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Under The Radar – August 29, 2016

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@sportsradiopd.com.

  • 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.
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