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KFNS Returns To The St. Louis Airwaves

Jason Barrett

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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.

KFNS is to be on around the clock.

“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

Sports Radio News

Gregg Giannotti: Biggest Issue With Craig Carton, Jon Jastremski Feud Is “Mole” At WFAN

“The thing that bothers me the most about this is the leak from within the building. Someone here is sending this audio out to a former listener…to cause problems.”

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Gregg Giannotti

A feud has sprung up between WFAN afternoon host Craig Carton and former WFAN host John Jastremski. Boomer & Gio discussed the spat on Friday morning’s show, with Gregg Giannotti being troubled by a revelation.

During his New York New York podcast, a voicemail left for Jastremski asked about Carton’s comments, but the caller said a WFAN employee sent him the clip of Carton’s criticism.

“So that means we have a mole,” Boomer Esiason said.

“That right there is a problem,” Gregg Giannotti added. “‘We both have a mutual friend that still works over there’ and that person shared a link of Craig talking about JJ (Jastremski). So, clearly, that person is on JJ’s side and they’re still working here. That’s a mole! That’s someone going against the team! And I think know who that is!”

Esiason then asked if he knew the person, to which Giannotti said he did. He then asked if he would be upset by who it was, which Giannotti affirmed as well.

The show then played the final portion of Jastremski’s rant, which included him saying to Carton “I’m not listening to a crook. So you know what? Go take a f—ing hike.”

“Jesus!” Esiason exclaimed. “Good for JJ, though. Standing up for himself.”

“I like both of these guys. I do. I got respect for both of them,” said Giannotti. “Everybody doesn’t have to go to the jail, crook thing with Craig every single time. Do they? It’s low-hanging fruit. Everybody goes there. There’s no way he can defend himself in that way because everybody saying ‘You went to jail’ didn’t go to jail, and it’s not apples and oranges. But the business stuff is apples-to-apples.

“So when I hear that, I’m just like ‘Ok, you went there. Be a little more creative than that’. As far as I listen to legend things, please, nobody has given me worse advice in my life than Mike Francesa did. Nobody. I would still be out in the newsroom cutting Islander highlights if I listened to that guy. And the only reason why Mike liked JJ was because he didn’t feel he was a threat. The only people Mike likes is the people he feels non-threatened by. And that’s where that comes from.”

After concluding Jastremski’s rant was a “little over the top”, Giannotti then turned his attention to the “mole” inside the station.

“The thing that bothers me the most about this is the leak from within the building. Someone here is sending this audio out to a former listener…to cause problems. That — to me — is an issue. The guy on the voicemail said ‘We may or may not have a mutual friend that still works at the radio station’ and this guy just slammed the radio station. And he’s friends with the guy who slammed the radio station and then slammed Craig and this guy’s on their side?! And this guy that works here is on their side?! That to me is a major, major problem.”

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Sports Radio News

Dan Dakich: Craig Carton is ‘The Way Talk Radio Should Be’

“If you’re being critical because you want to be the guy that’s always critical I don’t think you can do that either. I think you gotta be honest. And criticism comes with it.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Craig Carton has prided himself on being one of those hosts who tells it like it is, especially when talking about New York’s pro sports teams.

That willingness to call a spade a spade and levy criticism on teams like the Jets and Giants, especially when things are not going well on the field, is something Dan Dakich has always seen as a recipe for success in the industry.

Interviewing Carton on Thursday on his Outkick show Don’t @ Me, Dakich praised the WFAN afternoon host for essentially creating a blueprint for how sports talk should be done.

“In Indianapolis I’m the bad guy right, because I say look the Colts stink, this regime is 46-49-1 – why are you telling me the GM is the best in the country – why are you telling me Frank Reich can really coach?” Dakich said. “New York’s different, though, right? I mean, New York they expect you to say look if you ain’t any good then you ain’t any good. Yu don’t sugarcoat nothing, and I think that’s the way talk radio should be.”

Carton noted that what’s key in how you critique a team or a front office, executive or owner is finding a balance. He said you can’t as a host be the ultimate homer and blow smoke up everyone’s behind.

“You have to be able to be critical when it’s warranted,” Carton said. “If you’re being critical because you want to be the guy that’s always critical I don’t think you can do that either. I think you gotta be honest. And criticism comes with it.”

Carton pointed out that the fan bases in both New York and in Indianapolis are ultimately the same, because at the end of the day it’s all about making sure you have competent people calling the right shots. He added that the organizations are the same too because of how sensitive they can be to criticism, which he said if they don’t like it, “too bad.”

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Sports Radio News

Nick Ashooh Joins BetMGM Tonight

Jordan Bondurant

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The talent lineup for the BetQL show BetMGM Tonight is expanding, and Nick Ashooh is joining the team.

The news became official on Thursday when BetQL announced the addition of Ashooh on Twitter.

Ashooh has worked mainly in the D.C. market up to this point in his career, hosting for Audacy and NBC Sports Washington. He had been contributing sports betting content for the BetQL network for the latter part of the last year.

Ashooh joins co-hosts Trysta Krick and Ryan Horvat on BetMGM Tonight. The show can be heard weeknights from 7-11 p.m.

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