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Sports Radio News

Sports Station Is KRAP

Jason Barrett

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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

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.

Barry Jackson, a veteran journalist with the Miami Herald, reports that 790 The Ticket morning hosts Brendan Tobin and Leroy Hoard will move to that 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. WQAM slot during the week of Oct. 3.

In more station movement, Joe Rose’s WQAM morning show with Zach Krantz now will be simulcast on The Ticket, replacing the Tobin/Hoard program. Audacy, which owns both WQAM and The Ticket, also simulcast Marc Hochman’s and Channing Crowder’s afternoon show.

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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