It’s a weekday morning less than a month before the start of college football season, and Teddy Heffner and Rick Sanford, aka “Dr. Rick,” are – no surprise – disagreeing about something on their “Talkin’ Sports” radio talk show.
This day, though, the topic is not Steve Spurrier or Dabo Swinney, but the just-announced nickname of Columbia’s new minor league baseball team.
Heffner, 64 and a veteran of 25-plus years in sports radio, is not exactly enamored of the name “Fireflies,” which will debut in 2016. “Why don’t you call ’em ‘Lightning Bugs’? Who in the South says ‘Fireflies’?” he says, all but shouting.
Sanford, 57, who has as a sponsor Spirit Communications, the company whose name will grace the minor league team’s under-construction stadium, fires back. “Don’t be dissing the Fireflies,” he says with a laugh.
For long-time listeners to “Talkin’ Sports,” it’s nothing new. But, in fact, it is.
Heffner and Sanford are in their sixth month with WGCV-AM 620 and FM 105.1 (full disclosure: this writer is a weekly guest on the show). For years, they were part of an all-sports lineup at then-Clear Channel Broadcasting’s “SportsRadio 560 The Team,” until management fired virtually its entire local lineup last October, putting Heffner and Sanford on the street.
To say they’re happy to be back on the air – they were absent four months – would be a wild understatement. But there’s still this: Not everyone who listened to them before knows they’re back.
“I still have friends who say, ‘What are you doing now?’” Heffner said. “Or callers who say, ‘I just found y’all on the air.’” Four months is a lifetime in local radio.
That’s why, when Glory Communications agreed to bring them aboard, it was both a financial and emotional lifeline, especially for Heffner. “(Glory owner) Alex Snipe took a gamble on us, and I think they’re pleased with us so far,” he said.
Now, they have to keep it going. That means, Heffner knows, they have to have more listeners, and more sponsors.
“We’re not going to challenge 107.5,” he said, referring to Columbia’s 400-pound gorilla of a sports-talk station, which owns radio rights to University of South Carolina athletics. “Heck, they put us out of business at (Clear Channel).
“But we think there’s still a need for local talk radio. We want to give listeners a choice.”
Sanford, a former USC and NFL defensive back, as well as a chiropractor (hence “Dr. Rick”), says his football experience – and the “he said-he said” chemistry between the two – is part of that. “I think what we offer is, we do our homework and we’re informative,” he said.
“We keep up on local sports, and I’m going to tell you what I think – which might anger some of my USC fans when I say Clemson can be a top-10 team this year. I have no problem saying that (because) it’s true.”
Gary Pozsik, a longtime host on WGCV, served as go-between to bring the duo and the station together. Alexis Campbell, Glory’s general sales manager for 17 of her 19 years at the station, says choosing to do so wasn’t automatic, though.
“We had a morning show of inspirational music, and the concern was, with an older audience, would we lose them,” she said. “Because we have all-talk from 10 a.m.-7 p.m., though, we thought sports would be a good transition. And we didn’t lose that audience.”
“Talkin’ Sports” remains an underdog in the battle for Midlands listeners. Heffner and Sanford have put together a lineup of fall regulars that includes ex-USC linebacker (and WACH-TV sportscaster) Corey Miller and former Gamecocks and Auburn defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson, as well as regulars Kirk Burnett (Airport High coach) and referee Dennis O’Keefe.
And Sanford can point to his past analyses of the Gamecocks, Heffner said. “Last fall, when everyone was saying USC was a top-10 team, Rick was saying, ‘I don’t know about that defense.’” The 7-6 Gamecocks were one of the SEC’s worst defenses, “so Rick knew what he was talking about.”
That means little if the show doesn’t draw listeners and sponsors. Campbell says WGCV has vigorously promoted “Talkin’ Sports” on social media and is negotiating a billboard campaign, “to rebrand who we are.” She says she wants the show to survive, and thrive. “They’re part of the family now,” she said.
As for the future, “we’re trying to make a living, have fun, and give Columbia sports fans an alternative,” Heffner said. “You can switch to 107.5, or to us, or both.
“We just want (listeners) to know we’re here.”
Credit to The State who originally published this article
Greg Hill to Jeff Van Gundy: ‘You Sounded Like You Were on the Bucks’ Payroll’
“After a pregnant pause, Van Gundy answered through laughter, throwing a zinger right back at Hill and crew.”
They are nothing if not blunt in Boston. That was the case Tuesday morning when The Greg Hill Show welcomed ABC/ESPN NBA analyst Jeff Van Gundy to the program to preview the Eastern Conference Finals.
Overall, it was a cordial visit. Questions mostly focused on the headlines related to officiating throughout the playoffs and what the Celtics would have to do to make it to the NBA Finals, which Van Gundy thinks will happen.
“I think Boston’s been the best team in the league,” he said. “I think they’re gonna win it all this year.”
Greg Hill said after the conference semi-finals matchup with Milwaukee, he was surprised to hear Jeff Van Gundy felt that way.
“Jeez, I’m glad to hear you say that,” Hill told Van Gundy. “It almost sounded like you were on the Bucks’ payroll at times during that last series.”
After a pregnant pause, Van Gundy answered through laughter, throwing a zinger right back at Hill and crew.
“You know what? I get used to that and then the Bucks people say I want Boston to win. Not that you guys would be homers or anything.”
Jeff Van Gundy will join Mike Breen and Mark Jackson at the broadcast table for the Eastern Conference Finals on ABC and ESPN. Game 1 between the Celtics and Heat is scheduled for Tuesday night at 8:30 in Miami.
99.7 The Fox Becomes New Carolina Panthers Flagship
“The new deal represents a return to The Fox for the Panthers. The station was the team’s flagship from 2000 through 2004.”
The Carolina Panthers are on the move in Charlotte. The team is leaving WBT. Their new radio home will be 99.7 The Fox, iHeartMedia’s classic rock station.
The station will carry all Panthers game broadcasts, the Panthers pregame and postgame shows as well the team’s weekly coach’s show. There will also be an on-site presence for every home game at Bank of America Stadium.
“We are thrilled to increase iHeartSports NFL partnerships with the addition of the Carolina Panthers. The passion between a sports team and its fan base is one-of-a-kind, and we’re thrilled to expand the Carolina Panthers’ reach to their passionate supporters with our new multi-media deal,” Kevin LeGrett, President of iHeartMedia Sports, said in a press release. “iHeart’s reach in Charlotte is unprecedented, meaning more fans will hear their favorite team than ever before. The partnership will include broadcast, streaming, podcast, events, marketing and promotional elements which will drive results for the Panthers!”
“The team at 99.7 The Fox is delighted to once again be the broadcast home of the Carolina Panthers, bringing best-in-class content from the team to its dedicated and passionate fans,” Dave Carwile, President of iHeartMedia Multi-Platform Group – Charlotte, added. “We know how special the relationship and connection between the city of Charlotte, the Panthers and the fan base is, and we’re thrilled to enhance that bond with an expanded coverage area reaching more fans on 99.7 The Fox. We can’t wait to get started.”
The new deal represents a return to The Fox for the Panthers. The station was the team’s flagship from 2000 through 2004. Every other year of the franchise’s existence, their games have been heard on WBT.
“The Panthers are incredibly grateful for our partnership with Radio One, and the role that WBT has played in sharing some of the greatest moments in franchise history for 22 seasons, including each of the past 17,” Jake Burns, Chief Commercial Officer for the Carolina Panthers, said.
Indiana Sports Talk Station Set To Flip Formats
“The promos say that station owner Woof Boom Broadcasting is “building a new radio station for Muncie and Delaware County”.
Sports fans in Muncie, Indiana may soon lose their favorite sports station. Listeners to Muncie Sports 92.5 have heard promos teasing a new station coming to the frequency.
The promos say that station owner Woof Boom Broadcasting is “building a new radio station for Muncie and Delaware County”. The station has also changed its call letters. What was WXFN is now WMUN.
Muncie Sports 92.5 airs on two signals. 1340 AM is a 1000 watt station. 92.5 FM is a translator signal.
The station airs an hour-long local show hosted by Mark Foerster on weekdays at 4 pm. It carries syndicated programming from FOX Sports Radio and is the local affiliate for the Indianapolis Colts, Indiana Pacers, Cincinnati Reds, IndyCar Series, Ball State University football and women’s basketball, and three local high schools.
ESPN 680 is still available from nearby Marion,IN. Two Indianapolis sports talk stations are strong enough to be heard in the town as well according to Radio Locator.