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Portland TImbersJust days after the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015™ crowns its champion on FOX, FOX Sports’ Summer of Soccer continues as attention turns to the U.S. Men’s National Team’s quest to win the crucial CONCACAF Gold Cup, with FOX Sports play-by-play announcer John Strong serving as the tournament’s lead play-by-play voice.

The U.S. team enters the region’s biennial championship coming off huge away wins over European powerhouse Netherlands and World Champion Germany, and FOX Sports televises every match. Competition begins Tuesday, July 7, and runs through the final on Sunday, July 26, which airs in primetime (8:00 PM ET) on FOX Sports 1 live from Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.

If the U.S. wins the Gold Cup, the team earns a spot in the 2017 Confederations Cup, a high-profile tournament that would give coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s team the luxury of an important tune-up in Russia, host of the following year’s FIFA World Cup.

A play-by-play announcer for FOX Sports’ FIFA WOMEN’S WORLD CUP 2015™ coverage, Strong calls all U.S. Gold Cup matches as well as the championship game. Former U.S. and Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper Brad Friedel joins Strong as the match analyst for USA-Honduras on Tuesday, July 7 (9:30 PM ET) and USA-Haiti on Friday, July 10 (8:30 PM ET). National Soccer Hall of Famer Alexi Lalas works alongside Strong for Panama-USA on Monday, July 13 (9:30 PM ET). Julie Stewart-Binks reports from the sidelines for all three matches, televised on FOX Sports 1.

FOX Sports 1 is home to 11 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup matches, including two quarterfinals, a semifinal and the final. One quarterfinal, Sunday, July 18 (8:00 PM ET,) is scheduled for FOX broadcast network, should the USA qualify, and the remaining matches are carried on FOX Sports 2. All matches feature dedicated studio programming.

In addition to Strong, Steve Cangialosi, Keith Costigan, Glenn Davis, JP Dellacamera and Mark Rogondino also call game action for FOX Sports’ coverage of the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup. Joining Friedel and Lalas as analysts are Warren Barton, Brian Dunseth, Stu Holden, Cobi Jones and Janusz Michallik.

Read more at Fox Sports where this story was originally published.

After a long and arduous medical ordeal that forced him to relearn how to walk, swallow and speak, longtime Colorado Buffs radio voice Larry Zimmer will return to the broadcast booth this fall for his 50th and final season as a broadcaster.

He will be in the press box for CU’s home opener on Sept. 12 and will complete his 42nd season with CU on Nov. 13 when Southern Cal visits Boulder on his 80th birthday. Zimmer, who expects to cover home games only, confirmed his return Thursday.

“I’m very excited about it because I said from the very beginning, I want to go back and do it,” Zimmer said. “I don’t want to use the word obligation, but with the tremendous outpouring of prayers and love and everything I got, (wife Brigitte) would bring me a stack of cards or letters every day in the hospital. It really meant a lot. Every one of them was, ‘We want you back,’ so I feel like I really owe it to the fans to come back and do it.”

Zimmer collapsed at his Lookout Mountain home on Oct. 4 and did not return until Feb. 19. He was in and out of the hospital twice, also spending weeks at a long-term acute care facility and an in-patient rehabilitation center.

The first complication occurred when he vomited into his lungs after being intubated, causing aspiration pneumonia. His vocal cords were damaged and he had to be placed on supplemental oxygen, which he would require for months.

Later he suffered a hematoma in his right leg, caused by blood thinners he was on. That caused nerve damage, and he has only recently been able to walk without a walker or a cane after months of physical therapy. He still has very little feeling on the bottom of his right foot.

Three therapeutic injections into his paralyzed vocal cords restored his ability to speak, and he has been working with a voice therapist. His signature voice has returned, now indistinguishable from what made him famous in Colorado sports.

“His voice has been synonymous with our athletic program going back to the days of the Apollo space program,” athletic director Rick George said. “Whether it has been play-by-play or analyst duties on KOA or serving as a master of ceremonies for many of our functions, Larry Zimmer is CU. He is truly a part of our overall athletic history.”

Zimmer has been overwhelmed by the support he received during his ordeal.

“If that many people took time to write a card and say, ‘We can’t wait for you to get back,’ then it must be important to some people,” Zimmer said.

Read more at The Denver Post where this story was originally published.

OlbermannESPN and Keith Olbermann may be headed toward a tough negotiation to keep the outspoken host on the sports network. Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that ESPN has floated a highly problematic condition for an extension of Olbermann’s initial two-year deal: that he cease engaging in “commentary” on his ESPN2 program.

The issue likely stems from Olbermann’s critical assessment of the NFL’s handling of the Ray Rice domestic abuse scandal that exploded last summer when an elevator video of Rice punching then-fiancee Janay Palmer in the face surfaced after the NFL had imposed a slap-on-the-wrist, two-game suspension on the Baltimore Ravens star running back. Olbermann repeatedly hammered NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. In a lengthy commentary at the top of his Aug. 1 broadcast, he called on the commissioner to “resign” after what Olbermann described as a “weak, damaging and almost enabling reaction” to the episode.
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Beasley Reece out in Philly

July 2, 2015
Courtesy of NJ.com

Arguably some of the television station’s most well-known personalities, CBS3 fired news anchor Chris May, meteorologist Kathy Orr and sports director Beasley Reece on Tuesday as part of an effort to boost ratings, according to news reports.

A source told the Daily News that move is an attempt to “turn things around” due to “unsatisfactory ratings” and the three anchors aren’t the only ones who have been let go.

May tweeted out Tuesday afternoon that his approximately eight-year tenure at the station had come to an end.

Orr, who had been with the station for more than a decade, has been on vacation since last week. Reece, who is both an NFL and news industry veteran, had apparently signed a contract six months ago and “was looking forward to retirement,” as reported by the Philadelphia Business Journal.

There’s no word from management — which also recently underwent a shake-up — on existing plans to replace the three.

Read more at NJ.com where this story was originally published.

ESPN Radio is packing up its bags in Atlanta and moving up the dial. The sport radio network is leaving Lincoln Financial Media’s “Sports Talk 790 the Zone” WQXI to return to “1230 The Fan 2” WFOM on August 17 as part of a multiyear agreement with Dickey Broadcasting.

Rebranded as “ESPN Radio 1230 The Fan 2,” WFOM will pick up all live ESPN Radio talk shows and play -by-play. Sister station “680 The Fan” WCNN is also part of the deal. It will pick up some ESPN play-by-play and some ESPN Radio and TV guests will appear in WCNN’s primetime programming.

Dickey Broadcasting carried ESPN Radio on either WCNN or WFOM from September 2000 until November 2012.

WQXI is being dealt to Entercom as part of its purchase of Lincoln Financial Media.

Read more at Inside Radio where this story was originally published.

The NFL hired two reporters – one as part of its plan to develop a slate of regionally based NFL Media reporters and another to cover league-wide issues for TV and online. James Palmer was hired to cover the Broncos. Formerly of Comcast SportsNet Houston, Palmer will be based in Denver, filling a similar role to reporters the NFL has hired in other markets like Tiffany Blackmon (Atlanta), Albert Breer (Boston), Kimberly Jones (N.Y.), Aditi Kinkhabwala (Pittsburgh), Jeff Darlington (Miami), Stacey Dales (Chicago), Desmond Purnell (Dallas) and Steve Wyche and Omar Ruiz (both L.A).

“We’re trying to build a national reporting staff that’s based strategically around the country,” said NFL Media Group News Editor David Eaton, who added that he does not have a set number of markets that he’d like to fill. “It’s all talent driven, not necessarily market driven.” The NFL also hired Rand Getlin from Yahoo Sports to cover league-wide topics. A former talent agent who holds a law degree, Getlin will be based in L.A. alongside NFL reporters Ian Rapoport and Judy Battista.

Read more at Sports Business Daily where this story was originally published.

For years, ESPN has gone by the nickname of the “The Worldwide Leader In Sports.”

Lately, however, it seems like the cable-TV network has also been the leader in rising costs for Disney (DIS – Get Report), its parent company. Programming and production costs at Disney’scable-TV unit, of which ESPN is its larger component, are expected to rise by “low-teen percentage points” for the company’s fiscal year ended Sept. 15.

In a business in which content is king, the price of acquiring live-sports content is continuing to rise, and ESPN may have to trim costs elsewhere, possibly with its on-air talent and behind-the-scenes employees.
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Some say the Big 12 has become almost a mirror image of the old Big East, a power conference on life support and dealing with infighting while the rest of the power conferences dig in their heels, fortify and get stronger. Oklahoma has wanted to increase the size of the conference since TCU and West Virginia were invited following departures by Colorado (Pac-12), Nebraska (Big Ten), Missouri and Texas A&M (SEC).

The Sooners were the only program vocal about adding Louisville at the time, but that ship sailed with the Cardinals joining the ACC, the only power conference not to take a swipe at the Big 12 and steal a program. OU still wants to add teams if its president is to be believed.

Diehard Big 12 fans point to the Grant of Rights as some sort of assurance that the league is safe from getting poached again like the Big East was (to the point of no return). But even FOX Sports, the company which owns tier 1 rights to the league has staffers questioning the strength of that contract if more than one program gets a good offer and leaves.

One thing that would help the league save some face would be a network like the Big Ten (BTN) or SEC’s (SEC Network), but that has been made almost impossible because the Texas Longhorns have their own Longhorn Network (LHN). It’s become just another reason the Big 12 is looked upon as the new Big East when you start to talk about power conferences.

But who’s to say the LHN wasn’t a good idea? If you look at what the network is airing, the programming would suggest it wasn’t a good idea and has already failed. We’re talking about a sports network that has already run out of things to air. (You can only watch the 2006 Rose Bowl so many times.) Maybe we can get a replay of the 2014 Texas Bowl and relive all two of the rushing yards UT compiled?

It has gotten so bad that the network is now airing fashion shows. A sports network is showing fashion shows. That kind of sums it up. Instead of highlights, previews or sports stories, we get fashion students sashaying down the catwalk.

The Big 12 is far from sunk. Even with skeptics questioning the strength of its current Grant of Rights contract and being the only power conference left out of the College Football Playoffs and no conference network to help promote the league, there is a lot to be excited about in the Big 12. We just can’t figure out what right now.

The only ones really doing well at the moment are the Texas Longhorns themselves. UT gets paid approximately $15 million a year from the network that is co-owned by ESPN and by all estimates, Texas’ partner has already lost tens of millions of dollars on the failed network that shows college fashion shows. It doesn’t help that the Big 12 is partnered with FOX while Texas is partnered with ESPN. These kinds of conflicting choices and business decisions led to the demise of a power conference less than two years ago. Will LHN lead to the demise of another?

Read more at the Best College Sports News Network where this story was originally published.

bob-allenLongtime Houston sportscaster Bob Allen underwent his first round of chemotherapy Monday for a form of T-cell lymphoma and said he will take a leave of absence from KHOU (Channel 11) while he undergoes treatment at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.

Allen, 68, sounded an upbeat note as treatment began, citing his longtime work with the Sunshine Kids charity in updating viewers on his condition.

In a message posted to his @BobAllenKHOU account on Twitter several hours after word of his condition was announced Monday afternoon by Channel 11, the sportscaster wrote, “Overwhelmed by your well wishes. 1st chemo went well. Gonna beat this. For now proud to be worlds oldest Sunshine Kid! Keep you posted.”
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WEEI suspends Minihane

June 30, 2015
Courtesy of Boston Globe

weei-fmKirk Minihane, one of three hosts on WEEI’s “Dennis and Callahan” morning program, was suspended for Monday’s show as punishment for an on-air argument Friday with midday cohost Christian Fauria.

During Friday’s crossover — the period in which the hosts banter as one show signs off and another begins — Minihane and Fauria engaged in a compelling if uncomfortable shouting match.

Fauria, a former Patriots tight end, initiated the conflict on-air by reacting angrily to Minihane’s previous assertion that Fauria would not be on the radio had he not played professional football.
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