Fired talent filing human rights complaint


Courtesy of Fox News

A TV sportscaster fired after tweeting his opposition to same-sex marriage plans to file a human rights complaint.

Rogers Sportsnet fired Damian Goddard as an on-air host last month following his tweets on a debate sparked by New York Rangers forward Sean Avery’s support of same-sex marriage.

Goddard tweeted in support of hockey agent Todd Reynolds, who used Twitter to voice his opposition to Avery’s position.

Dave Rashford, Sportsnet’s director of communications, said Goddard was fired because “it had become clear that he is not the right fit for our organization.”

Labour lawyer William Gale calls Goddard’s firing a “clear violation” of his freedom of speech and freedom of religion.

Gale says it gives the impression that Goddard’s Catholic beliefs are grounds for dismissal and sets a dangerous precedent for all Canadians.

“I completely and whole-heartedly support Todd Reynolds and his support for the traditional and true meaning of marriage,” Goddard, a lifelong Roman Catholic, tweeted from his personal Twitter account on May 10.

Critics on Twitter were calling for his head because he expressed a commonly held opinion that they didn’t like, Gale said Thursday in a release.

“Rogers answered that call swiftly and publicly,” Gale said.

Goddard said he was terminated 24 hours after expressing a widely held opinion from his personal Twitter account.

“My message to the millions of Canadians participating in social media is that ‘this can happen to you’,” Goddard said.

Rashford said Goddard is aware of the “well documented” reasons why he was terminated by Sportsnet.

“Out of respect for our employees we do not discuss personnel issues in the press,” Rashford said Thursday in an email. “We will, however, bring forward the facts during any proceeding initiated by Mr. Goddard.”

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

Houston's Berman celebrates 25 years


Courtesy of the Houston Chronicle

Houston has always embraced its long-tenured sportscasters, and the latest milestone belongs to KRIV (Channel 26) sports director Mark Berman. Berman celebrates his 25th anniversary with the Fox-owned station this month.

In a business where longevity sometimes is based on past athletic accomplishments or on-camera eye appeal, Berman has been able to thrive through hard work and sheer tenaciousness.

“I wake up in the morning, and my first thought is ‘What can I do to separate myself from the pack?’” Berman said. “And when I go to bed at night, my last thought is ‘What can I do tomorrow to separate myself from the pack?’”

Berman’s official start date was June 12, 1986. He has spent the last 23 years as Channel 26’s sports director after earlier stints at KIKK radio and KOSA-TV in Midland-Odessa. He was born in Houston, grew up in Hempstead and graduated from the University of Houston.

“While I’m proud of everything we’ve done at FOX, I’m even more proud of the fact my daughter, Jessica Berman-Gault, has been working in this market since April 2008,” he said. “She is a news prodcuer at Channel 11.”

Read more at the Houston Chronicle where this story was originally published.

Petition seeks to have Scully call Series


Courtesy of the New York Post

Vin ScullyLegendary Dodgers voice Vin Scully would be calling this year’s World Series on Fox — if his fans had their say.

Scully, 83, who’s called Dodgers games for 62 seasons — starting in 1950, when the team was in Brooklyn — still works around 110 Dodgers games a year.

But he hasn’t called the World Series since 1988, on NBC — when the Dodgers beat their upstate rivals, the Oakland As, in five games.

And, as his career winds down, many of Scully’s fans think his dulcet tones deserve to be heard one more time on the national stage.

“As his career comes closer to an end, I feel that this great man and broadcaster needs to have one more chance to shine when the stage shines the brightest, The World Series,” reads the petition, addressed to “Fox Corporation” and posted yesterday on petitionline.com.

“Join me in this push to have him get one more chance to crown a World Champion in the way it should always be done — with class, dignity and honor, the way he has done it for over 60 years.”

Scully declined to comment yesterday, but insiders say that, while he’s flattered by the petition, he isn’t interested in working another World Series.

As of late yesterday, the petition had accrued over 1,300 signatures.

Joe Buck and Tim McCarver will work this year’s World Series on Fox.

Fox officials had no comment.

Read more at the New York Post where this story was originally published.

KSDK's Cusumano fills new role


Courtesy of the St. Louis Post Dispatch

Frank CusumanoUnlike some of his colleagues broadcasting on the Grand Slam Sports-owned local sports-talk radio stations, KFNS and KSLG, Frank Cusumano doesn’t come across as a guy likely to be found carousing in the wee hours on the East Side. But this week he has been up well before dawn because he’s in a temporary role for his primary employer, KSDK, filling in as a news anchor on the “Today in St. Louis” show that begins at 4:30 a.m.

Cusumano never had worked on the news side of the business before in his 18 years at Channel 5 until pulling three substitute shifts this month before his current week-long assignment of replacing the vacationing Art Holliday began.

“I don’t think the (Walter) Cronkite family has anything to worry about,” Cusumano joked, referring to the legendary CBS news anchor. “I’d rather be at Busch (Stadium), the Scottrade (Center) or the (Edward Jones) Dome covering sports. But Channel 5 is the reason my kids have food on the table, so if they need me to help out I’m willing to do that.”

He said his goal isn’t a full-time move from sports to news, as Holliday did in 1989 and former Channel 5 sports director Mike Bush did eight years ago — and he remains the station’s lead male anchor. It’s a trend not limited to Channel 5. KMOV (Channel 4) sports director Steve Savard fills in occasionally as a news anchor on that station. KTVI (Channel 2) newscaster Randi Naughton used to work in sports.

Cusumano joked that he is taking tips from the movie “Anchorman,” in which Will Ferrell portrays bumbling newscaster Ron Burgundy.

“I take this (news) job seriously and try to do the best job I can — get there early and watch plenty of Ron Burgundy tapes to study anchoring ideas — but I don’t anticipate a permanent move,” said Cusumano, who has won 13 Emmy awards in sports.

But his stint in the news department gives him a different perspective.

“Every time I do a sportscast I always think were not getting enough time to do this show,” he said. “But now that I’ve moved to news I think, ‘Gosh, these sports guys are getting too much time.'”””

Time is an issue for Cusumano, who said he has to get up at 2:15 a.m. then arrives at the station about an hour later to begin preparations for the program. That’s not an easy transition for a guy used to working evenings in sports.

He said he was coaching a basketball team at 10 one night this week and, because he doesn’t take naps, that made for a long next day when he went from the TV station to his radio show. And he realizes those working that early-morning shift are a different breed.

“They’re pros; it’s a whole lifestyle thing for them,” he said. “But it’s been fun for me because the producers make it a nice transition, they make it easy for me.”

Cusumano returns to his roots Sunday for the “Sports Plus” program that airs at 10:25 p.m.

Read more at the St. Louis Post Dispatch where this story was originally published.

Victory was bittersweet for Arnold


Courtesy of the Boston Globe

When the latest Boston sports champion was crowned last Wednesday night in Vancouver, Dale Arnold’s familiar voice was emanating from the other end of the continent. The only broadcaster ever to do play-by-play for the Red Sox, Celtics, Bruins, Patriots, and Revolution was in Tampa, pinch hitting for Dave O’Brien on the Sox radio broadcast, as he does most Wednesdays when O’Brien has ESPN obligations.

Whenever there was a break in the action during the ballgame — and even in a few moments when there wasn’t — Arnold’s eyes would sneak a peek at the monitor showing Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final.

“It happened to be my inning when I said, ‘Patrice Bergeron has just scored to give the Bruins a 1-0 lead,’ ’’ said Arnold, the Bruins’ play-by-play voice on NESN from 1995-2007. “Fifty-eight seconds later, Kevin Youkilis hit a three-run homer to put the Red Sox in charge. It was fun having the two games intersect like that.

“But we knew where Boston fans’ hearts were that night.’’

Arnold knew because he might as well have been describing himself. For all of his versatility, he is a hockey guy at his core, and his heart was in Vancouver.

“Oh, my focus was tested at times,’’ said Arnold. “As soon as the game ended, I bolted down to the clubhouse. I, along with the Red Sox players and other personnel, were all watching the game on the monitors in the clubhouse, and they arranged the buses so that the minute the second period ended, everyone bolted out for the buses and they took right off for the hotel.

“And as we pulled in to the hotel, Kevin Youkilis yelled out, ‘Hey everybody, let Dale get out first, he’s got to see this.’ ’’

The Sox then set up their viewing party at the hotel bar, where the third period of the Bruins’ Cup-clinching 4-0 victory was shown on a couple of big screens.

“The entire Red Sox team was standing around cheering and yelling at the game,’’ Arnold said. “It was something to see.

“I have to admit, I got tears in my eyes as the game ended. I thought about the people who had tried so hard for so long and couldn’t pull it off. I thought of Ray Bourque and Cam Neely and Adam Oates and Don Sweeney.’’

But it was also bittersweet, for painful reasons Arnold candidly discusses. He gave up his role calling Bruins games on NESN in 2007 when the network wanted him to go on the road, something he decided he could not do because of his commitment as cohost of WEEI’s midday program.

He has acknowledged regret about the decision, and his second thoughts were only magnified after WEEI program director Jason Wolfe significantly reduced Arnold’s role in February.

“Is it bittersweet? Sure. Oh, absolutely,’’ Arnold said. “I wouldn’t have gotten to call it, in the same way Jack [Edwards] didn’t get to call it [because the game was on NBC]. But I would have been there.’’

“What makes it bittersweet too is that I don’t really have an outlet to talk about it as much as I’d like.’’

It’s a cruel irony. Before the ascent of 98.5 The Sports Hub, the Bruins’ radio rights-holder, no one in the market talked more about hockey than Arnold. Now that they have won and captured fans’ imaginations, he doesn’t have the forum he once had.

“ ‘Cruel’ is probably the right word,’’ Arnold said. “It’s not exactly a bulletin that I didn’t agree with their vision to begin with. In hindsight, I probably agree with it even less.’’

WEEI seemed to acknowledge Arnold’s value and, indirectly, the unfortunate timing of his demotion, leaning on him for insight during stints on the “Dennis and Callahan Show.’’

Wrote Wolfe in an e-mail, “Dale’s insight into the Bruins has always been outstanding. His passion for the team and the sport is second to none, and his credibility helped us provide superb coverage of the Stanley Cup run.’’

The credibility is nice, Arnold said. But the priority is security.

“Near future, I’m doing what I’m doing now,’’ he said. “Beyond the near future is what I’m working on. I have to make sure I’ve got a job going forward and to take care of my family and pay my bills.

“My first priority, if it works out, is to stay here. This is our home.’’

Read more at the Boston Globe where this story was originally published.

Fordham providing new voices to NYC


Courtesy of New York Newsday

Spero Dedes’ soon-to-be-announced gig as the Knicks’ new radio (and backup TV) voice is the latest step in Fordham’s inexorable march toward complete domination of local sports play-by-play.

The relatively recent alum will fill in for another Fordham man, Mike Breen, when he is unavailable.

Meanwhile, an even more recent alum, Ryan Ruocco, is a leading candidate to succeed Marv Albert as YES’ No. 2 voice for the Nets, whose radio play-by-play man is Fordham grad Chris Carrino.

Elsewhere at YES, Fordham’s Michael Kay is the Yankees play-by-play man, and his old schoolmate Jack Curry is a Yankees reporter.

Bob Papa, the Giants’ radio voice, arrived at Fordham shortly after them. His work is heard on WFAN, whose Giants reporter is Paul Dottino, another Ram.

Did we mention MSG hockey reporter John Giannone? Yup, him too.

And New York play-by-play man emeritus Vin Scully, of course.

Why do I periodically point all this out? Partly because it’s interesting. Mostly to annoy Syracuse alums.

Read more at New York Newsday where this story was originally published.

A rare view from Reds radio booth


Courtesy of Cincinnati.com

You know I’m a big baseball fan…. I spent the last part of the first Reds-Yankees game yesterday in the Reds Radio booth, and saw something I might never see again:

I watched long-time Yankees radio announcer John Sterling in the next booth as he did his signature “Yankees win! Theeeeeee Yankees win!” when the game ended. He was in the visitors radio booth to the right (1st base side), just on the other side of the glass from Marty Brennaman.

I’m sure you’ve heard it on ESPN or somewhere. Here’s my play-by-play of the Yankees’ play-by-play man:

His head was shaking and he gave a fist-pump with his left arm as he said, “Yankees win!”

Then he gave a right arm pump as he started into “Theeeeeeeeeeee Yankees win!,” and ended by pumping both fists into the air. He almost jumped out of his chair!

By the way, former Reds/Yankees outfielder Paul O’Neill was in the booth to the left, as the Yankees TV color analyst on the YES (Yankees Entertainment & Sports) Network. I’ll have more on him, and Marty Brennaman, and tales from the Reds Radio booth in my sports section column Friday. I’ll post a link here when it’s posted.

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

Pendergast replaces Two Live Stews


Courtesy of The Sacramento Bee

Mission Media Group, LLC, which distributes content under the Sporting News Radio name, announced Sean Pendergast as the new host of the “Sean Pendergast Show,” a national sports talk show running weekdays from 1 – 4 p.m. Eastern Time. Pendergast’s show will begin on the network on Monday, July 4, 2011.

“We think Sean is a special talent,” said Mission Media Group’s President, David Gow. “He currently hosts a local sports talk show in the Houston market, and he has a great track record. We’ve watched how he handles callers and drives his show, and we find him to be funny, intelligent, and entertaining. He is poised for the national stage.”

“Our plan is simple. Sean is already very popular in Houston. He is a successful sports columnist and one of the spokespeople for both the Bear Bryant and Lombardi awards,” said Sporting News Radio’s Program Director, Craig Larson. “We’re just going to leverage that popularity to a national level.”

The show will replace Sporting News Radio’s current show, The Two Live Stews. “We are fans of the Stews, but just felt the time was right to do something different with this daypart,” said Gow. The Stews show originates out of the network’s Atlanta affiliate, Sports Radio 790 The Zone, WQXI-AM.

Pendergast is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame. He served as the co-host of afternoon drive for 1560 The Game in Houston from 2007-2010. Most recently he has been the host of the “Sean Pendergast Show” filling the midday slot for 1560 The Game. Pendergast also is a successful sports columnist, and passionately supports both the Bear Bryant Coach of the Year Awards and the Lombardi Awards, serving as one of the annual broadcast partners both organizations.

“As a long time listener to Sporting News Radio, this is a dream come true. I created my show to be different. Affiliates will find my show to be a distinctive blend of sports irreverence, humor, pop culture, listener interaction and guests. I’m confident it will resonate and stand out on a national stage. My goal every day is to be memorable,” stated Pendergast.

Read more at The Sacramento Bee where this story was originally published.

OU extends deal with Clear Channel


Courtesy of Tulsa World

Oklahoma and Tulsa’s Clear Channel Radio properties extended their broadcast agreement Thursday, meaning the Sooners can be heard on KMOD (97.5 FM), KTBZ-The Buzz (AM 1430) and KAKC (AM 1300) through 2016.

“We are delighted to extend our agreement with Clear Channel,” OU athletic director Joe Castiglione said in university press release. “The Tulsa market, with thousands of OU fans and alumni, is very important to us. It is a great feeling to know that our radio rights are in such good hands and that all of the Sooner faithful in and around Tulsa have such great access to our programs.”

KMOD and The Buzz will carry all OU football games. The Buzz will carry Sooner men’s basketball games, with KMOD carrying select non-conference basketball games plus one conference game per week.

The Buzz will also feature football and basketball coaches shows. KAKC and/or The Buzz will broadcast a minimum of 10 women’s basketball games and 10 baseball games.

Read more at Tulsa World where this story was originally published.

Brian Berger joins Portland's Game


Courtesy of Radio Business Report

Brian BergerAlpha Broadcasting’s KXTG-AM Portland has added a new live and local midday show to the line-up. “The Sports Insider” is hosted by Brian Berger and airs 10am-noon weekdays, effective immediately. Berger has been a familiar voice on The Game, where he has hosted the Sports Business Radio show on weekends for the past several years. He now takes over the slot previously held by the syndicated Jim Rome Show.

Berger was a front office exec for the NBA Portland Trail Blazers from 1992-1998. During his tenure the Blazers made a run in the NBA Finals, built a new 21,000 seat arena for which he was the main PR contact and helped coordinate the 1992 NBA Draft event where Shaquille O’Neal was the number one pick. Berger went on to form his own PR firm, Brian Berger Public Relations in 1998 and has since handled projects for high profile individuals and corporations. Before moving to Portland, he was the radio voice for the Loyola Marymount University basketball and baseball teams in LA.

The Game is the play-by-play home of the Oregon Ducks, Portland Trail Blazers, Seattle Seahawks, Portland Timbers and Los Angeles Dodgers.

Read more at Radio Business Report where this story was originally published.