the latest edition of “Under The Radar“. As a reminder, if you or your company have a future news item to share please email it to JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me.

  • Congrats to Chadd Scott who has shifted from programming sports radio station 1010XL in Jacksonville to overseeing content for the website Gridiron Now. The popular SEC football driven website has grown tremendously since its launch in September 2015, creating a need to have someone like Scott more involved in the day to day operations of the brand. With his change in position, 1010XL is now searching for a new Program Director. Interested parties can apply by sending their materials to executivejobs@gridironnow.com.
  • ESPN LA 710 is expected to make an announcement soon about its new weekday lineup. The radio station has been working to increase local programming in morning drive, and find a strong partner to join Marcellus Wiley in afternoons. According to sources, Jorge Sedano and Keyshawn Johnson will team up in mornings. Kelvin Washington will shift to afternoons to join Wiley. No changes are expected on the station’s midday programs. With Sedano moving to Los Angeles, network sources say Sarah Spain is likely to assume Jorge’s role on the ESPN Radio Network alongside Israel Gutierrez.
  • Last week was one of the most chaotic weeks in Philadelphia sports radio history. It began with Crossing Broad reporting that producer Pat Egan at 97.5 The Fanatic created a fake African American caller named Dwayne from Swedesboro and had been phoning into Mike Missanelli’s show for two years. The controversy resulted in a suspension for three members of The Fanatic, and WIP terminating afternoon host Josh Innes. One person who took notice was Tony Bruno, who previously worked for both brands as a co-host with Innes, and a teammate of Missanelli’s. If you haven’t heard his podcast, take a listen. His opinions on the individuals involved and the situation that unfolded are as strong as they come.
  • KNBR‘s parent company Cumulus Media remains locked in a battle with the SAG/AFTRA union over wages for the station’s employees. Representatives for 35 employees say that despite KNBR being one of Cumulus’ top five revenue generators (they own 453 stations), staffers are being paid minimum wage ($13 an hour). The union is asking for $17 an hour for off-air employees, and $30 an hour for on-air people. Cumulus management says the union’s claims are false, and that they’ve offered employees increases ranging from 3 to 16.3 percent, while the union continues to press for unreasonable increases as high as 145 percent.
  • Former WEEI morning man John Dennis conducted an interview recently with Newscenter 5 in Boston. When asked about his departure from the popular “Dennis and Callahan” program he said his relationship with co-host Kirk Minihane wasn’t strong, but it never stopped the show from performing over the past three years. He talked about being tired and glad to not wake up anymore at 3:30am. When asked to describe Callahan he called him a good columnist who should write more. He labeled Minihane as someone who is complicated.
  • Speaking of WEEI, the radio station has made a few producer changes. The station has brought back Chris Curtis to help produce the morning show. Paul Chartier has shifted to middays where he’s now producing Glenn Ordway, Lou Merloni and Christian Fauria.
  • Staying in Boston, congratulations are in order for Mike Felger and Tony Massarotti who were named Boston’s favorite local sports radio show by Channel Media and Market Research. The company surveyed nearly 14,600 Boston sports fans and The Sports Hub’s afternoon show led the voting for best local program with 29% of the vote. Felger also was named favorite local radio personality, and came in second to NESN’s Tom Caron as favorite local TV personality.
  • Former Detroit Sports 105.1 Program Director and On-Air host Dave Shore will be doing some sideline reporting for ESPN Radio’s NFL and College Football games. Shore’s first assignment is this Saturday working the Georgia-UNC game. He’s also looking for his next permanent radio opportunity and can be reached via email by clicking here.
  • 1500 ESPN in Minneapolis has hired a new Minnesota Vikings reporter and analyst. Matthew Coller has accepted the position and left WGR in Buffalo where he spent nearly six years serving as a producer, reporter and on-air contributor and host.
  • 104.9 The Horn in Austin, TX has hired Brad Kellner as producer of “Mornings with Bucky & Erin” featuring Bucky Godbolt and Erin Hogan. Kellner will also host two-hour shows on Saturday and Sunday, a one-hour Longhorn-centered show on Tuesday nights, and produce the station’s football pregame show, “Longhorn Gameday“. He spent the past year producing “The Bottom Line” with Sean Adams & Chip Brown for local competitor AM 1300 The Zone.
  • ESPN 1480 in Lincoln is increasing its local programming by an hour. The station revealed today that its midday show “Gregath and Smith” will expand to three hours, airing weekdays from 9a-12p CT. It had been broadcasting 9a-11a. The local duo’s expansion leads to the elimination of Jim Rome’s show broadcasting from 11a-12p CT.
  • Heather Higginbotham Halbrook has left 680 The Fan in Atlanta in order to accept a producer position with Cox Media’s “SEC Country“. Heather worked behind the scenes for 680, most often with Chuck and Chernoff. Donnie Smith is expected to assume her duties.
  • Matt Jones reports that Drew Franklin will be joining his radio program on a bi-weekly basis starting after Labor Day. Jones broadcasts Kentucky Sports Radio which airs throughout the state of Kentucky on many iHeart radio stations. KSR has also promoted Maria Taustine to a FT position.
  • The San Diego Padres will be moving their radio broadcasts next season from the Mighty 1090 to KBZT-FM 94.9 but one thing that won’t be changing are the team’s announcers. The team says Ted Leitner and Jesse Agler will continue to call the action for the 2017 season.
  • Popular sports writer Don Banks revealed that he’s left Sports Illustrated after sixteen and a half years with the popular magazine and website. He says the departure is due to salary cuts, and future news of his next adventure will be forthcoming on social media once he’s ready to announce it.

Sports Radio News

710 ESPN LA To Host Live Awards Show During Super Bowl Week

The evening includes dinner and show, cocktails with a cash bar, and presentation of the 710 Mandy Awards as voted on by 710 ESPN listeners.

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ESPN 710 in Los Angeles is hosting its first ever award show during “Superweek” on February 6th.

The 710 Mandy Awards will take place at Quiet Cannon in Montebello, California. Some of the awards that will be up for grabs will be host of the year, show of the year, producer of the year, and more. The host of the event will be former 710 ESPN LA co-host Keyshawn Johnson, who is now with ESPN Radio’s Keyshawn, JWill, and Max.

Here is a sneak peak of some of what the ESPN Los Angeles team has in store for the inaugural event.

The evening includes dinner and show, cocktails with a cash bar, and presentation of the 710 Mandy Awards as voted on by 710 ESPN listeners.

A live version of “Family Feud” will also be played featuring the 710 hosts and for the first time ever, “Ask Sli” where a live audience can ask host of the Travis and Sliwa show Allen Sliwa anything they want.

Tickets can be purchased for only $25 with the dinner included for the event in what makes for a very fun and enjoyable event for a fraction of what it would normally cost to go to an event of this magnitude.

Live coverage of the event will be across 710 ESPN Los Angeles’s social media platforms.

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Sports Radio News

Michael Irvin Tells Parkins & Spiegel How He Learned What Guacamole Was

“Irvin prefaced the story by saying that he has loved avocados since he was a kid.”

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NFL Network analyst and First Take fighter Michael Irvin was the guest of Danny Parkins and Matt Spiegel on Tuesday. 670 The Score’s afternoon hosts asked The Playmaker what his favorite fruit was. It led to a story from Irvin about a recruiting trip that ended in a Mexican restaurant.

Irvin prefaced the story by saying that he has loved avocados since he was a kid. His mother used to clean houses and one of her clients would often send her home with a few avocados. That is how he was first exposed to them.

Fast forward to Michael Irvin’s high school years when he was being recruited to play college football. He was taken to a Mexican restaurant where he saw guacamole.

Irvin told Parkins & Spiegel that he told the waiter “whatever you do, do not put that green, it looks like bird doo doo, on my plate. I can’t even take it. I can’t even stand looking at it.”

Later in the meal, he saw the same waiter walk by with avocado and he asked if he could have some. The waiter said that Michael Irvin had said earlier that he didn’t want it.

“I didn’t say that,” Irvin said. “I said I don’t want that bird doo doo.”

He says that is when one of the people he was dining with spoke up and said “Michael, the bird doo doo is avocado.”

“We asked you for you’re favorite fruit and you had a fruit story. That is why you are one of one,” Danny Parkins responded. “You are Michael Irvin and you are the best man.”

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Sports Radio News

Bobby Valentine Tells Boomer & Gio Donald Trump Photo Sunk Him

“Valentine ran as an unaffiliated candidate and fell to Democratic State Rep. Caroline Simmons in the Stamford mayoral race.”

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Courtesy: WFAN

Former MLB manager and ESPN baseball analyst Bobby Valentine joined WFAN’s Boomer and Gio this week to discuss his mayoral campaign in Stamford, Connecticut. 

Valentine ran as an unaffiliated candidate and fell to Democratic State Rep. Caroline Simmons in the race. He claims that a decades-old picture with him and former President Donald Trump sunk his chances.

“We had a photo taken together in 2000 for the World Series and so the last day of the campaign all around the neighborhoods, a picture of Donald and Bobby with the quote ‘only poor people and dumb people pay taxes,’” Valentine told Boomer and Gio about the photo that circulated around the town on Election Day.

“That really helped with the minority vote in my town,” Valentine said sarcastically.

It wasn’t all bad news for Valentine, who was enamored with the campaign-building process, among other things.

“Built it [the campaign] from scratch, which was a wonderful experience” Valentine explained. “Figuring out how to get volunteers together, and money together, and office, and headquarters together. We actually ran a six-month—perfectly clean—campaign. Not one negative word mentioned the entire time. Got 14,000 votes, more than any non-Democrat ever got in our city, and almost won that thing.

“I’m glad that I was the candidate, and I’m also glad that I’m not the mayor because it’s really a tough job. I got four years of my life back when the votes came in.”

Valentine worked at ESPN for a few years in the early part of the 2010s before re-entering the managing circuit with the Boston Red Sox. He famously managed the Mets to one of their two World Series appearances this century in 2000.

“It’s a little bit of the seven-year itch,” Valentine said when asked why he’s always looking for the next obstacle. “I did seven years in Texas; seven years in New York; seven years in Japan; seven months in Boston. Then I did seven years at Sacred Heart. So, yeah, it’s all about the sevens.”

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