Southern California proper probably needs another all-sports radio station like the ozone layer needs another hole.
That said, go fetch an umbrella. The unbearable barometric conditions could get weird again. Cloudy with a chance of more meatball opinions pelting down upon us.
Even if KFWB-AM (980) continues to position itself for a morph into what would be the fourth sports-centric station in these parts starting Sept. 1, that shouldn’t translate that into a situation where the sky is falling. The residual effect of this potential hybrid national lineup from the CBS and NBC sports radio networks is that Jim Rome stands to finally have an L.A. radio base again.
It’s been some 20 months since Rome left his weekday show on the Premier Radio Network, carried locally as part of Fox Sports Radio on KLAC-AM (570), and joined the new CBS Radio lineup. After giving his 9 a.m.-to-noon spot to comedian Jay Mohr, Rome has been virtually unheard since except for those who track him down through online streaming or standing in an updraft of San Diego’s 1090-AM.
Rome had already made CBS Sports Net his weekday afternoon TV home, as well as the monthly Showtime curse-words-and-all program that has been the highlight to date with his career diversion. But circling back to an L.A. listener base that has been with him from the start his career back at XTRA-AM 690 in the 1990s is what a station like KFWB needs to find some relevancy again as it has floundered in a format funk and ownership purgatory for the last several years.
Diane Sutter, the point person in the KFWB Asset Trust set up when CBS had to attempt to sell off the station because of FCC regulations about owning too many media assets in one city, told the KFWB staffers recently that the all-sports format change was coming. The KFWB Twitter account had a post last week about how the “new AM 980 shakes up the #LA #sports scene in September.”
It was also disclosed that KFWB had taken out website domains such as 980TheBeast.com and FeedTheBeast980.com in preparation for its new marketing approach. Think of “The Beast” as putting the “B” into a new KFWB.
It also has ownership of the names 980Fan.com and TheFanLA.com from two years ago.
KFWB, an historic station on the L.A. scene since the 1920s, but one that still seems to struggle with its 5,000-watt signal coming out of East L.A., has already been carrying the NBC Radio Sports shows “Going Deep” with Amani Toomer and Dan Schwartzman in the 7-to-10 p.m. slot as well as “Eric Kuselias Show” from 3-to-5 a.m.
Local sports updates from long-time KFWB voices Bill Seward, Ted Sobel and Bob Harvey, whose jobs are contracted through another company called the Total Traffic & Weather Network, are left wondering if their services will be carried on through the all-sports change.
The station has the groundwork laid by already having claimed the Clippers’ radio rights the last few years and keeping them as an anchor tenant through 2015. Too bad it didn’t also scoop up the Stanley Cup championship Kings, who recently cut a deal with KABC-AM (790) after years of buying time on KTLK-AM (1150).
A wise move by the station would be to partner with KLAA-AM (830) and add the Angels’ and Ducks’ simulcast games, giving it year-around live sports programming. It may not provide a huge boost to the ratings, but from an advertising sales strategy it would makes for a better product when trying to match up against a KLAC or KSPN with its own menu of live games.
Smart, too, would be to cultivate a live, local sports show from 6-to-9 a.m. leading into Rome, in an attempt to draw L.A.-centric listeners.
The bottom line is that KFWB has an opportunity to make some inroads on the local sports landscape with some creative networking. The sky may not be the limit, but there always seems to be ad revenue to be generated in this medium from hair loss, freezing fat, credit card consolidation, child custody lawyers or some sort of male-part dysfunction.
For the rest of this article visit the LA Daily News where it was originally published
Jason Barrett is the owner and operator of Barrett Sports Media. Prior to launching BSM he served as a sports radio programmer, launching brands such as 95.7 The Game in San Francisco and 101 ESPN in St. Louis. He has also produced national shows for ESPN Radio including GameNight and the Dan Patrick Show. You can find him on Twitter @SportsRadioPD or reach him by email at [email protected].
Amanda Brown Named Program Director of Denver Sports 104.3 The Fan
Brown will begin her role with Denver Sports 104.3 The Fan next week.
Former ESPN LA 710 Program Director Amanda Brown has been named to the same position at Denver Sports 104.3 The Fan.
She replaces Raj Sharan, who exited the station earlier this month after leading the brand since February 2019.
Amanda Brown was part of the downsizing at ESPN earlier this year. She had worked for the company since 2002. After beginning her career in Dallas at ESPN 103.3, she moved to Bristol to work as a national producer on ESPN Radio. Brown worked on shows hosted by Mike Tirico, Scott Van Pelt, and Erik Kuselias while producing on the national level.
She later moved to ESPN LA 710 in 2010, first as a producer before eventually ascending to the role of Program Director in December 2019.
Brown will begin her role with Denver Sports 104.3 The Fan next week.
The station recently shuffled its lineup after suffering its first head-to-head ratings defeat in the summer ratings period. Josh Dover departed Altitude Sports Radio to join Brandon Stokley for middays. Meanwhile, Zach Bye and former Denver Broncos running back Phillip Lindsay were paired for afternoons. In the reshuffling, Darren “DMac” McKee departed the station before joining Altitude Sports Radio in the spot vacated by Dover.
Anthony Gargano, Beasley Media Group Going to Settlement Conference
The settlement conference will take place on Jan. 17, 2024, one day after Gargano and ALLCITY Network are required to reply to the lawsuit from Beasley Media Group.
When Anthony Gargano was hired by ALLCITY Network to appear on its new PHLY Sports channel and national network, he was sued by Beasley Media Group for breach of contract. The former 97.5 The Fanatic host came to terms on a preliminary injunction that prohibits him from contributing to any sports media content that is specifically targeted to the Philadelphia marketplace, as the designated market area (DMA) is defined by Nielsen Media Research. Gargano’s original intent was to work at both outlets simultaneously, but he remained restricted for the last several months while continuing to work with FOX Sports Radio and starting a sports betting podcast with Parx Casino.
Gargano and Beasley Media Group will now be proceeding to a settlement conference, which will take place on Jan. 17, 2024 before Magistrate Judge Scott Reid.
Within the lawsuit, Beasley claims that Anthony Gargano is under contract with the company until Oct. 7, 2024, and that there are provisions within the deal and “the common law duty of loyalty” that preclude his ability to provide services to competing businesses. Inside Radio was the first to report the news of the disputation moving to this step in an effort to reach a resolution.
Should the settlement conference prove unsuccessful, a pretrial date has been set by the court for May 7, 2024, and a trial date is set for two years later. Beasley had previously agreed to a request by the defendants to extend the deadline to file a response to the complaint from Nov. 17, 2023 to Jan. 16, 2024.
Gargano and BSN Live (doing business as ALLCITY Network), his new employer, are legally required to respond to the lawsuit filed against them by Beasley by that time, according to an order filed on Nov. 16, 2023. For the settlement conference itself, lawyers have been directed to have their clients physically present for its duration and with “ultimate authority to settle.”
In a previous interview with Barrett Sports Media, ALLCITY Network Chief Executive Officer Brandon Spano explained how the goal of the company is to implement talent who are able to inform and entertain their audiences in various locales. The company also eliminated non-compete clauses from most of its contracts, with Spano stating that they were originally included because it was the industry-standard practice.
“I have a real problem with this idea that these major corporations are laying off dozens, if not hundreds of people, quarter-over-quarter, and then the people that they don’t lay off, they say they cannot look for jobs or work anywhere else,” he explained. “That’s just not good business, and it’s giving sports media a bad wrap. Sports radio right now, because of those actions, is giving sports media a bad look. It’s a very dangerous game.”
Gargano was originally included in the promotional video for PHLY Sports but has yet to appear on one of its programs. Concurrent with the launch of the company’s new national network, he was able to make his debut and has been contributing on the ALL NFL show with Brian Baldinger. Spano articulated that the company was about to reach profitability prior to the introduction of its Philadelphia and national networks and is preparing for another funding round later on. At the moment, the goal is to double the size of the company and launch in another local market as the outlet looks to expand and launch a free ad-supported television (FAST) channel in the future.
Jerry Recco: Paul Allen is ‘Not Textbook and He’s Phenomenal’
Allen sounded dejected in his final call of the Vikings’ 12-10 loss on Monday night, according to WFAN anchor Jerry Recco.
The Minnesota Vikings lost their Monday Night Football matchup against the Chicago Bears on a walk-off field goal. Paul Allen, who has been calling Vikings games for the last 21 seasons, sounded dejected in the call as if he were a Vikings fan communicating to listeners en masse, according to WFAN anchor Jerry Recco.
Outside of his role on the Boomer & Gio morning program on WFAN and CBS Sports Network, Recco is a play-by-play announcer himself as the radio voice of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights men’s basketball team. Because of his position in the industry, morning program co-host and CBS Sports analyst for The NFL Today, Boomer Esiason, asked Recco if he takes elements of style from other announcers to implement into the game broadcasts.
“No, because I don’t think there is a right way to do it,” Recco replied Tuesday morning on WFAN. “No, I do what I do, and if it’s good, great. As long as [athletic director] Pat Hobbs and [head coach] Steve Pikiell are happy, I’m happy.”
Recco has been calling Rutgers games since the 2016-17 season. The National Sports Media Association named him the recipient of the New Jersey Sportscaster of the Year in 2022.
As a play-by-play announcer, Recco is focused on documenting the action and has had the chance to call several memorable moments in program history, including its first NCAA Tournament win in 30 years when it defeated Clemson in March 2021.
“There’s no right way to do it because you’ve got textbook guys like [Mike] Breen, who’s the best; then you’ve got guys like Paul Allen,” Recco said. “He’s not textbook and he’s phenomenal – would you agree? And then there’s Gus Johnson, who’s crazy and he’s phenomenal in his own way.”