Connect with us
Jim Cutler Demos

Sports Radio News

The Radio Business Slayed The Beast 980

Jason Barrett

Published

on

The beauty of “The Beast 980” crossed paths with the nature of the beast that is the business of radio.

It happened on Wilshire Boulevard this week, just down the street from the La Brea Tar Pits.

No one comes out smelling great when you’re stuck in this kind of muck.

CBS Radio has been trying to sell off the iconic KFWB-AM station since the end of 2011, hiring Diane Sutter as a trustee to take care of the “asset” and make it presentable.

Eighteen months ago, after the go-to all-news format was bastardized into various hybrids of news, talk and entertainment, they decided to give it a go with the all-sports route. This would finally allow Jim Rome the syndicated spot in L.A. that CBS has been promising, and it could build something around a relationship with the Clippers as their home base.

Then, a buyer showed up. CBS, which by all reports was at a point of just trying to get this beast off the books, somewhat surprisingly accepted the offer. With this proviso: The remodel may look spiffy, but it wanted a tear-down, replaced with foreign-language programs.

Those who’ve been employed at the fourth all-sports format in Southern California — one that gave off a much more home-spun, independent feel than what gets filtered with ESPN-owned KSPN-AM (710), iHeartMedia/the Dodgers’ KLAC-AM (570) and the Angels’ KLAA-AM (830) — have until mid-February to say goodbye, in the language of their choosing.

“You don’t know what will appeal to a new buyer — you try to create something with value, and what’s what we did with this sports format,” said Sutter, the president and CEO of Shooting Star Broadcasting who eventually arranged the sale to Universal Media Access, a company connected to a private equity firm that boasts of buying stations “at a distressed price” and turning them into brokered ethnic programming.

“This was a great programmed radio station,” Sutter added, “but the buyers liked the station for other reasons. That’s their right.”

Yeah, but they’re wrong.

No matter how many times those in the business of media have to endure this kind of change, it’s never a sporty process.

“When we were hired, we were told the station was for sale and the goal was to sell, but all the research out there indicated there was a need for real, localized sports talk in L.A.,” said early-morning co-host Jeanne Zelasko, there from the launch in September 2014 with experience working at San Diego-based XTRA-AM and Fox Sports Radio and TV.

“We can’t control the business aspect of all this, but I don’t think we had any game pulled on us. There are some young producers in the building who are learning a tough life lesson. You can’t commit yourself so fully to a job that just won’t love you back.

“It almost felt like we were ‘WKRP in Cincinnati,’ a small station in some ways that kept going when others were trying to swat us away. Maybe there was slow recognition at the start, but I felt we were turning a corner because of the Twitter activity and the Clippers’ exposure. We were hiring solid people (like Bill Plaschke in the morning and Chris Myers in the afternoon) and it was time to go kick some butt.

“What’s frustrating for me is I felt we were finally providing a good service to this city and we believed in it. When we first started doing mornings (with Marques Johnson), I felt we could stand on a rock on Highland and Wilshire and reach more people if we just screamed loudly. Eventually we were watching our ratings go from a 0.1 and hit a 1.2.”

Ratings will unfortunately be the bottom-line measure of semi-failure and true failure in the radio world these days. What “The Beast” generated wasn’t spectacular by any means compared to its direct competitors, even with the Clippers’ momentum.

A year ago, KSPN was cutting staffers and leading the L.A. sports-talk format with overall ratings at 1.3, well ahead of KLAC (0.6) and KFWB (0.2, last among the 41 stations monitored by Arbitron). While most ratings for these formats are broken down further into how the men 25-54 demographic fares, it looks more like a dissection of a sliver of pie that’s half eaten.

Program director Tom Lee, who came into his job just nine months ago replacing Owen Murphy, said he was “proud of our significant ratings growth and was very optimistic we were positioned well for 2016. But this is a tough business. It’s sad to see it end. The ‘buzz’ may have been there, but ratings are the real scorecard in programming.”

In assessing “The Beast” upon its arrival in 2014, and even months before that, the hope was KFWB would be taken into the 21st century in a more dignified way than predecessors that came and failed.

Survival of the fittest, ironically, won’t be legacy of the “The Beast.”

To read the full article visit the LA Daily News where it was originally published

Sign up for the BSM 8@8

The Top 8 Sports Media Stories of the Day, sent directly to your inbox, every morning at 8am ET.

Invalid email address
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Sports Radio News

101.9 The Horn in Austin Sold to Norsan Media

Norsan has appointed Edgar Saucedo as Southwest Market President overseeing all of the company’s Texas operations and Ramon Loo as Austin Program Director.

Published

on

Logo for 101.9 The Horn in Austin, TX

A Radio Insight report says Norsan Media has purchased 101.9 The Horn in Austin, Texas from Genuine Austin Radio. According to the report, Norsan had already been operation a couple of Genuine Austin Radio’s stations and will now take add the rest of their stations, which also includes country stations 99.3 FM.

The report also says Norsan has appointed Edgar Saucedo as Southwest Market President overseeing all of the company’s Texas operations and Ramon Loo as Austin Program Director.

The Horn used to also be on 104.9 FM and was the University of Texas flagship station for Longhorn athletics. That stopped when Norsan took over the signal to air Regional Mexican programming. The Texas Rangers games air currently on The Horn.

Should anything change with the programming or format at The Horn, we will keep you posted.

Sign up for the BSM 8@8

The Top 8 Sports Media Stories of the Day, sent directly to your inbox, every morning at 8am ET.

Invalid email address
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Continue Reading

Sports Radio News

AJ Hoffman Headed to Mornings on San Antonio’s Sports Star

“Excited for my next chapter post-Vegas and stoked to start building an audience in San Antonio!”

Published

on

Photo of AJ Hoffman and a logo for 94.1 San Antonio's Sports Star

AJ Hoffman announced via his X account he will be back on local radio in Texas doing mornings at San Antonio’s Sports Star. “Life announcement,” Hoffman wrote. “I’m moving back to Texas. Starting May 6, you can find me back on local radio, doing mornings on San Antonio’s Sports Star. Excited for my next chapter post-Vegas and stoked to start building an audience in San Antonio!”

Hoffman had worked for several years at ESPN 97.5 in Houston and was most recently in Las Vegas serving as the executive vice president and director of digital content for Pregame, an information site for sports wagering.

Hoffman had hosted the popular show, The Blitz, with Fred Faour for more than 10 years and then became the station Program Director in 2019. He exited the station in the summer of 2021 to take the position with Pregame.

San Antonio’s Sports Star made a change earlier this year in mornings when Rudy Jay left the station in mid-January. RJ Ochoa, Managing Editor of the ‘Blogging the Boys’ website, took over for Jay, doing the show with station Program Director Rob Thompson.

Sign up for the BSM 8@8

The Top 8 Sports Media Stories of the Day, sent directly to your inbox, every morning at 8am ET.

Invalid email address
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Continue Reading

Sports Radio News

Steak Shapiro About Pat McAfee: “Dude, Relax”

“That is the definition of cringe. You have to be authentic.”

Published

on

Graphic for The Steakhouse on 92.9 in Atlanta and a picture of Pat McAfee

Sports radio has spent a lot of time during this football offseason talking about Bill Belichick. From his ending in New England to the search for a new head coaching position to being a free agent in the sports media world, his name has come up often. Steak Shapiro and Sandra Golden hit on the topic this week during The Steakhouse on 92.9 The Game in Atlanta.

A lengthy story from ESPN’s Don Van Natta Jr., Seth Wickersham and Jeremy Fowler this week reported Belichick may not have landed the Atlanta Falcons head coaching position because of a conversation Falcons owner Arthur Blank had with New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft. Another part of the story says the executives around Arthur Blank didn’t have Belichick in their top 3 of candidates which had interviewed for the position.

The same report also divulged that Belichick is expected to sign a deal with Omaha Productions to provide analysis and is interested in potentially coaching either the Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles or New York Giants after taking this year off.

The same day, The Pat McAfee Show had Belichick on as a guest and announced the coach would join McAfee and team for their annual Draft Spectacular.

Shapiro and Golden talked about the article as it related to Atlanta, but also about Belichick’s appearance on McAfee’s show. “[Belichick] on McAfee trying to be this lighthearted guy that loves The Pat McAfee Show, it’s a stretch dude, that is a stretch.”

“That is the definition of cringe,” Golden replied. “You have to be authentic.”

Shapiro does an impersonation of McAfee talking excitedly about hanging out with Belichick and said, “Dude, relax, relax…the whole thing…I wish we hadn’t gotten started on this…”

Back in late January, McAfee had said on his show about Belichick, “I would like to let everybody know…I will make this promise that if Bill Belichick is going to do TV, ol’ Pat McAfee will be in the running to try to get Bill Belichick to join our progrum [sic],” McAfee said. “Belichick… knows everything about the NFL. Every game that’s ever been played…every player that’s ever been great — that’s why he was so great on [NFL 100 All-Time Team]. And after what we saw on College GameDay, he’s got moxie too. He’s great on TV, I think we’ll all be incredibly lucky if that’s the case.”

Sign up for the BSM 8@8

The Top 8 Sports Media Stories of the Day, sent directly to your inbox, every morning at 8am ET.

Invalid email address
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Continue Reading
Advertisement

Advertisement

Upcoming Events

Barrett Media Writers

Copyright © 2024 Barrett Media.