Sports talk in St. Louis was born in 1992 at 1380 AM, which had the call letters of KGLD before soon becoming KASP. Now, nearly a quarter century later, 1380 is counting on several big names still around from that era to get it rolling.
Kevin Slaten and J.C. Corcoran, who have worn bad-boy hats on the St. Louis airwaves for decades, form the programming bookends of the operation. And Howard Balzer and Charlie “Tuna” Edwards are on the way.
The station, now known as KRFT, recently was leased by talkstl.com — a web-based programming provider. By taking over the radio station, it is also able to send its content out over the air.
The first move was to put longtime St. Louis sports-talk firebrand Slaten in the key afternoon drive-time slot (3-6 p.m.), when he has been doing his customary raucous show since mid-March.
Starting Monday, the station’s lineup grows again. The marquee name among the newcomers is Corcoran, who will be in the morning-drive slot (7-9 a.m.). Although he doesn’t do a sports show per se, he frequently touches on athletics. And sports will be the focus of the station throughout most of the day.
“Everything’s going to have at least a bit of a sports flavor,’’ said Scott Gertken, who runs the operation. “Probably 90 percent.”
Longtime St. Louis sports talkers Balzer and Edwards are to arrive April 20 from WQQX (1490 AM). And nationally syndicated jock-jabber host Jim Rome is on in early afternoons.
Gertken said he “giggles” when it’s mentioned that some think he’ll have trouble operating a regular radio station after having been in charge of a simpler online business. He said he has people working for him with a good understanding of regular radio, adding, “We couldn’t be more excited about the lineup we were able to finalize. We’ve done a whole lot in 10 days.”
The station, which is using NBC Sports Radio to provide its additional programming, currently is licensed to operate only during the daytime. But Gertken hopes to be on 24 hours by May 1.
Corcoran has been on the St. Louis airwaves for almost all of the last three decades, at many spots on the dial. But vast changes in the business phased out his style — a morning show heavy on talk about news, entertainment, sports and politics mixed with music.
He ended up getting work in Houston last year but also did a show tailored to St. Louis for a time on KFNS (590 AM) — which now is off the air. The Houston gig fizzled after a format change, but he persevered. He has been conducting his program digitally (at jcontheline.com and a mobile app), which he plans to continue to do from 6-7 a.m. before his show starts on the 1380/ talkstl.com operation.
He’s known for his outspoken — sometimes controversial — stances. And he promises no changes in approach or format of the show.
“It will be exactly the same thing I’ve been doing,’’ he said. “Anybody who listens to the show is going to hear J.C. Corcoran — they know what they’re going to get.”
What gets his proverbial goat is the current state of the radio business.
“Its embarrassing to watch the forces that be at some of the bigger stations rumble around putting people on the air you can tell are going nowhere” while proven veterans are available, he said.
He adds that he finds it perplexing that he can be on in big markets (he’s done fill-in work in Chicago in addition to his time in Houston) but has had trouble finding on-air work at a major station in St. Louis — where he is established.
“You explain to me what the rationale is for people who run radio stations here that J.C. Corcoran is good enough to work in (markets ranked third and fourth nationally) but just not in market 21,” he said. “You explain that to me and I’ll write you a check.”
But he’s glad to be coming back on the St. Louis airwaves.
“It will be a general interest talk (show), entertainment and a heavy dose of my twisted mind,” he said.
1380’S WEEKDAY LINEUP
7-9 a.m. • J.C. Corcoran
9-11 a.m. • Chris Razavi, Todd Blackstock
11 a.m.-1 p.m • Howard Balzer, Charlie “Tuna” Edwards (starts April 20th)
1-3 p.m • Jim Rome
3-6 p.m. • Kevin Slaten
6 p.m. • T. Cole, Steve “The Greek” Jones
* Midday lineup before April 20 to be determined.
Shan & RJ: ‘Inside The NBA Was Trying To Prevent A Riot Last Night’
“You know that moment? Everyone’s joking around. Everyone’s having fun, then someone doesn’t take the joke as a joke anymore and all the fun is sucked out of the room and things are awkward and serious?”
Things were very far from normal on Thursday night on the set of Inside the NBA. During the postgame show, Warriors fans threw objects at Charles Barkley as TNT was broadcasting live outside of the Chase Center in San Francisco.
Friday morning on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas, Shan and RJ discussed the scene and said things felt out of the ordinary long before anything was even thrown.
“You know that moment? Everyone’s joking around. Everyone’s having fun, then someone doesn’t take the joke as a joke anymore and all the fun is sucked out of the room and things are awkward and serious?” Shan Shariff said. “That’s what happened yesterday on Inside the NBA both in the pregame and the postgame.”
Barkley had been picking on Warriors fans calling them annoying and describing San Francisco as having “dirty ass streets full of homeless people” throughout the series.
Shariff said even in the pregame show, it seemed that the Inside the NBA crew was wary of the crowd gathered behind them.
“It felt like yesterday instead of having fun and cutting loose, it felt like they were trying to prevent a riot.”
After a rolled-up t-shirt struck Barkley, he got up and acted as if he was going to throw a ceramic coffee mug into the crowd. Shariff said it was clear that Ernie Johnson and Kenny Smith thought Barkley was about to be involved in an altercation of some sort.
RJ Choppy disagreed though. His immediate thought in seeing the video was that Barkley was just taking his ribbing of the crowd to the next level like a WWE superstar might.
“I think he knew the wrestling role, but I don’t think the other guys did,” Choppy said.
Sean and RJ expounded on the wrestling comparison, saying that he had a specific event in mind. He compared the way the crowd treated Barkley on Thursday night to how the crowd at ECW’s One Night Stand in 2006 treated John Cena. Cena and security may have thought they knew what was coming, but it was clear when fans started throwing chairs at the WWE champ that their ire was more serious than anticipated.
There can be peace for the time being. TNT’s NBA season ends at the conclusion of the Western Conference Finals. It will be interesting to see if this animosity returns in the 2022-23 season.
Don La Greca: ‘Howie Rose Was The Only Sports Talk Host As Passionate About Hockey As Me’
“When you look at the history of sports radio, the only person that I can think of that called games and was [as] passionate about hockey as I am that had a regular radio show was Howie Rose.”
Don LaGreca has been working on Rangers radio broadcasts since 2005, and has served as the backup play-by-play announcer for the last few seasons, filling in for Kenny Albert when he is unable to be on the call. Because of Albert’s responsibilities in calling national playoff games on television amid the new media rights agreement between the league and its partners (ESPN and Turner Sports), La Greca has called more Rangers games of late, and received positive reviews.
Yesterday on The Michael Kay Show on 98.7 ESPN New York, Kay mentioned the compliments callers have been giving La Greca for his ability to call hockey games, some of whom credit him for introducing them to the sport.
“The one thing hockey is is underexposed,” said La Greca. “Because you hear a lot of people say, ‘Boy, I didn’t realize how much fun this sport is; how great it is to go to a game,’ because a lot of us don’t grow up around it.”
La Greca realizes that he is in a unique position being the co-host of a sports radio show and an NHL play-by-play announcer, giving him a responsibility to communicate and opine on the game of hockey to his listening audience at large. He considers himself the second person to have such a distinction – the pioneer of which, while he may no longer be calling hockey games, still frequently discusses the sport on Twitter.
“When you look at the history of sports radio, the only person that I can think of that called games and was [as] passionate about hockey as I am that had a regular radio show was Howie Rose,” said La Greca. “And Howie Rose has been out of the sports radio game for 25 years.”
Rose was with WFAN from its launch on July 1, 1987 as its weekday nighttime host. Additionally, he served in the same role as La Greca, backing up Kenny Albert’s father Marv on Rangers radio broadcasts – where, in 1994, he delivered the illustrious call of Stephane Matteau’s game-winning, double-overtime goal in game 7 that sent the team to the Stanley Cup Finals. One year later, Rose left WFAN to begin calling games for the NHL’s New York Islanders on Sportschannel, and did not host a sports radio show during his time as a lead hockey play-by-play announcer.
While there are other sports radio hosts in the New York marketplace that exhibit a passion for hockey such as Boomer Esiason and Gregg Giannotti, La Greca is the only one who actively calls the games – akin to how Michael Kay is the only active New York sports radio host who regularly calls professional baseball.
“You don’t have somebody who is as close to the sport as I am to have this kind of forum, so maybe there are a few people like, ‘Hey, I’m a fan of Don. I really don’t like hockey, but he calls a few games so let me listen,’ and it kind of opened a door that otherwise wouldn’t have been opened” said La Greca. “….I don’t think it’s anything that I’m doing. It’s just an opportunity that I have, and it is humbling and it’s pretty cool to hear and I hope those people stick with the sport.”
WFAN, WCBS Become New Flagship For Rutgers Football, Men’s Basketball
“The multi-year deal begins with the 2022-23 season.”
Rutgers University and Audacy have announced an agreement that will make WFAN and WCBS the flagship stations for the school’s football and men’s basketball teams.
The multi-year deal begins with the 2022-23 season.
“Rutgers athletics is on the rise under Greg Schiano and Steve Pikiell in the Big Ten, bringing excitement and anticipation to Tri-State area fans,” said Chris Oliviero, Market President, Audacy New York. “WFAN and WCBS 880 will provide listeners with unmatched coverage of the Scarlet Knights and we are honored to add Rutgers to Audacy’s market-leading play-by-play portfolio.”
A 30-minute pregame and postgame show will air on WFAN for all Rutgers football games, while basketball games on WCBS will get a 15-minute pregame and postgame show.
Games will be able to be streamed locally on the Audacy app, and the company said both stations will promote the partnership on-air and digitally, in addition to on-campus events throughout the school year.