Smooth Jazz and More Moves Its Internet Stream to SoniXcast This Fall.

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On September 1st, Smooth Jazz and More will be moving its internet broadcast stream to SoniXCast.

The current situation at Radionomy has made it unbearable for us to do our job properly.  The loss of US listeners on our NobexPartners app combined with the lack of transparency from Radionomy management on continuous technical issues became the final straw for us.  While we’re grateful for Radionomy to allow us to use their servers to broadcast. The constant technical issues leaves us no choice but to take charge of our stream.

Bottom line, we have to protect our brand.

Our new stream address will be available within the next 48 hours.  The Radionomy stream will continue to be available until August 31st or unless the total listener hours per day goes under 130 TLH by the end of the month.  Our new stream is also available for listeners in the United States at our Nobex Partners radio app.

We’ve also decided to purchase a radio broadcasting software called SAM Broadcaster PRO.  This new software will enable us to broadcast more effectively, and will also give us the ability to broadcast live, something we never have done in our 16 year history.

With the move comes the following changes.

  • Radionomy’s morning and afternoon news and weather reports will be discontinued as of September 1st.

Obviously we’re unable to take Radionomy News reports with us to SoniXcast, and to be honest, we’ve found the service to be woefully inadequate and slanted to a center-right position.  However, we’re looking for an alternative news and weather substitute.  Agencies such as the Associated Press and the Canadian Press charge astronomical fees to use their service.  Unless we decide on a sales department, there’s no way we will be able to purchase a news and weather agency service.

  • Sports reports will continue weekday mornings at :15 and: 45 past the hour from 5am to 10am Eastern.

This is in anticipation of the season premiere of “Smooth’s Football Picks” on September 7th, broadcasting for the 2nd year in a row and the 9th year overall.  You can read our NFL picks at our blog at Smooth’s Football Picks here at WordPress.

  • WIN News Updates will also continue to be broadcast at it’s regularly scheduled times (10:30am, 2:30pm and 6:30pm eastern).
  • Our Twitter feed will slow down considerably, as we will no longer have the ability to let you know about what songs are currently available at the exact moment.

We will still give you updated on the latest adds by smooth jazz artists.

  • Our stream will be temporarily unavailable on iTunes until we add it on our own. We will also look to re-add our stream in Tunein in the near future. 
  • SoniXcast’s servers will be based in Canada, making “Smooth Jazz and More” a Canadian internet radio station.

The yearly cost at SoniXcast also includes royalties paid to SOCAN, the Canadian equivalent of ASCAP in the United States.

The move doesn’t come cheap.   The new software costs $300 dollars and our new broadcast home at SoniXcast will cost $93 dollars a year.

With that said, it’s now more important than ever to help support Smooth Jazz and More.  There are two ways to help.  First, you can contribute to our GoFundMe fundraising campaign.   In the last two years, we were received $700 dollars in donations to help offset the cost of our administrative fees.  We thank everyone who have contributed.

You can also help by purchasing items from our gift store at Café Press.  Of any item you purchase at the store, 20% percent goes back to us.

We’re in yet another phase in the evolution of ‘Smooth Jazz and More’.  From our humble beginnings at Live365, to our abrupt move to Radionomy and now to our new home at SoniXcast, we’re continuing to take shape and make our Internet radio station your source for independently produced broadcast radio.

Posted in Internet Radio, Internet Radio Station, Radionomy, SoniXcast, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

3rd Party Radio Apps Prevented by Radionomy to USA Listeners.

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The latest debacle in the Radionomy saga is that listeners in the United States have had access limited to their favorite radio stations via 3rd party radio apps, such as Orange, Streema and Nobex.  Listeners on those radio apps were greeted with a message that, “…this radio station can be heard on radionomy.com.”

Listeners in the United States can still access the radio station via our webstream at smoothjazzandmore.com.  They can also listen to Smooth Jazz and More via the iTunes internet radio directory on their computer.  I’m not experiencing any problems, as I’m currently listening to my radio station in Canada. But if you’ll remember, last year we had a similar issue when they first rolled out the geo-block. Canada was blocked, along with a number of other countries. After two weeks, the block was taken off for Canada, but they left it for countries currently prohibited. Seeing that Radionomy always seem to do things just as the weekend approaches, we’re not likely to get any kind of response or resolution from Radionomy until at least Monday, if any response at all.

It’s pure speculation, but this may be because of a dispute with ASCAP.  The performance rights organization represents songwriters and ensures they get paid for songs played on radio, TV and other media sources.  The organization alerted internet radio producers via email that they were unable to come to an agreement with Streamlicensing and that they would have obtain licensing thru ASCAP or another source before July 31.

That being said, I did put in a word to Vivendi and Universal Music’s PR staff via email and Twitter, asking if they are aware of the issues at Radionomy, since they own 64.4% percent of the company and what they intend on doing about it. I’ll probably get the usual “crickets”, but it’s worth a try. I encouraged all other radio broadcasters do the same.

Right now, moving back to Live365 is not an option for me, as they’re not international, and other streaming services are way out of my price range.

It’s “sink or swim” for me. This is it.

Hang on, the ride is just starting.

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YourMuze.FM Stream No Longer Available

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World-wide listeners to Smooth Jazz and More will be unable to hear our internet radio station via the YourMuze.FM link, as the link is no longer available.  The change took place in February and we just were notified about the change.   All links on out website and blog posts have been removed.

YourMuze.FM was an Internet Radio Directory that allowed stations to link streams for their audience.  The website originated from the Netherlands, and provided an alternate source for listeners in countries affected by Radionomy’s Geo-block.  It relied on donations to sustain itself.  The Geo-block was implemented last year after Radionomy was sued by Sony in US federal district court. That case was settled late last year.

Listeners affected by Radionomy’s Geo-block can purchase a VPN, which will give listeners a US feed of our Radionomy stream. We recommend VPN Express, which has a convenient app with affordable options.

Listeners can also download Opera web browser.  The browser has a built in VPN service and listeners can choose what country to use.

These countries are NOT GEO-BLOCKED:

  • United States of America
  • Canada (Removed July, 2016)
  • Most Central American and Caribbean countries (e.g. Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico)
  • Argentina
  • Peru
  • European Union (28 states – includes the Baltic states, but excludes countries that were formerly part of Yugoslavia)
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • Africa (most countries)
  • China (including. Hong Kong)
  • Malaysia
  • Thailand
  • Singapore
  • Vietnam
  • Indonesia

These countries ARE GEO-BLOCKED:

  • Japan
  • Mexico
  • Taiwan
  • Philippines
  • Brazil
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Russia (except a few areas)

 

Posted in Internet Radio, Internet Radio Station, Radionomy, Uncategorized, YourMuse.FM | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

After The Dust Has Settled…

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I was in bed Tuesday morning when I received a text from my boss.

“You missed the meeting this morning.  Please call.”

I did a double-take to check the time.  It was 10:24am.   My weekly meeting was usually at noon.  I figured it must have been a rescheduled mobile meeting and they didn’t put me into the loop.  It happens every so often.  I tried calling back but it went to voicemail.

This time, my boss called me on the phone.  He said, “we had a big meeting.  The mandatory notice was emailed to all staff.”    I get almost 50 emails a day, and that was one I completely overlooked.  I immediately apologized.

He then gave me a briefing.  8 people from our department were laid off (half of our staff). 6 from the English side, 2 from the French side.  I was spared from the cuts.   He then said that layoffs also affected community TV stations in Toronto, as well.

In all, four community television stations in the Greater Toronto Area (Richmond Hill, Brampton, Mississauga and Peel) were all shut down.  Durham community TV was also affected with half of the staff laid off.

We were told about this possibility almost a year ago.   The Canadian Radio and Television Commission (Canada’s FCC) made a decision to cut community TV by approximately 25 percent.  It was made at the behest of over the air TV networks who wanted that money to help stop the bleeding in their operations and to invest that money into more local broadcasts.

Shaw TV also became the beneficiaries of that agreement.  They, in-turn, shut down community TV stations in Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton and would use the savings to improve local programming for their Global affiliates.

For those who don’t know, community television is a proving ground for many in the broadcasting industry in the US and Canada.   More so in Canada, many have gone on to work in network

It also didn’t help that more people are “cutting the cord” to cable television.  More and more people are opting for online subscription services. like “Netflix”.  YouTube just recently announced over the air broadcast subscriptions of major networks in the United States.

We knew the brevity of technology changing.  We knew that the decisions being made were going to basically lead to a  but we never anticipated how devastating it would be to our family.  I say “family” because it was like we were family.  We did many things together, like barbecues, company gatherings, hockey games.  And like family, we were given this news like we were in a car accident and we were the survivors.

I ran into a few of the unfortunate lost souls.  I gave my goodbyes.  I tried to keep a game face on it.  Those who did survive knew we still have a job to do.  With less resources at our disposal, we need to be more creative.

For me, it was a blessing.  I can only thank God for that.   It tells me that my work isn’t finished yet.

There is still work to be done…more goals to be reached.

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Smooth’s Podium Picks – World Team Trophy 2017

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The final skating event of the year takes place in Tokyo, where 6 countries vie for the top spot in figure skating. This event is more for the fans rather than the skaters. But don’t kid yourself. The skaters want to be at their best for next season, and it will be all on the line in Korea for the Winter Olympics.

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American Jason Brown looks to win one for Team USA

Men

Analysis – Japan comes in as heavy favorites in this division, as two of the best skaters in the world will compete this weekend. Yuzuru Hanyu is fresh off re-gaining his world championship after a three year drought. Shoma Uno had an outstanding free skate at worlds to finish 2nd. Their main competitors will be from the United States. Nathan Chen had a disappointing performance at worlds, finishing 6th. He’ll look to gain valuable international experience this weekend. Jason Brown’s season started with promise after a 2nd place finish at Skate America, but collapsed after disappointing showings at Nationals (3rd), 4CC (6th) and last month’s worlds (7th). Canada’s Patrick Chan comes off his second straight 5th place finish at worlds. Kevin Reynolds is finally skating health after two years of injuries.

Skaters to Watch – China’s Boyang Jin had a great comeback season, capped with a 3rd finish at worlds. Teammate Tangxu Li will compete in his first senior international competition this weekend. Russia’s Mikhail Kolyada and Maxim Kovtun could give the country valuable points with top 5 finishes. France enters the tournament with Chafik Besseghier and Kevin Aymoz.

Smooth’s Pick
1. Nathan Chen (USA)
2. Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN)
3. Shoma Uno (JPN)

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Elena Radionova was a late add by the Russian Skating Federation.

Ladies

Analysis – Two-time world champion Evgenia Medvedeva and gives Russia what could be “a lock’ on this weekend’s competition. However, teammate Elena Radionova hasn’t skated in international competition since February (1st at Winter Universiade). It could be to Russia’s benefit. The United States are their biggest competition, led by veteran skater Ashley Wagner. She comes off a disappointing 7th place finish at worlds. Teammate Karen Chen saved the Americans third spot for the Winter Olympics with an outstanding free skate and a 4th place finish at worlds. Canada’s Gabby Daleman was part of the historic 2-3 finish at world, giving the country an extra spot in Korea next year. That spot could go to teammate, Alaine Chartrand, who gets a chance at redemption after a disappointing Grand Prix season.

Skaters to Watch – This is the post-Mao Asada era for Japan, as two young and upcoming skaters get the chance to follow their dreams with her retirement. Mai Mihara could be the heir apparent, after winning the 4CC title in February and finishing 5th. Teammate Wakaba Higuchi had a rough senior debut, but has a triple axel in her arsenal and could hit it for valuable points this weekend. China’s Zijun Li, finishing 21st at worlds. Teammate Xiangning Li fared better, finishing 14th. France’s Laurine Lecavelier and Mae Berenice Meite look to get valuable points for contention.

Smooth’s Pick
1. Evgenia Medvedeva (RUS)
2. Gabby Daleman (CAN)
3. Karen Chen (USA)

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Americans Ashley Cain and Timothy Leduc get a chance to compete in international competition.

Pairs

Analysis – Six teams look to take advantage this weekend. The favorites this weekend are Russia’s Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov, who won the Grand Prix Final and had a 3rd place finish at worlds. France’s Vanessa James and Morgan Cipres could give them a run for their money after a 3rd place finish at Europeans. China’s Cheng Peng and Yang Jin finish their first season together as national champions and 2nd place finishes on the Grand Prix circuit.

Skaters to Watch – Americans Ashley Cain and Timothy Leduc get the chance to showcase their talents after being looked over at worlds by US Figure Skating officials. They do have a 9th place finish at 4CC. Canada’s Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro had an injury plagued season, but recovered in time for nationals and finished 3rd, good enough for an international placement. Despite winning Japan’s national championship, Sumire Suto and Francis Boudreau-Audet have struggled in international competition, finishing 17th at worlds.

Smooth’s Pick
1. Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov (RUS)
2. Vanessa James and Morgan Cipres (FRA)
3. Cheng Peng and Yang Jin (CHN)

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Russia’s Ekaterina Bobrova and Dimitri Soloviev look to win in a competitive ice dance field.

Ice Dance

Analysis – Most of the top teams participated at worlds, but there are few holdovers making it an interesting matchup. Americans Madison Chock and Evan Bates are the slight favorites this weekend. Despite a drop in the internationals standings, Chock and Bates finished no worse than 2nd at nationals since 2012. Canadians Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje have also experienced a drop due to the return of Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir. However, they haven’t finished lower than 3rd in their Grand Prix careers. Russia’s Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev won their 6th national championship and despite injuries, finished 5th at worlds.

Skaters to Watch – Japan’s Kana Muramoto and Chris Reed complete their second year as national champions, but have struggled on the international circuit, finishing 23rd at worlds. China’s Shiyue Wang and Xinyu Liu improved on their performance at worlds, climbing from 22nd in 2016 to 16th in 2017. France’s Marie-Jade Lauriault and Romain Le Gac finished 21st at worlds last month.

Smooth’s Pick
1. Madison Chock and Evan Bates (USA)
2. Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev (RUS)
3. Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje (CAN)

Smooth’s Team Winners
1. Russia
2. United States
3. Canada

Posted in Figure Skating, Figures skating, Ice Skating, International Skating Union, Skating, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Smooth’s Podium Picks – 2017 World Figure Skating Championships

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The World converges on Helsinki, Finland; as the top figure skaters look to take an advantage going into next year’s Winter Olympics in Korea. A few skaters will be looking to add more medals to their trophy case while others will attempt to start their own collection.

Two skaters have already withdrawn from this week’s competition due to injury. Japan’s Satoko Miyahara, will miss the world championships due to lingering effects of a hip injury. She was expected to medal this weekend, but her absence puts Japan’s hopes for three slots in Pyeongchang in jeopardy. The other is China’s Han Yan. He’s out of World’s after suffering a shoulder dislocation. He’s struggled to find his 2015 form this season.

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With American Nathan Chen, we could be heading towards the beginning of a new era of men’s figure skating. 

Men

Analysis – Spain’s Javier Fernandez will have the toughest competition of his career. He’s coming off another European championship and the two-time World champion looks to make it a “three-peat”, but it won’t be easy. He’ll need flawless programs ensure victory. American Nathan Chen is considered the odds-on favorite based on him becoming the first skater to land five quadruple jumps in one program. His 307.46 points at US Nationals is a season high. Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu has missed competitions for the last three months due to illness, but he plans three quads in his two programs. Teammate Shoma Uno has shown this season that he has the goods, landing four quads in competition, making his a contender for the top spot.

Skaters to Watch – Canada’s Patrick Chan has been in this position before, having won the World championship three times. But maybe it’s best to fly under the radar. Don’t look past him to medal. Also contending is Kazakhstan’s Denis Ten, who is coming off an injury-plagued season, but does have a 2nd place finish under his belt at Trophee de France in Paris. 2016 World bronze medalist Boyang Jin won his 4th straight Chinese nationals title and finished 2nd at Cup of China this season. He plans five quadruple jumps in his Free Skating this week.

Smooth’s Pick – I’ve been wrong twice on Javier the last two seasons. But with Chen on fire, it’s hard not to pick him.
1. Nathan Chen (USA)
2. Javier Fernandez (ESP)
3. Shoma Uno (JPN)

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After an 18 month ban, Italy’s Carolina Kostner looks to redeem herself this weekend. 

Ladies

Analysis – Last year, Russian ladies finished in two of the top three spots at Worlds. This year, that task of repeating the feat will be tough, but still very much possible. One thing is certain, defending champion Evgenia Medvedeva is the odds-on favorite to repeat as champion. Her season’s best 229.71 points, puts her way ahead of her nearest competitor. Russia’s Anna Pogorilaya has been very consistent, winning two Grand Prix events and finishing third in the Final. American Ashley Wagner has been a savior for US skating, guaranteeing a third spot at this year’s worlds after taking silver last year. This year marks the return of Italy’s Carolina Kostner. After an 18 month suspension, she’s looking for redemption, and may get it after a top three finish at Europeans.

Skaters to Watch – Canada’s two skaters have had strong showings on the international stage. Kaetlyn Osmond finished 4th at the Grand Prix Final this season, but fell off after a disappointing performance at Four Continents. Gabby Daleman looks to finish the season with a strong finish at worlds. Russia’s Maria Sotskova will skate in her first World Championships after taking third at nationals. The loss of Japan’s Satoko Miyahara gives 2017 Four Continents Champion Mai Mihara a chance on the big stage. Her replacement will be Wakaba Higuchi, who had a strong Grand Prix season this year. Also, keep your eyes on Kazakhstan’s Elizabet Tursynbaeva, who has a triple axel in her repertoire.

Smooth’s Pick – This is really Medvedeva’s gold to claim, as no one has come close.
1. Evgenia Medvedeva (RUS)
2. Anna Pogorilaya (RUS)
3. Carolina Kostner (ITA)

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Canada’s Meagan and Eric Radford look to get a quick start and defend their titles this weekend.

Pairs

Analysis – What was pretty much a lock has turned into a wide open affair with a strong group of contenders. At the top are two-time and reigning World Champions, Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford of Canada. This season hasn’t been a steady as in year’s past, having finished 3rd at the Grand Prix Final. They’re still the slight favorites this week. Russia’s Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov have steadily climbed to the top of the pairs division, defeating Duhamel and Radford at the GP Final this season. China’s Wenjing Sui and Cong Han have finished 2nd twice and the World Championships in a row and will look to climb over the top. Germany’s Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Massot have been solid all season. However and injury to Savchenko prevented them from participating at German nationals and the GP Final.

Skaters to Watch – France’s Vanessa James and Morgan Cipres performed their best skate this season at Europeans, finishing 3rd. China’s Xiaoyu Yu and Hao Zhang have had surprising success in their 1st year together, winning Cup of China and finishing 2nd at the GP Final. Three teams making a comeback due to injury are Russia’s Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov, Canadians Julianne Seguin and Charlie Bilodeau & Americans Alexa and Chris Knierim.

Smooth’s Pick – This is a crapshoot. The top 10 teams can take this competition. However, I give the edge to the defending champions, despite their problems.
1. Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford (CAN)
2. Wenjing Sui and Cong Han (CHN)
3. Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Massot (GER)

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France’s Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron find themselves as the underdogs again this week. 

Ice Dance

Analysis – This weekend could either see the return of the king and queen of ice dance or the continuation of a dominant team. France’s Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron have dominated Worlds the last two seasons. However, the landscape has changed drastically with the return of Canadians Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir. They’ve been on a tear since returning from a two year break, winning every competition they’ve entered. Fast on their heels are Americans Maia and Alex Shibutani, who have continued their upward trek in the division, winning twice in GP competitions and finishing 3rd in the final. Italians Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte won the title in 2014, but since then have settled for 3rd or 4th in Grand Prix competition.

Skaters to Watch – There is such a logjam in the ice dance division that any of these teams could find their way to the podium. Americans Madison Chock and Evan Bates are 2016 World bronze medalists, . Russia’s Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev are 2016 European bronze medalists. Canada has two other teams that could make the top 10 in Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier & Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje. Other teams looking to make the podium are Americans Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue, Russia’s Alexandra Stepanova and Ivan Bukin, Italy’s Charlene Guignard and Marco Fabbri, & Isabella Tobias and Ilia Tkachenko of Israel.

Smooth’s Pick – Since returning, Virtue and Moir have been unstoppable. But they may have met their match this weekend.
1. Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron (FRA)
2. Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir (CAN)
3. Maia and Alex Shibutani (USA)

Posted in Figure Skating, Figures skating, Ice Skating, International Skating Union, ISU, Skating, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Smooth’s Podium Picks – World Junior Figure Skating Championships 2017

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The skating stars of the future are in Taipei, as the World Juniors take place. Over 130 skaters representing 30 countries will take part this weekend.  Some skaters have senior experience in their national competitions, but haven’t either reached the legal age or were given the spot to gain valuable international experience.

Unlike our usual picks, we’re selecting who will take the top spots.  Here’s who we think will come out on top this weekend.

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Men – Jun Hwan Cha (KOR)

This skater won gold at Korean Nationals this season, finished 5th at the Youth Olympic Games and 3rd at this year’s Junior Grand Prix Final. Coached by Brian Orser, this skater could become the next big thing in Pyeongchang at next year’s Winter Olympics.

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Ladies – Polina Tsurskaya (RUS)

Part of the new Russian juggernaut of ladies figure skaters, she was undefeated at Junior Grand Prix competitions this season.  Having finished 4th at the senior level in 2016, Russian figure skating sent her to juniors to get more experience, and it may pay off this weekend.

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Pairs – Chelsea Liu and Brian Johnson (USA)

In a weakened field of 16 teams, this pick could surprise this weekend. Having been together for four years, they’ve slowly improved their international standing with 7th and 5th place finishes at the Junior World level the last two years.

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Ice Dance – Rachel and Michael Parsons (USA)

This team haven’t lost all season long, beating the defending champions and American teammates, Lorraine McNamara and Quinn Carpenter along the way. Expect them to continue their win streak and a possible sweep of the podium.

World Championship Podium Picks in two weeks.

Posted in Figure Skating, Figures skating, Ice Skating, International Skating Union, Skating, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment