First, St. Louis sports radio went insane — last year, Insane Broadcasting changed WQQX (1490 AM) to a Fox Sports Radio affiliate.
Now area sports radio has taken another twist thanks to Brad Hildebrand, who owns two stations in the far west St. Louis suburbs. One broadcasts sports and Hildebrand is taking a poke at the format by adopting the call letters KRAP — and that’s not K-RAP, as in the musical sense. Here’s how he describes the operation:
“There are lots of sports stations called The Fan, The Ticket, The Score, and tons of those ESPN stations, but there’s only one station that’s talking sports KRAP 24 hours a day,’’ he writes on the station’s website (sportskrap.com). “It’s Sports KRAP. Yeah, we know what you’re saying. ‘Dude, is this for real? A radio station named KRAP? You’re probably some internet-only station broadcasting from the basement of some guy’s mom’s house.’ No, we’re for real. We’re an FCC licensed radio station broadcasting (1350 AM) pounding out a whopping 500,000 milliwatts. But we do realize that we’re KRAP. In fact, our transmitter is KRAP. Our signal is KRAP. Our studios are KRAP. Our staff is KRAP.
“What makes us different is that we’re not bragging about how great we are. We know we’re KRAP. We’re just working harder to be more than just another sports radio station by being more than just a radio station. … We’re not just talking KRAP, we’re talking SPORTS KRAP!”
It’s a small-time operation based in Washington, Mo., that airs amateur sports of interest in the region it serves — parts of St. Charles, Franklin and Warren counties — and also reaches some extreme western areas of St. Louis County. The station, which was KWMO before recently being renamed, also carries syndicated shows from CBS Sports Radio and is an affiliate of the Blues and Kansas City Chiefs networks.
THE NAME GAME
Hildebrand said he had been interested in having a station called KRAP since he and some buddies were about 12 years old and listening to Johnny Rabbit (Ron Elz) on KXOX.
“We used to kid that some day we would grow up and own KRAP,’’ he said. “We used to pretend we were on KRAP.”
When he finally began exploring the possibility of obtaining those call letters, he discovered they were assigned to an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. But it was inactive, so after his inquiry KRAP was released to the FCC and he pounced.
He acknowledged there has been some griping about the name, but said the upside is big.
“When I tell people my call letters are KRAP, nobody forgets that,’’ he said.
Its website mixes live and archived coverage of amateur athletics in that area with St. Louis pro sports, and Hildebrand’s goal is to eventually become a significant factor through the entire market.
He’s been in the broadcasting business in a variety of capacities over the last four decades, since the day after he graduated from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in 1976.
He was the first TV traffic reporter for Channels 2 and 4 and in 1984 started Computraffic, which produced driving reports for many radio stations. He eventually added an operation that provided news reports for multiple stations before selling those in 1994. He ended up in Washington, where he bought what currently is KRAP as well as KSLQ (104.5 FM) in 1998 and has had them since.
Among those who have worked for him are Cardinals broadcaster Dan McLaughlin and MLB Network host Greg Amsinger. But he said he has been unable to get qualified hosts now as he wants to add local sports talk to the lineup.
“I just can’t find people,” he said.
Meanwhile, he said his broad background gives him a perspective that combines old-school values with the modern technology.
“I’m a 42-year veteran of the business but I see the writing on the wall,’’ Hildebrand said.
That writing was illustrated in bold letters by the recent implosion of former sports-talk stalwart KFNS (590 AM) under the guidance of Dan Marshall — whose only previous connection to broadcasting had been in buying ads for his wireless communicationscompany.
“I know the radio business from all sides, unlike some so-called experts,’’ Hildebrand said.
He’s exploring the possibility of buying a St. Louis station, or becoming a partner with someone to do so. And although his focus has gone from being 95 percent oriented to the on-air product five years ago to being 90 percent geared to the online side now, he said it’s necessary to obtain a station that covers the entire market.
“A broadcast signal … adds legitimacy,” he said.
And he’s philosophical.
“I’m 59 and not ready to retire,” he said. “I have ideas that can take me to the next level. I may be crap, but I’m trying hard.”
For more, read Dan Caesar’s column on STL Today where this 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.”