Sports Media

Some thoughts on 95.7 The Game parting ways with John Middlekauff and Chad Doing

After a long period of relative stability, 95.7 The Game program director Don Kollins has overseen several changes at the Entercom sports talk station in a matter of weeks. Not long after wooing the Warriors to 95.7, Kollins told John Middlekauff and Chad Doing their services were no longer needed.

Joe Fortenbaugh and Lorenzo Neal hosted Tuesday’s morning show, followed by Zakariah and The Guru from 10-to-noon. The station’s website was changed Tuesday morning, with bios for only Fortenbaugh and Neal listed on the morning show’s page and no mention at all of “Haberman & Middlekauff” (otherwise known as “Haberkauff”).

I was asked about possible changes via Twitter yesterday morning on my way to the airport, confirmed the changes while going through security, and Jason Barrett (who probably has a source or two at his old station) reported the changes just before noon. And now I’m writing about the changes while on United’s flaccid WiFi network, so this story may never get published.

***Update: this story was finally published on Wednesday, after a ridiculously long travel day that saw our infant carseat end up in L.A. We never went to L.A.

Since the news broke long ago, I might as well throw out some hypotheses on why Doing and Middlekauff are no longer with the station.

1. It’s been rumored for a while that John Tournour (J.T. The Brick) will eventually host a show on 95.7, possibly in the mid-morning slot once held by Haberkauff.

This makes a lot of sense if you look at where 95.7 is trending. Tournour is already a regular guest on the station, and with the Raiders looking like a potential AFC West contender, getting a well-known host who does podcasts for Raiders.com seems like a natural fit. He also fits the station’s M.O. If we’re comparing 95.7 to KNBR, there’s no denying that 95.7’s hosts are louder than KNBR’s, and not just because FM and AM don’t sound the same. Just look at the lineups (full-time hosts only):

95.7: Joe Fortenbaugh, Lorenzo Neal, J.T. The Brick(???), Greg Papa, Damon Bruce, Chris Townsend (we can probably throw Zak and Guru in here as well, as they’re on fairly often)

KNBR 680: Brian Murphy, Paul McCaffrey, Larry Krueger, Gary Radnich, Bob Fitzgerald, Rod Brooks, Tom Tolbert, John Lund, Ray Woodson

95.7 tried to lure Krueger over from KNBR two years ago. Other than his love for the Giants and 49ers turning off fans who wish their favorite station focused on the Oakland teams 99% of the time, he’d fit in on KGMZ as well. However, it’s tough to deny there’s an overall difference in tone and volume between the two stations.

flight

2. Doing was a versatile radio host who got a raw deal.

Doing moved here from Portland and lost his full-time gig less than two years later, once again illuminating the harshness of this business. He didn’t make waves in the Bay Area, either on the air or on social media, and was part of a three-man show that might not lose anything in the ratings by shedding one person.

Not to say these hosts can’t talk about all sports, but Fortenbaugh is a football/gambling guy (he spent over six years with National Football Post), Neal is a football guy (239 NFL games, two-time All-Pro), and Doing is more of a General Studies kind of sports talk show host … at least from what I could tell. However, this could’ve been a situation where they figured they could get the same output from two hosts instead of three, or they’re looking at reshuffling the remaining hosts and Doing was one of the two odd men out.

haberkauff

3. Middlekauff is another football guy (former scout for the Eagles), so the timing here is interesting.

Since he was let go and not Haberman, Kollins’ decision could’ve been a matter of taste. Then again, with 95.7 adding their third professional sports team and possibly bringing The Brick on board, both terminations could’ve been driven by ratings and/or finances. That’s usually the case when radio stations let hosts go, anyway. However, if Middlekauff — who joined 95.7 originally as a part-time football contributor — vanishes completely, with no more appearances as a guest or postgame Raiders analyst, we may have our answer here.

4. There could be a few more changes in store for The Game, beyond adding a midday Brick.

If Haberman stays on in a full-time role and the 10-to-noon spot goes to Tournour, Haberman could a morning or evening show candidate, although his work for Comcast doing pre/post for Kings games would conflict with a show that starts at 7 pm. Greg Papa has a rotating group of cohosts — Dan Dibley seems to appear most frequently, followed by Chris Townsend, John Dickinson and Roxy Bernstein in some order. They may want to lock down a permanent partner for Papa. Could Haberman be that guy, or are the other four I mentioned auditioning for that spot?

Also, and this is just for giggles … wouldn’t it be something if they hired Ray Ratto? They wouldn’t pit him against Tolbert for obvious reasons. (Could you imagine “Bruce & Ratto”? No, no you can’t.). But with the way the region’s sports talk stations like to poach each other’s talent, it would certainly make the RADIO WARZ a little more interesting.

69 Comments
67 comments
Highlighter_Guy
Highlighter_Guy

Chad was awesome in Portland and he didn't get enough "facetime" on that show in SF. I'm glad he's back in Portland so he can go back to Doing his thing, heh.  Did you guys ever get to hear SEC Guy or Snow Cone Guy??? Comedy gold.

JobsForYou
JobsForYou

what Ernest replied I'm shocked that a mother can get paid $7410 in 4 weeks on the internet . look at this now---------->> Start.Jobs14.Comllllllll

Pas72867
Pas72867

In my opinion Guru and Zakaria should have been let go. You can hear the IQ drop as soon as Zach bellows "Bay Area". Stupid is as stupid does.

RaiderClay
RaiderClay

I agree. Ever since Bruce got engaged to be married it seems like he's matured big time. He's respectable and has good well thought takes on sports and life. Good for him.

Otis Byrd III
Otis Byrd III

@RaiderClay For real. He does seem happier at times, and I guess he has matured a little bit. Plus he's older now. He's in his 40's..... Damon Bruce was engaged a couple of times before, but it seems like he's found a real match with his current fiance. 

I'm happy for him that he found love and found a woman that likes what he does for a living. For many years, Damon Bruce used to tell people that wanted to get into broadcasting to stay single. LOL. As with any profession, if the person you're with likes what you do, then that's even better. They're a keeper.

JonCruz
JonCruz

Was wondering what was going on over there. At least they kept their best hosts which is Greg Papa & Chris Townsend. Never really got into Chad, Jo & Lo. I thought the morning show was better before they started when they had rotating hosts like Henry Wofford, Steinmetz, John Dickinson & even brought in Brad Gilbert for some shows. Haberkauff, those 2 sounded too much alike, I couldn't tell them apart. Towny is actually better when he hosts by himself, but sounds good with Papa. Zak & Guru fit well at night as that's when the younger end of the demo listens the most. And the 3 Amigos had a good vibe going, I actually listened to them when they covered for Haberkauff for a week. All I ask as a loyal listener is to have at least 2 decent shows. So far, the only 1 consistently listen to is the noon show with Greg Papa, & if he's off, I tune out. I hope this station gets better

Otis Byrd III
Otis Byrd III

@JeremyPulis @JonCruz I totally agree. Damon still has the best show on either station. Yeah, Damon can be controversial at times, but you got to like the insight, knowledge, passion, energy, and entertainment the guy brings to every show. Never really mails in a show.

ImmaGyOnwine
ImmaGyOnwine

Chris Townsend and the super reporter should get the morning show. Super bummed they got rid of haberkauff =l

JonCruz
JonCruz

I know Towny, he wouldn't like it. He's more of an afternoon/evening guy. No one likes getting at 4am, especially him. I honestly don't know what they're gonna do for that morning show.

Otis Byrd III
Otis Byrd III

@JonCruz Yeah, I remember when Townsend did the morning show with Bucher and Huff. It seemed like they used to complain so much about being up early in the morning. That show was kind of doomed from the start just because of that. He had 3 people that weren't morning people hosting a morning show. 

I was like, yeah, it sucks to be up so early in the morning, but most of us and most of their listeners have to wake up early to be at work everyday during the work week at 8AM. They only had to work 4 hrs and their work day for the most part was done, while the rest of us are stuck at work from 8AM to 5PM.... Huff kind of brought them down more because he complained the most about being up early. Huff was a ballplayer, and most of the time ballplayers aren't early risers.

I agree, Townsend is better in the afternoons and evenings. I'm guessing Townsend will continue to co-host with Greg Papa some days and do A's and Raiders pregame and A's and Warriors postgame.  Not sure if he will be part of the new Warriors 90-min pregame show on 95.7 though.

Toby
Toby

Joe Fortenbaugh is hard on the ears that early in the morning.  He's that know it all loudmouth at the office you try to avoid, so why would I want to start my day with that?  Chad Doing was the mellow funny creepy dude that was great to listen to in the morning because you didn't know what to expect.  Lorenzo Neal is only listenable when he's asked about locker room insight or a pro's perspective on things, but that's very rare.  Most of the time he's just talking for the sake of talking.

JeremyPulis
JeremyPulis

@Toby I don't have an issue with the morning show. I think Joe is the best one on the morning show, but I think Chad was the middle ground between the two. It sucks he got a raw deal.


Highlighter_Guy
Highlighter_Guy

@JeremyPulis Plus, he came straight from Portland, where he was an enthusiastic Blazer supporter. I'm glad he's back where he belongs. I hope he does well.

RaiderClay
RaiderClay

Chad Doing, Get that Denver Donkey, Elway Lover off the Raider nation Station!!! It made no sense bringing him to 957 in the 1st place. That's like getting a Dodger fan to host a show on KNBR. 


Kollins needs to blowup that whole morning show. Neal, great player has some insight on the football hour but not a everyday host. I serious can't understand what he's saying sometimes. Bring Dibbley and John Dickenson to the mornings. Both have good knowledge and can talk about all of the teams.

snarkk
snarkk

Lo Neal is a joke.  I can't listen to that guy.  He knows nothing, absolutely nada about sports other than football -- he analyzes them like they're playing football.  Plus, half the time his statements just are non-sensical.  Obviously somebody writes his interview questions, and he barely can get those right.  That Chad dude was the only one of the three with a lick of sense, so of course they canned him.  Both area sports stations are a wasteland...

Groundhog66
Groundhog66

Agreed, Neal is ridiculous...and very hard to even listen to.

As far as getting rid of Chad, I certainly won't miss him referring to everyone as "My man".

aeolus24
aeolus24

Bit disappointed because I was just getting used to them. All but stopped listening to KNBR other than Tolbert. Don't care for Lund, I actually like Rato better, despite his attitude because of his extensive sports knowledge and he is a walking compendium of sports over the past 4 decades. 

4tno510
4tno510

Am I the only one here that actually doesn't really care about doing or middlekauff, Joe and lo bearable to listen too. I like Joe because he knows Stats and numbers and I lo's personality on the show.

Pivotal Pete
Pivotal Pete

Bummed that they kicked out Chad. Really got to enjoy the three and he was the anchor or moderator for Joe's statistical rants and Lo's humor and passion. They seemed to gel after a while and it was both entertaining and informative. Without him something is missing.

On the other hand, it could never be as bad as the KNBR morning mess where they talk more about the Dead, sound effects, and Lee Hammer (who freaking cared!?), plus all their good buddies. It's awful-- and there are more of them than The Game when you add PCinn (Razor Jr) and Kate Scott. If they didn't have Kruk, Kuip and a few other interview to break up the prattling nonsense I'd never hit 680 in the AM.

Anyone for a 24-hour Mr T station??

imira71
imira71

YOU ALL ARE SOME WEAK CRY BABY WOMEN IF YOU CANNOT RESPECT MIDDLEKAUFF'S FACTS. ANNOYING DEMOCRAT VOTING MORON MINDED FOOLS WHO THINK JOHN DIDNT KNOW WHAT HE WAS TALKING ABOUT. THEY HAD GREAT CHEM TOGETHER AND 95.7 LOST A FAN

Snyd
Snyd

Now Guy Haberman is gone. Guessing he probably goes over to Comcast.

ThomasSnell
ThomasSnell

The morning show doesn't work for me with just the two of them, it needed all 3 to round out each others personalities and strengths and weaknesses.  If they keep it just Joe and Lo, I will be tuning out very soon.  Too bad, because I liked the show.

James
James

Couldn't agree more. I thought there was a good dynamic and chemistry between the three of them and the show felt much more balanced. Now the show just doesn't feel the same. I had recently tuned into these guys because I got tired of hearing the same old same old from the morning hosts on knbr. I'll continue to tune in to the show and see if I feel any differently going forward. If I don't then I'll eventually lose interest and will stop listening

Otis Byrd III
Otis Byrd III

@James I agree with you guys. I thought Chad, Joe, and Lo weren't really that bad. It was much better than Murph and Mac, and they seemed to have more energy and kept the show going. The show isn't the same now. Joe can't lead. He always sounds awkward.  It will be interesting to see if they add another host to the morning show.

I'm now listening to the Audible (Drew Hoffar, Kevin Frandsen, and  comedian and former Three Amigos host Rudy Ortiz) on KNBR 1050 in the mornings. Yeah, they're kind of raw, but they might get better with time, just like Chad, Joe, and Lo.

Dudeman2134
Dudeman2134

I've tried giving 95.7 a chance and the only show that grabbed me was The Rise Guys way back when. All  of The Games shows always came across to me as a worse version of Mike and Mike on ESPN radio, and I didn't think that was possible. I've listened to both Doing and Middlekauff for short bursts throughout the morning and they just seemed like cookie cutter hot take hosts with little substance or depth. 

 I'm so glad I joined the dark side and got Sirius in my truck and found sports shows that keep me engaged and laughing. Tolbert was the last bastion of quality Bay Area radio then KNBR got the bright idea to grab John Lund from 95.7. I listened for a few days then gave up.

beandoggerel
beandoggerel

Ratto?! Nah man, I'm telling you, in the wake of the Giants' meltdown, 95.7 needs to grab Ralph! Actually, get both of them. Barbieri and Ratto. Together. The pitch is high. The takes are hot. 

VonBossanova
VonBossanova

Venting- I don't know HOW decisions are made on Radio War zone-sometimes no logic is apparent so,,, I try from being enamored with any radio combo these days?

*Joe and Lo in that order CRACK me up with their banter-and keep me riveted with sports passion.

* I saw nothing wrong with Chad? But then I"m still wondering what happened to the friggin "Rise Guys?" 

* Frankly Haberman and Middlekauf- well I always wound up switching back to 680-Gary and Larry (especially since losing the Lame Fake-Kate Scott)

*Papa - punches on and on because he' f***kin Papa!!  It's curious how he ebbs and flows with each different co-host during the week? Dibbs might work the best but refreshing to hear different day combos! Wonder if that works for 95.7's mystery criteria?

*And as far as John Laughing Lund goes now on with Tom.(good riddance from THE GAME! ..Lund has reached the greatest heights of annoying levels of giddy-over the top (kiss ass) laughter with Tolbert's show!  Like a girl who's desperately trying to get laid by laughing at everything and being the most putrid "yes" man since Ed McMahon!

*And last-----if you can get them ....yeah bring in Tony Bruno or Ray Ratto to THE GAME anytime you please!

4putt4par
4putt4par

@BASportsGuy I wish they got rid of Joe instead. I don't know who's more annoying, him or Bucher from a few years ago.

Otis Byrd III
Otis Byrd III

@4putt4par @BASportsGuy Yeah, out of the whole morning crew,  I would've let go of Fortenbaugh. He doesn't seem like a fit in this market, and he always talks about gambling lines on games. No offense to him, but he sounds like a gambling idiot at times. He has good sports passion though, which could be why he's sticking around for now. Fortenbaugh at times kind of reminds me of Brandon Tierney when he was on 95.7. I guess it's because they're both from the East Coast and have that same New York, Philly, Boston East Coast sports talk show host style.... Chad Doing actually wasn't bad, and I was surprised he was let go, but I wonder if he will be going back to Portland.

Kind of too bad Middlekauf is gone too. I agree with others questioning why he was fired now, at the start of football season. He had good football knowledge, and like others have said, he can kind of take you into the thought processes of the front offices of some NFL teams since he was a scout for the Eagles.

Bucher wasn't bad, even though he was stronger talking basketball. Him and Townsend had an ok/decent show when they were on in drive time in the afternoons. The show wasn't as good when they moved to mornings and they added Aubrey Huff.  Aubrey Huff killed the show, and it didn't help all 3 of them weren't morning people.

tkwill49
tkwill49

@BASportsGuy I still think Damon Bruce and Tony Bruno would be an unbelievable morning show. But DBruce would never give up current slot.

Otis Byrd III
Otis Byrd III

@tkwill49 @BASportsGuy Yeah, that would be an interesting show, but Tony's weekly segments with Damon aren't long enough like they were when Tony used to be on with Gary. Gary and Tony probably could've did a show back in the day. Damon and Tony probably could now, but they don't have the same exact chemistry that Gary and Tony did back in the day.

AJ_Strong
AJ_Strong

@tkwill49 @BASportsGuy I disagree about Damon never giving up his current slot. While I'm sure the hours wouldn't be the greatest, he'd still be in a drive time slot and he would never have to worry about having his show preempted or eliminated altogether because of A's baseball, a Thursday football game, etc...

Snyd
Snyd

@AJ_Strong @tkwill49 @BASportsGuy Think about how often Damon's show will be shortened/cancelled now with Warriors games. 90 minute pre-game shows will start at 6pm for home games, even earlier for road games in eastern and central time zones. 

Otis Byrd III
Otis Byrd III

@Snyd @AJ_Strong @tkwill49 @BASportsGuy It will be like baseball season, as far as Warrior home games go. His show will still go to 6 PM. At least for basketball, it's not everyday, so maybe 2 or 3 days a week depending on the games when the Warriors are at Oracle, his show will be shortened an hour. Yeah, the road will be when it's an issue, and even Greg Papa's show will be pre-empted sometimes for those earlier Midwest, East Coast start time games on the road, here on the West Coast.

I think Damon is ok with this because the Warriors are winning, and I think he will do a lot of his shows from Oracle for Warrior home games, like Townsend and Bucher used to when they were on in afternoon drive time and Bucher was doing sidelines on Comcast for the Warriors. I think if this was back when the Warriors were losing, he would've been pissed. Look at how pissed he gets sometimes when his show gets pre-empted by A's games, because the A's aren't very good. I think Damon is willing to have his show pre-empted if the team that his show is pre-empted for, is good, or if it's for college football or college basketball. I think he even admitted this one time.

Otis Byrd III
Otis Byrd III

@Snyd @AJ_Strong @tkwill49 @BASportsGuy It looks like Damon will be part of the Warriors pregame show most days.  Even though his show will be pre-empted, he will still be on for Warriors pregame. So let's say for Warrior home games, his show ends at 6 PM. He will probably still be on until 6:30 or 7 for Warriors pregame. Former Santa Clara basketball head coach Kerry Keating (sp?) will be part of the Warriors pregame show as well which will be interesting. I think Damon said Steinmetz will be part of the Warriors pregame show as well.

I kind of figured Damon was going to have to be part of the Warriors pregame show in some way, since his show will be pre-empted on most nights during basketball season. I wonder if 95.7 approached Damon regarding this before they acquired the Warriors. Probably not, but you never know.

MiddlekauffJohn
MiddlekauffJohn

@BASportsGuy I'm a failed scout. Failed radio personality. I'm done. \U0001f614 Drunk! Looking for the light at the end of the tunnel.

StraightG408
StraightG408

@BASportsGuy off topic, I know it's cause the Warriors move most likely, but it's weird that 95.7 copied KNBRs colors

FrenchieGSW
FrenchieGSW

@BASportsGuy they shouldve sent Zackaria and Guru packing instead, those guys are atrocious, I just turn off my radio when they come on

Otis Byrd III
Otis Byrd III

@FrenchieGSW @BASportsGuy Zakariah and Guru have actually gotten better since they started. Yeah, they can be annoying at times, but they are good when they are on together. They both have great energy and sports passion, and have interesting debates at times. As far as them as hosts go, Guru is a better host than Zakariah. Guru tones it down a bit when he's on with other hosts, as opposed to Zakariah who still gets riled up when he's on with other hosts. I wasn't a fan of Zakariah at first, but he's not as bad as he was.

Otis Byrd III
Otis Byrd III

@lime @Otis Byrd III @FrenchieGSW @BASportsGuy haha. I see what you did there, but at the same time, it would be kind of cool if they had a bigger platform like KNBR. I'd put them on Sportsphone, with all due respect to Ray Woodson. Imagine them on after Giants games, or if they have a Warrior type postgame show during basketball season now that the Warriors moved to 95.7.

As far as Woodson goes, I would move him to the afternoons to replace Fitz and Brooks. As I've said in the past, I think Woodson's style is better suited for the afternoons than at night/after games.

Alex
Alex

Zak and Guru are hilarious. Thoroughly enjoy that show. Also loved Bucher and Towney when they were together. Damon Bruce needs to go though.

Otis Byrd III
Otis Byrd III

@Alex Oh no, why do you say that? Damon is the man, but I might be biased as I've been a fan of his show since his Sportsphone 680 days.

IMO, the day 95.7 hired Damon was when they changed as a station and became more serious about what direction they wanted to go in. Now look at where 95.7 is compared to KNBR. Yes, KNBR still has better ratings, but 95.7 might have a better weekday lineup and more listenable weekday shows with more substance.

Yeah, Bucher and Townsend had a good thing. Huff ruined it though when they were moved to the mornings and Huff was added. Have you listened to Bucher on his new show on Sirius satellite radio?

Yeah, the Guru and Zakariah are hilarious at times. They're good together,  I like their passion for sports, and they both and have come a long way from when they originally started. Who would've thought these were the two lucky break contestants?

Trackbacks

  1. […] So, over the course of a few days, KGMZ got louder and older. The Brick (age 50) replaces a couple of guys in their 30s from 10-to-noon, and today Guy Haberman announced that he is also leaving the station two days after John Middlekauff and Chad Doing were relieved of their duties. […]

  2. […] So, over the course of a few days, KGMZ got louder and older. The Brick (age 50) replaces a couple of guys in their early-30s from 10-to-noon, and today Guy Haberman announced he is also leaving the station, two days after John Middlekauff and Chad Doing were relieved of their duties. […]

  3. […] Greg Papa’s permanent co-host … until today’s announcement. Dibley replaces Chad Doing, who left the station along with John Middlekauff and Guy Haberman as 95.7 made room for J.T. The […]

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