Prior to last night’s NFL Monday Night Football game between the New England Patriots and the Baltimore Ravens, veteran Westwood One Sports announcer Jim Gray (right) cornered Patriots’ QB Tom Brady to ask for comment on the recent dispute over game ball inflation between the Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Giants that’s being called ‘Deflate-gate Two.’ Saying he’d put all that behind him, Brady deftly deflected a second question on what advice he might want to give to the league added, “I’ll leave that to all the patriots fans, I’m sure they have pretty strong opinions too.” Hear Jim’s full interview with Brady HERE … Tickets went on sale today (12/13) for CBS Radio Sports/Talker 94 WIP/Philadelphia’s Wing Bowl — an annual event that attracts thousands of fans and competitive eaters from around the world. Wing Bowl 25, featuring guest appearances by professional wrestler Ric Flair and Grammy Award winning artist Coolio, will take place on February 3, 2017, at Philly’s Wells Fargo Center, with partial proceeds benefitting the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police Survivor’s Fund. Get tickets and more info on the world-famous annual radio station event HERE.
The ‘good sports’ at Entercom/Portland, OR Sports/Talker 1080 The Fan raised more than $173,000 for Special Olympics/Oregon during this week’s 6th annual Radiothon to benefit the organization. The yearly event was anchored by the station’s Primetime with Isaac & Suke afternoon drive (3-7pm) hosts Isaac Ropp and Jason Scukanec (pictured) … CBS Sports Radio will be the exclusive national radio broadcaster of two holiday season college basketball doubleheaders this month. Tipping off the schedule tomorrow (12/10), it’s the Never Forget Tribute Classic, featuring Villanova vs. Notre Dame at New Jersey’s Prudential Center (11:45am/ET), followed by the CBS Sports Classic, with Pittsburgh taking on Penn State at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on December 17th. CBS Sports Radio is programmed and operated by CBS Radio and syndicated by Westwood One.
SiriusXM and Barstool Sports will team up to launch a new daily show hosted by Dave Portnoy, founder of the popular website that takes a humorous, irreverent and unfiltered approach to covering sports, men’s lifestyle issues, pop culture and more. Barstool Radio on SiriusXM makes its debut on January 3rd and will be available to subscribers from noon-2pm (ET) weekdays on the SiriusXM Rush channel … Folks in the Windy City might already feel like they’ve had enough snow this winter, but they just can’t seem to get enough of their 2016 World Series champion Chicago Cubs. So, in the spirit of the season the team’s radio flagship, AM 670 The Score (WSCR), is unwrapping a special audio gift for fans dubbed, The 12 Days of CubsMas — a replay of the Cubs’ dozen best games of the past MLB season, leading off on December 14th with pitcher Jake Arrieta’s 16-0 no hitter last April against division rivals the Cincinnati Reds, and ending on Christmas Day with the Cubs’ historic Game 7 win over the Cleveland Indians to clinch their first World Series title since 1908.
The late Bill King, whose quarter-of-a-century run as the voice of the Oakland Athletics cemented his status as one of the Bay Area’s iconic sports voices, will be honored posthumously next July with the 2017 Ford C. Frick Award — presented annually by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum for excellence in broadcasting. Known for his signature handlebar mustache, passionate delivery and his ever-present “Holy Toledo!” exclamation, King (right) — who died in 2005 — called the revitalization of the Athletics during the team’s ‘Billy Ball’ years in the early 1980s with manager Billy Martin, and narrated the action of the ‘Bash Brothers’ teams of the late 80s that won three American League pennants and the 1989 World Series. “Bill King’s enthusiasm for every game he called carried through the airwaves and into the hearts of fans throughout Northern California for 25 incredible years with the Oakland Athletics,” said Jeff Idelson, President of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in a release announcing the 2017 Frick Award winner. “From his distinctive word choices in describing the action, to his unabashed love of Oakland and the Bay Area, King crafted a career that became synonymous with the action at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum and throughout the sports world.”
In the wake of this year’s Chicago Cubs World Series win, 20-year Cubs play-by-play analyst Pat Hughes (left) has released a 70-minute CD — featuring the catchy title, The Chicago Cubs Win The World Series — that re-lives the Cubbies’ 2016 championship run and all of the post season action and glory. Find out more about the CD and how to purchase what will likely become a collector’s item on the AM 670 The Score (WSCR/Chicago) website HERE … TuneIn announces an expansion of its National Football League partnership, with the launch this season of 20 new NFL “team stations” that give pro-football fans 24/7 mobile access to live and on-demand content from their favorite team. The digital team stations are produced and programmed by the 20 (out of 32) teams currently participating. “In just over a year, our partnership with the NFL has exceeded our expectations with the value that live games and on-demand content have added to the TuneIn user experience,” said TuneIn’s Chief Content Officer Kevin Straley. “We’re excited for the opportunity to deepen our relationship with the NFL down to the club level by launching team stations that bring fans even closer to their favorite team, no matter where they are.”
Following the departure earlier this year of now WBAP/Dallas Program Director Kevin Graham, after a six-month search WEEI/Boston has filled that position by creating a new, three-person “program leadership team.” Current WEEI Assistant Program Director Joe Zarbano has been upped to Program Director, joined by Ben Kichen, who moves up from Senior Producer to Executive Producer. Rounding out the new programming trio is Carlson Mozdiez, who gets promoted from Director of Integrated Marketing Strategies to the new position of Director of Operations for Entercom/Boston, with a special emphasis on the operations of WEEI.com. Commenting on the lengthy search that preceded the announcement of an all in-house solution, Entercom/New England VP and Market Manager Phil Zachary said, “With its massive broadcast reach and associated digital assets, the WEEI brand is arguably among the most influential and complex in all of broadcasting. Many of our outside candidates simply couldn’t get their arms around all of it. As each month passed, it became clear to me that we had the talent right here in Ben, Carlson and Joe. Plus they each have that inimitable DNA of the true Boston sports fan.”
IN OTHER WEEI NEWS: After recently saying good-bye to afternoon co-host Jerry Thornton — who left the Entercom Sports/Talker last month to join Barstool Sports as a senior columnist — newly minted WEEI PD Joe Zorbano reports Rich Keefe (left) is joining Dale Arnold and Michael Holley as the third voice on the station’s weekday Dale & Holley PM drive show (that also airs regionally across New England via the WEEI Sports Network). Keefe comes aboard from CBS Radio’s crosstown Sports/Talker WBZ-FM The Sports Hub, where he’s served in a variety of roles over the past decade. “Rich brings an entertaining, opinionated and fresh outlook on the Boston sports landscape,” said Zarbano. “I have no doubt he’ll be a great addition to the show.”
Super Bowl champion and former New York Giants defensive end Chris Canty has joined ESPN New York 98.7FM’s (WEPN) Alan Hahn and Rick DiPietro as the newest member of the station’s weekday Hahn & Humpty show (noon-3pm). Canty (left) — who has been a contributor to the station since ending his playing career last year — will also continue to serve as a host of the weekend NY’s Game Day block, that airs Sunday mornings on the ESPN owned and operated flagship … Sports Radio 94 WIP/Philadelphia and Major League Baseball’s Philadelphia Phillies have extended their broadcast partnership, with a new deal that will keep the team’s play-by-play radio broadcasts on the CBS Radio-owned Sports/Talker for the foreseeable future. Since 2004, Phillies’ games have aired on CBS Radio/Philadelphia stations — the last five of those seasons on WIP. Phillies hometown announcers Scott Franzke, Larry Andersen and Jim Jackson will all be back in the radio broadcast booth as part of the newly inked deal that kicks-off with the broadcast of the team’s first Spring Training game next February 24th.
Nielsen reports that November was another high-performing month for Sports/Talk radio, corresponding with the annual fall upswing for the format, which Nielsen tracks each year. According to an analysis of November PPM ratings, the ratings service reports, “Sports stations across the U.S. stayed hot this month with Millennial listeners, those aged 18-34, by matching October’s record high 4.2% share — the best we’ve seen in PPM measurement.” Sports/Talk also showed strong ratings overall (6+) and with listeners 25-54, maintaining a solid 5.4 and 6.2 share level respectively — the same shares the format achieved in both of those demos in November 2015 PPM ratings. Get more details and analysis from the Nielsen Insights page HERE.
iHeartMedia/Columbus, OH has flipped Alternative rocker The X (WXZX) to Sports/Talk, under the new moniker Sports Radio 105.7 The Zone. Along with a new local morning show hosted by Bruce Hooley and Maddie Spielman, 105.7 The Zone also features the full linepup of FOX Sports Radio national personalities, including Dan Patrick, Rich Eisen, Colin Cowherd, Jay Mohr, JT The ‘Brick’, Jason Smith and Ben Maller. 105.7 The Zone is now also the Columbus radio home of the NBA Cleveland Cavaliers and the NFL Cincinnati Bengals. Commenting on the format flip, iHM/Columbus VP/Programming Michael McCoy said, “Columbus has one of the best sports fan bases in the country and they finally a have a new destination for Columbus based sports and entertainment radio in the morning, plus the best national line-up available the rest of the day.”
Braggin’ Rights: AM 670 The Score (WSCR/Chicago) Operations Director Mitch Rosen checks in to brag just a little bit about the CBS Radio Sports/Talker’s ratings in the wake of this year’s World Series run-up and ultimate win by the Chicago Cubs. “It’s the first year Cubs games were heard on WSCR and the first time in history that a Cubs’ World Series victory was broadcast on radio,” says Rosen. “On November 2nd, over one million people listened to WSCR throughout the day, including the extra inning Game 7. There were times during Game 7 that half of all Chicago radio listeners were tuned into The Score!” … The Wall Street Journal reports that Amazon is “exploring an ambitious push to infiltrate the last bastion of traditional pay-television: live sports.” WSJ says Amazon has been in talks with the NBA, MLB and NFL for the rights to carry live games. Read more HERE.