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Deerfield-based Jim Beam Bourbon is teaming up with sports behemoth ESPN to launch "The Next Round -- Served Up by Jim Beam," a Web series hosted by ESPN personality and journalist Scoop Jackson. He will interact with famous guests and discuss the news with a focus on sports and pop culture. Jackson has covered sports and culture for more than 15 years.

"The Next Round" will debut on April 3, during the first commercial break of "Sports Center" airing at 10 p.m. central daylight time and on ESPN.com. New content will air every two weeks on ESPN.com.

Segments will be taped in Los Angeles in a custom-built studio and at remote locations, including cities hosting major sporting events. The Web series premiere will be shot in a Boston bar to coincide with baseball's opening day. "We like to create legendary experiences for guys, and we know that they bond over Jim Beam cocktails and sports," said Kelly Doss, senior director, bourbons,f or Beam Global Spirits & Wines.

As first tipped here, James Pastor indeed is taking on a new role within the ESPN sports empire. After five years as general manager of ESPN Radio's WMVP-AM (1000), Pastor now will head up the ESPNLocal.com unit, charged with creating and maintaining dedicated ESPN-branded Web sports sites in major markets.

Pastor was involved in developing the Web concept, he told us, so it made sense for him to transition to the new assignment. "I'm going to miss the radio unit," said Pastor. ESPNChicago.com was the first of the Web sites to launch last April. Boston and Dallas sites launched last month, and Pastor said he will oversee the launch of New York and Los Angeles sites early next year. The plan is to add the dedicated Web sites in more markets over time.

While he is settling into his new role, Pastor said he will continue, on an interim basis, as WMVP's general manger until a new GM is selected. Pastor said he will have a role in that selection process along with ESPN Radio Group senior vice-president Tim McCarthy. External and internal candidates will be considered for the job, Pastor said.

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Lewis Lazare has written the Media Mix column for the Chicago Sun-Times for the past seven and a half years.

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