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Is KFWB Ready For Beast Mode?

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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

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.”

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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.”

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Sports Radio News

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.”

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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.

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Sports Radio News

Pat McAfee: ‘No One Will Disrespect Jim Rome On My Show’

“That’s because you need to respect the f–king jungle.”

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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.”

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