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Sports Business

Will JMV drive over to The Fan?

August 19, 2008
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A couple things became clear from reader feedback I’ve been getting about a story I wrote regarding dueling sports/talk radio stations for this week’s print edition of the Indianapolis Business Journal. First, fans of WNDE-AM 1260 are much more vocal than those of WFNI-AM 1070.

Second, sports/talk radio listeners seem to be tiring of the happy talk of WFNI’s afternoon co-hosts. IBJ readers commenting on the article about the war between WNDE and WFNI, The Fan, want less chatter and more sports news and analysis. I’m betting WFNI officials are hearing the same thing. It will be interesting to see if there is a format change—or at least a tweak to the afternoon drive show featuring Indianapolis Star columnist Bob Kravitz and former Reebok executive Eddie White.

Third, John Michael Vincent, host of WNDE’s afternoon drive show, has an ardent following. If you don’t believe me, check out the comments under the story at www.ibj.com.

Even Tom Severino, local vice president of Emmis Communications, which owns WFNI, raved about JMV. So naturally, I asked Severino if he would consider trying to hire JMV away from WNDE. I asked the question shortly after Severino said he wanted to add more local on-air talent to the WFNI line-up. There was a pause on the other end of the line. But in the end, Severino wouldn’t bite. He didn’t dismiss the idea out of hand either. No doubt WNDE would counter any WFNI offer for JMV. While many readers assumed Emmis’ WFNI has deeper pockets than WNDE, I suspect that has more to do with WFNI’s highly visible posh headquarters on the downtown circle than anything else. San Antonio-based Clear Channel, which owns WNDE, has plenty of resources, and will be eager to protect this profitable enterprise. So stay tuned.
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