We’re only a week or so removed from Halloween and a made-for-TV exorcism attempt at a home in St. Louis County, so it seems appropriate that the ghost of St. Louis sports-talk radio’s onetime stalwart has reappeared.
KFNS (590 AM) returned to the local airwaves late Thursday after a nearly yearlong absence following its collapse under a maze of unpaid bills, employee unrest and even fisticuffs at the studio.
KFNS as well as KXFN (1380 AM) has been owned by Grand Slam Sports, which has been the target of several lawsuits — including one in which Triad Bank claims the company defaulted on loans totaling $1.1 million. “I always do the show that I do, and that’s what they want,’’ he said of management.
A St. Louis County Circuit Court recently appointed a receiver, Detalus Consulting, to oversee Grand Slam’s assets and the action gave Detalus the authority to do as it sees fit, including sell the stations.
Triad told the court that Grand Slam’s federal broadcast licenses, which it called the company’s “most valuable asset,” were in danger of being forfeited on Nov. 12 — next Thursday, a year and two days after the station stopped broadcasting. That deadline thus made action a priority.
So an agreement was reached this week for the receiver to lease KFNS to Markel Radio Group, an enterprise of Randy Markel and Scott Gertken. Markel owns the two local Chuck’s Boots stores and Gertken owns talkstl.com, which has been broadcasting mostly sports talk on 1380 under a previous lease arrangement with Grand Slam. The 1380 content now will be simulcast on 590.
The weekday lineup includes longtime St. Louis broadcasters J.C. Corcoran, Howard Balzer, Kevin Slaten and Charlie “Tuna” Edwards, and the addition of 590 is important to Markel Radio because it has a much stronger signal than 1380 — which does not have a license to broadcast after dark and thus is signing off before 5 p.m. now, which cuts off Slaten’s program in midstream.
“We’re very excited,” Gertken said.
Current hosts are energized.
“We’re on our way,” Corcoran said. “I think there are going to be defections from a couple of other stations in town as this thing rolls out in several phases.”
And contrary to what some might think, 590 isn’t actually the combined number of times that Balzer, Slaten and Edwards now have been on KFNS. It’s six for Balzer, five for Slaten. And Edwards said it will be “three or four” for him.
“Fifth time’s a charm,” joked Slaten, who is on from 3-6 p.m.
“This is as good a resolution as could be,” said Balzer, who appears from 11 a.m-1 p.m. “They are really committed to this.”
Corcoran, who is on from 7-9 a.m., is excited even though he doesn’t do a strictly sports show. It does cover athletics, but also focuses on entertainment and topical news — a format he has owned for three decades.
“When I signed on with these guys, I’ve always done a show that is top-heavy with sports,” he said. “But I’m not really interested in doing a sports show per se, nor am I the kind of guy … who can tell you what day of the week Rocky Bleier was drafted in 1970 or whatever. That is not what I do. And they don’t want that from me … so that’s going to work out.”
Edwards, who will be on from 6-8 weeknights (though he is off this Friday), is ecstatic.
“For the first time in years I’m really looking forward to being on the air,” he said. “This is management you can trust, which is hard to find in radio now.”
The move is the latest chapter in the wild saga of KFNS, the once-strong station that broadcast in the sports format for 20 years — until it began wilting under Grand Slam and was shifted to “guy talk” in 2013 (with 1380 moving from jock talk to female-oriented shows).
But guy-talk was a disaster in the ratings, with advertisers fleeing. Last year 590 and 1380 went back to sports, but 590 was too far gone to be salvaged and finally went to static. But now the static there will be coming from the hosts, not the crackling of dead air.
To read more visit STL Today where this article was originally published
Tony Bruno Relives Favorite Moments With Angelo Cataldi on 94 WIP
“I loved every day. We did stuff that put Sports Radio in Philly on the map and I’m proud of that.”
Tony Bruno has been a staple of the sports radio business for decades. Bruno is from Philadelphia and was teamed up in the early nineties with a duo still dominating the local airwaves there today, Angelo Cataldi and Al Morganti. The three reunited Thursday morning on 94 WIP to remember the glory days of their partnership and friendship.
One of the first moments Cataldi asked Bruno if he remembered was the update he did from a tree outside of their studio and the answer was an emphatic yes.
“Absolutely, it’s one of the highlights of my life – other than interviewing four Presidents and every sports athlete in history – there’s no bigger moment than me climbing up in the tree, which was obstructing our view of William Penn and the city skyline. That’s what I do, I was a man of action. I’m not one of these guys that talks the talk, I climb the tree to do whatever is necessary.”
More frivolity followed when Cataldi harkened back to a segment of ‘Damsels in Distress’ and a time in which Bruno was sent on the street during a snowstorm to help shovel people out of their driveways. Bruno quickly recalled, “Man of the people. I should run for – I should of run for Governor of Pennsylvania or Senate or something.”
Bruno added that his favorite rant (and one that Cataldi loved too) wasn’t about the Cowboys or sports at all. “My favorite was my Infinity Broadcasting rant where I went on one day and even ripped our bosses, all the way up to the top of Infinity Broadcasting.” Cataldi cackled and praised Bruno’s rants more before being interrupted by Bruno saying, “yeah, my only regret is I never really ripped Al (Morganti) the way I should have ripped him. I let him of the hook so many times.”
An insightful moment came at the end of the call when Cataldi asked rhetorically if Bruno ever thought they (Cataldi & Morganti) would still be doing this thirty years later and then asked if Tony ever regretted leaving.
“It was a tough decision, Ang,” Bruno answered. “I was given an ultimatum. When I came to work with you guys, I loved every day. Every day we had fun. We did stuff that put Sports Radio in Philly on the map and I’m proud of that. It wasn’t one of those, ‘oh I got to go; I’m too big for these guys’. I even turned the ESPN job down a couple of times.
“My kids were still younger then, I didn’t want to move. I didn’t have to move. They said just come up here on weekends and that’s how ESPN Radio started. So I was doing weekends and Tom Bigby (Program Director) didn’t like that either, told me it wasn’t going to work. It was a philosophical thing. When he told me, ‘you should go because we are not going to pay you what they’re paying you,’ I said ok.
Cataldi began to sign off with Bruno with genuine thanks: “I got to tell you something Tone, we are indebted to you for the rest of our lives because we both learned so much from you and you are one of the great talents that radio has ever had.”
Dodgers Temporarily Pull Broadcasters Off Road
“If the broadcasters’ are not dealing with severe cases of Covid and they have cleared health and safety protocols, it appears the team is open to sending them back out on the road.”
When the Los Angeles Dodgers visit the East Coast later this week, the men that call the action on TV and radio will not be with them. The games will instead be broadcast on AM570 LA Sports and SportsNet LA from their respective studios.
“Due to a few members of the Dodgers’ broadcast team having recently tested positive for COVID-19, and out of an abundance of caution, the Dodgers have decided to not travel their broadcasters to upcoming games in Philadelphia and Washington,” the Dodgers announced in a statement. Similar to the 2020 and 2021 MLB seasons, the games will be broadcast from Los Angeles,” reads a statement on the team’s Twitter account.
No further details are available, so the severity and the number of cases remain unknown.
Last September, both members of the Dodgers’ television play-by-play crew were forced into quarantine. Joe Davis was the first to test positive, followed later that month by Orel Hershiser.
On Wednesday, manager Dave Roberts told the media that the Dodgers’ roster and coaching staff are not effected.
“There’s there’s no symptoms in the clubhouse. I think that as far as the upstairs, as an organization, we’re all just trying to be very cautious. But as far as in the clubhouse, coaches, training staff, nothing like that.”
If the broadcasters’ are not dealing with severe cases of Covid and they have cleared health and safety protocols, it appears the team is open to sending them back out on the road. 2022 was supposed to be a return to normal for the Dodgers and many other teams after not letting broadcasters travel in 2020 and 2021.
Pat McAfee: ‘No One Will Disrespect Jim Rome On My Show’
“That’s because you need to respect the f–king jungle.”
Jim Rome is a sports radio icon and Pat McAfee recognizes that.
On The Pat McAfee Show on Wednesday, McAfee was talking to co-host A.J. Hawk about how Rome trended recently on Twitter.
This happened after news of Tom Brady’s FOX Sports deal surfaced, and a list of the top paid sports media personalities was compiled. Rome came in behind Brady at number two making a reported $30 million a year, and many were surprised by that number. McAfee wasn’t.
“That’s because you need to respect the f–king jungle,” he said. “I have nothing but respect for Jim Rome.”
McAfee gave props to Rome, 57, saying he’s been doing sports talk probably longer than anyone. He’s one of the most widely distributed hosts in the country. Pat said he won’t tolerate anyone talking smack about the Smack-Off King.
“No disrespect will be said on this show of Jim Rome, ever,” he said. “Love that man.”