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More Controversy In St. Louis Radio

Jason Barrett

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It seemed as if things had cooled at Grand Slam Sports, which owns two St. Louis radio signals and last year was the epicenter of controversy, a revolt by some against management, racial tension and bad blood between some people working there.

The situation become so volatile that fisticuffs broke out in the studios last summer between broadcaster Brian McKenna and company executive Dan Marshall.

Marshall ended up in a hospital, McKenna in jail. Charges were not filed but a civil suit looms.

Since then, the operation has been significantly scaled back and now operates in comparative obscurity, but sources say certainly not with harmony.

KFNS (590 AM) broadcast in the sports format for two decades before Marshall converted it to a “guy-talk” format in 2013. But that failed after a year and the station has been off the air since November because of unpaid bills and huge debt. KXFN (1380 AM), Grand Slam’s other station, has been broadcasting in the “extreme radio” format.

But multiple sources said there’s a lot of maneuvering going on behind the scenes to try to get 1380 to carry an internet talk-show site that carries a lot of sports chat. That plan would bring controversial longtime St. Louis sports-radio host Kevin Slaten back to the local airwaves.

The story goes that the station would pick up fare being carried on the talkstl.com website — including the afternoon drive-time show hosted by rabble-rousing Slaten, who has been off radio since KFNS shut down. It would be a twist — a website being simulcast on the air instead of the other way around.

However, the sources said disagreement among Grand Slam’s owners has thwarted the plan because the company is trying to sell the stations. One ownership camp, which includes Marshall, is gung-ho on the simulcasting idea but the other is strongly opposed, thinking that move would disrupt the sales process to someone who would have the resources to clean up things.

Mike Calvin, who used to be Grand Slam’s operations manager, recently resigned that position. But he is working for the company as an independent contractor and his primary responsibility is to try to sell its stations.

He did not want to comment about the ongoing situation but he recently sent a memo to some staffers, and the Post-Dispatch obtained a copy of that note.

“There are major forces at work to lease the station out to Talk STL and Dan Marshall as a sports station in another one of his foolish attempts to ruin another radio station,” the note said, adding that Calvin is not being paid but wants to see good things happen for the remaining employees.

“I work for you, us and the right thing. … I consider you all friends and family,” the memo also said. “I will not allow some people and some of our investors to sabotage 1380. They have started a face book [sic], rumor mill campaign already on the streets that 1380 is being flipped to sports which will make sales even more difficult. If something was to happen REST ASSURE I would call you all or have a meeting immediately. I would not leave you in the wind.”

Marshall could not be reached for comment.

Calvin’s memo also says radio “can be (doesn’t need to be) but can be an ugly business and with some of the players against us it is a daily dog fight and I’m a mean dog!”

Credit to STL Today who originally published this article

Sports Radio News

Hebert: Bally Sports is Taking Advantage of Customers

“Pathetic, Bally, read the room! You suck!”

Jordan Bondurant

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T-Bob Hebert

Bally Sports is getting set to roll out its premium streaming service Bally Sports+ on September 26.

All 19 of the Bally regional sports networks will be able to stream games on the service.

Those interested can pay either $19.99 a month or $189.99 per year for the service. But one Baton Rouge host thinks the asking price to watch New Orleans Pelicans games this season on the service is too steep.

“I‘m going to put this as succinctly as I can. F Bally Sports,” T-Bob Hebert said on Off The Bench on 104.5 ESPN Wednesday. “The worst part is I love (Pelicans broadcasters) Joel Meyers and Antonio Daniels. I think they’re one of the best combinations in the entirety of the NBA. And it’s not even that you’re asking me to pay. I’m down to pay.”

“But $20 a month?!? That is rapacious,” Hebert added. “You are taking advantage because you know that you have the only avenue with which to view this Pelicans team.”

Currently Bally Sports New Orleans is only available in the market on DirecTV. Apparently none of the other cable providers carry the network, so Bally seems to have fans by the jugular. That doesn’t sit well with Hebert.

“‘Just bundle it with DirecTV,'” Hebert said mockingly. “I don’t want to!! I just want to watch the games!”

Hebert added that given the added excitement level surrounding this Pelicans team, it’s really doing the fans a disservice to charge $20 a month to watch.

“They’re making it oppressively hard and expensive on the actual people who care and want to watch,” he said. “Pathetic, Bally, read the room! You suck!”

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Sports Radio News

Brady Quinn Calls Paul Finebaum A “SEC Thumper”

“Give him a break. He’s an SEC thumper,” Quinn said.

Jordan Bondurant

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Brady Quinn, Paul Finebaum

College football season kicks off in the next couple of weeks, and earlier this week the Associated Press released its preseason national top 25 rankings.

Alabama claimed the top spot, with Ohio State, defending national champion Georgia, Clemson and Notre Dame rounding out the top five.

But Paul Finebaum apparently took issue with Notre Dame being ranked where they were, and said partly why the Fighting Irish shouldn’t be in the top five is because of their Week 1 matchup.

“They should not even be in the top ten. It’s an absolute joke, and it happens every year with the AP poll, which is about as worthless as NFL preseason football,” Finebaum said in a recent appearance on ESPN. “It’s ridiculous. Notre Dame is going to get run in the first game of the season. I mean they’re going to get destroyed at The Big House…They’ll be fortunate to go 9-3. It’s laughable they’re in the top five or six.”

On FOX Sports Radio, former Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn felt the need to set Finebaum straight. He did firstly by correcting the SEC Network host, who said Notre Dame would be playing Michigan to open the season. Notre Dame is playing at Ohio State in Week 1.

“Give him a break. He’s an SEC thumper,” Quinn said on 2 Pros and a Cup of Joe on Wednesday. “So I’m surprised he even knows where Ohio State is to be honest with you, or Notre Dame. Apparently he doesn’t.”

Hey Paul, how many teams are going to walk in to Ohio State and Columbus this year and beat them?” Quinn asked. “Probably no one.”

Quinn finished by taking a little jab at the fact that the Notre Dame/Ohio State game would be in primetime for ESPN, which runs the SEC Network.

“He’s bashing his employer’s matchup between these two and trying to downplay it,” he said. “So well done, Paul, lot of logic there.”

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Sports Radio News

Zolak and Bertrand Broadcast During Patriots/Panthers Fights

“I’ve never seen anything like this at a camp… this is great today,” beamed Zolak.

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Zolak and Bertrand

Scott Zolak and Marc Bertrand were broadcasting live from the New England Patriots’ joint practice with the Carolina Panthers. During their show, things got heated between the two teams, multiple times, and the show was there to call it all.

Bertrand was bringing the show back from commercial break and noted that there had just been a fight moments before Zolak and Bertrand were live.

“This drill got escalated by the Panthers here,” said co-host and former Patriots quarterback. “This is number three (fights)in a freaking kickoff drill. A kickoff drill!”

Shortly after, Bertrand was describing the efforts to separate the two teams when even more chaos erupted.

“They’ve separated all the players,” began Bertrand, sensing some calm was being restored. “They’ve sent them on their way to the next period so you’ve got — and now here comes another fight. Another major fight! It’s happening right in front of the stands.”

“These guys are a-holes man,” spoke Zolak. “Get these clowns out of here. All they want to do is fight. This is unreal. I’ve never seen anything like this.”

“What a scene,” said Bertrand.

“I’ve never seen anything like this at a camp… this is great today,” beamed Zolak. “Thank God we’re down here!”

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