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
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].
KNBR’s Brian Murphy Speaks for First Time After Paul McCaffrey Laid Off
“Paulie Mac is my guy, will forever be my guy. The best thing I could ever wish anyone is that you get to work with someone as loyal, energetic, funny, consistent as the guy his Jersey buddies call ‘Smack’.”
Earlier this week, KNBR underwent a round of layoffs, affecting a pair of programs on the Bay Area sports station, including the departure of longtime morning host Paul McCaffrey. His longtime partner — Brian Murphy — has taken to X to share his thoughts.
In a thread to X, Murphy shared his admiration for McCaffrey, whom he hosted Murph and Mac with for 18 years.
“Paulie Mac is my guy, will forever be my guy. The best thing I could ever wish anyone is that you get to work with someone as loyal, energetic, funny, consistent as the guy his Jersey buddies call ‘Smack’,” wrote Murphy. “So much love.”
He then shared that everything listeners and fans of the program have shared on social media has been read by the duo, and thanked them for the outpouring of love and support.
Finally, Murphy addressed his future. Fill-in host Dieter Kurtenbach shared on Thursday he did not have a definitive answer about Murphy’s future with the Cumulus-owned station.
However, Brian Murphy has shared he will return to the airwaves on Monday morning.
“I’ll be back Monday morning on KNBR with our guy Markus (Waterboy) Boucher,” Murphy wrote. “Come on. It’s Niners-Eagles. Wouldn’t miss it. As Paulie Mac’s board itself would say: The show goes on.”
Mike Mulligan: Sports Radio is More Difficult Than Other Formats Think
He shared that he has worked with people on morning shows that he has seen come to a station fully hungover who play music and proceed to sit on the couch.
On Friday morning’s edition of Mully & Haugh on 670 The Score in Chicago, co-host Mike Mulligan outlined the difference with music radio that hosts are not continuously talking to the audience, instead taking mic breaks and then interspersing commentary with different songs.
Filling in for David Haugh on Friday’s edition of the program was Gabe Ramirez, who used to work in the format with B96 as the host of its morning show. Mulligan’s assertion about the differences between the two formats resulted in a conversation about the differences between the grenres, with Ramirez explaining the difficulties that music radio hosts face on the air.
“The music station’s still creating content,” Ramirez said. “You get to have a guest – since I am going to defend my music stations – you get to have a guest and toss them a softball question and listen to them rant for five minutes.”
Mulligan disagreed with this perspective, conveying that he does not feel their program provides guests with easy questions. Additionally, he shared that he has worked with people on morning shows that he has seen come to a station fully hungover who play music and proceed to sit on the couch.
“As a former sportswriter, we sit around and we talk about sports,” Mulligan said. “We talk about the sports we cover and we talk about other sports.”
“You have to talk about Justin Fields seven days in a row,” Ramirez replied. “As a morning show for music, you have to come up with new content every day.”
Rather than taking umbrage towards the response, Mike Mulligan explained that the key to effectively performing his job is being able to discuss important stories of the day even when they are not the headlines. Furthermore, he expounded on the commitment that it takes to watch the amount of sporting events and to be properly informed on the action so he is able to take the air.
“That I will agree with,” Ramirez said. “I’ve told people this – they ask me, ‘What’s the biggest difference?’ The prep, without question, is way more difficult in sports radio because everyone that’s listening to you already knows the answers and you have to be equally if not more informed in all of those things.”
Minnesota Twins Set to Tab Cory Provus as New TV Voice, Kris Atteberry as Lead Radio Announcer
Provus has been the radio voice of the Minnesota Twins since 2012.
After Dick Bremer exited the Minnesota Twins TV booth in October, the search began for his replacement. The MLB franchise didn’t have to look far, though.
Twins radio voice Cory Provus is reportedly set to become the new TV play-by-play broadcaster for the club, according to a report from Dan Hayes of The Athletic.
Provus has been the radio voice of the Minnesota Twins since 2012. Many immediately tabbed him as the club’s replacement for Bremer, who retired after 40 seasons as the lead television voice of the American League club. Before joining the team in 2012, Provus worked for the Milwaukee Brewers as the number two broadcaster after spending two seasons as the radio pregame host for the Chicago Cubs.
Meanwhile, Kris Atteberry has been signaled as the person set to replace Provus inside the franchise’s radio booth. He has served as the pregame and postgame host for the Minnesota Twins Radio Network since 2007. Atteberry joined the club after spending five years calling games for the then-Independent St. Paul Saints from 2002-2006.
While the television and radio broadcast crews appear set, questions remain about where the team will televise its games in 2024. The club’s contract with Bally Sports North has reportedly expired, and it has yet to sign an agreement with the bankruptcy-laden RSN, or with a local over-the-air television station.