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Is KFWB Ready For Beast Mode?

Jason Barrett

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Southern California proper probably needs another all-sports radio station like the ozone layer needs another hole.

That said, go fetch an umbrella. The unbearable barometric conditions could get weird again. Cloudy with a chance of more meatball opinions pelting down upon us.

Even if KFWB-AM (980) continues to position itself for a morph into what would be the fourth sports-centric station in these parts starting Sept. 1, that shouldn’t translate that into a situation where the sky is falling. The residual effect of this potential hybrid national lineup from the CBS and NBC sports radio networks is that Jim Rome stands to finally have an L.A. radio base again.

It’s been some 20 months since Rome left his weekday show on the Premier Radio Network, carried locally as part of Fox Sports Radio on KLAC-AM (570), and joined the new CBS Radio lineup. After giving his 9 a.m.-to-noon spot to comedian Jay Mohr, Rome has been virtually unheard since except for those who track him down through online streaming or standing in an updraft of San Diego’s 1090-AM.

Rome had already made CBS Sports Net his weekday afternoon TV home, as well as the monthly Showtime curse-words-and-all program that has been the highlight to date with his career diversion. But circling back to an L.A. listener base that has been with him from the start his career back at XTRA-AM 690 in the 1990s is what a station like KFWB needs to find some relevancy again as it has floundered in a format funk and ownership purgatory for the last several years.

Diane Sutter, the point person in the KFWB Asset Trust set up when CBS had to attempt to sell off the station because of FCC regulations about owning too many media assets in one city, told the KFWB staffers recently that the all-sports format change was coming. The KFWB Twitter account had a post last week about how the “new AM 980 shakes up the #LA #sports scene in September.”

It was also disclosed that KFWB had taken out website domains such as 980TheBeast.com and FeedTheBeast980.com in preparation for its new marketing approach. Think of “The Beast” as putting the “B” into a new KFWB.

It also has ownership of the names 980Fan.com and TheFanLA.com from two years ago.

KFWB, an historic station on the L.A. scene since the 1920s, but one that still seems to struggle with its 5,000-watt signal coming out of East L.A., has already been carrying the NBC Radio Sports shows “Going Deep” with Amani Toomer and Dan Schwartzman in the 7-to-10 p.m. slot as well as “Eric Kuselias Show” from 3-to-5 a.m.

Local sports updates from long-time KFWB voices Bill Seward, Ted Sobel and Bob Harvey, whose jobs are contracted through another company called the Total Traffic & Weather Network, are left wondering if their services will be carried on through the all-sports change.

The station has the groundwork laid by already having claimed the Clippers’ radio rights the last few years and keeping them as an anchor tenant through 2015. Too bad it didn’t also scoop up the Stanley Cup championship Kings, who recently cut a deal with KABC-AM (790) after years of buying time on KTLK-AM (1150).

A wise move by the station would be to partner with KLAA-AM (830) and add the Angels’ and Ducks’ simulcast games, giving it year-around live sports programming. It may not provide a huge boost to the ratings, but from an advertising sales strategy it would makes for a better product when trying to match up against a KLAC or KSPN with its own menu of live games.

Smart, too, would be to cultivate a live, local sports show from 6-to-9 a.m. leading into Rome, in an attempt to draw L.A.-centric listeners.

The bottom line is that KFWB has an opportunity to make some inroads on the local sports landscape with some creative networking. The sky may not be the limit, but there always seems to be ad revenue to be generated in this medium from hair loss, freezing fat, credit card consolidation, child custody lawyers or some sort of male-part dysfunction.

For the rest of this article visit the LA Daily News where it was originally published

Sports Radio News

Jonathan Zaslow No Longer With WQAM

An attempt to reach out to Zaslow for comment went unanswered.

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WQAM midday host Jonathan Zaslow is no longer with WQAM in Miami.

The radio station has removed his show from the website and references to him and his normal 10a-2p ET midday timeslot program have been scrubbed from the station website.

Zaslow tweeted at 5:19p ET confirming the news.

Whether or not this has any effect on his involvement with the Miami Heat broadcasts is unknown as of now.

Zaslow had been with 790 the Ticket since 2004. He was transitioned from Audacy-owned 790 to sister station AM 560 Sports WQAM last October. During his tenure he has worked with a number of established local voices including Joy Taylor, Amber Wilson, Brett Romberg, and Brendan Tobin amongst others.

WQAM has gone thru a number of changes, including a rebranding effort to call the station “560 The Joe”. That ended last year with the station returning to the AM 560 Sports WQAM brand listeners were more familiar with. What they have planned next in Zaslow’s timeslot is unclear but local listeners will likely get some answers next week.

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Sports Radio News

Vanessa Richardson Named Houston Rockets Sideline Reporter, Paul Gallant to Host Solo on ESPN 97.5

Vanessa Richardson will be on the sidelines for the Houston Rockets and Paul Gallant will host solo show on ESPN 97.5.

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Vanessa and Gallant

Changes are taking place in Houston sports media. First, the Houston Rockets will have a new television sideline reporter this season, and she’s a familiar name to Houston sports fans.

Vanessa Richardson, the now former co-host of ESPN 97.5’s Vanessa and Gallant, revealed that she will be on the sidelines for the NBA franchise covering the team for AT&T SportsNet Southwest.

She tweeted the news saying, “Elated to be the new Houston Rockets sideline reporter! I can’t wait to travel the country & share the stories of this dynamic team during 80+ games on AT&T SportsNet Southwest. I’ll continue to fill-in as a host/reporter for Astros broadcasts as well.”

Richardson’s co-host, Paul Gallant, tweeted that with Richardson leaving the show for the Rockets sideline gig, Vanessa and Gallant will become the Paul Gallant Show. The solo show led by Gallant begins Monday September 26th.

“We’re excited to have Paul host his own show”, said Todd Farquharson, General Manager of ESPN 97.5 & 92.5.  “He’s super creative, energetic, and likeable.  He’ll get the audience involved and have fun.”

Paul commented, “You know what I’ve always loved about sports talk radio?  That it’s interactive.  Whether through a phone call, text message, tweet or on Twitch, it’s the best place for sports fans to come together and celebrate…or vent.  And that’s what The Paul Gallant Show is going to be…Houston’s platform to talk about its teams. THE most interactive sports talk show in Houston.”

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Sports Radio News

Ken Carman: Al Michaels ‘Feels Untethered’ On Amazon Prime Video

“The thing that stuck out was Kirk Herbstreit ripping the elf,” said Carman. “Don’t be ripping Brownie the Elf, man.”

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The Cleveland Browns defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers during Thursday Night Football on Amazon Prime Video. 92.3 The Fan morning host Ken Carman applauded Al Michaels for his performance during the presentation.

“Al Michaels feels untethered for the first time. He’s not network television anymore and he can say whatever he wants. We interviewed him on the pregame show and I was nervous,” Carman said.

“He’s a legend,” co-host Anthony Lima added.

During the final play of the game, the Steelers fumbled a lateral into the endzone which the Browns recovered to make the final score 29-17. Michaels said “that may be meaningful to some of you. And you know who I mean”, alluding to people who had placed wagers on the game.

Carman, who hosts two-hours of pre-game coverage on the Browns Radio Network, continued to discuss how nervous he was interviewing Michaels. He also discussed how impressive Amazon’s behind-the-scenes production was, pointing out the only football broadcast with more cameras is the Super Bowl. More than 400 people work behind the scenes for Amazon Prime Video.

“The thing that stuck out was Kirk Herbstreit ripping the elf,” said Carman. “Don’t be ripping Brownie the Elf, man.”

Carman later said people angry that Michaels misspoke by saying the Pro Football Hall of Fame is “down I-71” instead of I-77 were unreasonable, and joked “Al Michaels hasn’t been on a highway in 20 years”.

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