Sports talk in St. Louis was born in 1992 at 1380 AM, which had the call letters of KGLD before soon becoming KASP. Now, nearly a quarter century later, 1380 is counting on several big names still around from that era to get it rolling.
Kevin Slaten and J.C. Corcoran, who have worn bad-boy hats on the St. Louis airwaves for decades, form the programming bookends of the operation. And Howard Balzer and Charlie “Tuna” Edwards are on the way.
The station, now known as KRFT, recently was leased by talkstl.com — a web-based programming provider. By taking over the radio station, it is also able to send its content out over the air.
The first move was to put longtime St. Louis sports-talk firebrand Slaten in the key afternoon drive-time slot (3-6 p.m.), when he has been doing his customary raucous show since mid-March.
Starting Monday, the station’s lineup grows again. The marquee name among the newcomers is Corcoran, who will be in the morning-drive slot (7-9 a.m.). Although he doesn’t do a sports show per se, he frequently touches on athletics. And sports will be the focus of the station throughout most of the day.
“Everything’s going to have at least a bit of a sports flavor,’’ said Scott Gertken, who runs the operation. “Probably 90 percent.”
Longtime St. Louis sports talkers Balzer and Edwards are to arrive April 20 from WQQX (1490 AM). And nationally syndicated jock-jabber host Jim Rome is on in early afternoons.
Gertken said he “giggles” when it’s mentioned that some think he’ll have trouble operating a regular radio station after having been in charge of a simpler online business. He said he has people working for him with a good understanding of regular radio, adding, “We couldn’t be more excited about the lineup we were able to finalize. We’ve done a whole lot in 10 days.”
The station, which is using NBC Sports Radio to provide its additional programming, currently is licensed to operate only during the daytime. But Gertken hopes to be on 24 hours by May 1.
Corcoran has been on the St. Louis airwaves for almost all of the last three decades, at many spots on the dial. But vast changes in the business phased out his style — a morning show heavy on talk about news, entertainment, sports and politics mixed with music.
He ended up getting work in Houston last year but also did a show tailored to St. Louis for a time on KFNS (590 AM) — which now is off the air. The Houston gig fizzled after a format change, but he persevered. He has been conducting his program digitally (at jcontheline.com and a mobile app), which he plans to continue to do from 6-7 a.m. before his show starts on the 1380/ talkstl.com operation.
He’s known for his outspoken — sometimes controversial — stances. And he promises no changes in approach or format of the show.
“It will be exactly the same thing I’ve been doing,’’ he said. “Anybody who listens to the show is going to hear J.C. Corcoran — they know what they’re going to get.”
What gets his proverbial goat is the current state of the radio business.
“Its embarrassing to watch the forces that be at some of the bigger stations rumble around putting people on the air you can tell are going nowhere” while proven veterans are available, he said.
He adds that he finds it perplexing that he can be on in big markets (he’s done fill-in work in Chicago in addition to his time in Houston) but has had trouble finding on-air work at a major station in St. Louis — where he is established.
“You explain to me what the rationale is for people who run radio stations here that J.C. Corcoran is good enough to work in (markets ranked third and fourth nationally) but just not in market 21,” he said. “You explain that to me and I’ll write you a check.”
But he’s glad to be coming back on the St. Louis airwaves.
“It will be a general interest talk (show), entertainment and a heavy dose of my twisted mind,” he said.
1380’S WEEKDAY LINEUP
7-9 a.m. • J.C. Corcoran
9-11 a.m. • Chris Razavi, Todd Blackstock
11 a.m.-1 p.m • Howard Balzer, Charlie “Tuna” Edwards (starts April 20th)
1-3 p.m • Jim Rome
3-6 p.m. • Kevin Slaten
6 p.m. • T. Cole, Steve “The Greek” Jones
* Midday lineup before April 20 to be determined.
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.