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Sports Business

Local sports radio market adds third player

January 3, 2013

The local sports radio market has added another player.

On Jan. 2, WXNT-AM 1430 benched its news-talk lineup featuring Glenn Beck, Dennis Miller and Michael Smerconish and became a CBS Sports radio affiliate.

CBS Sports launched its radio programming the same day with dozens of affiliates nationwide. The local station’s new lineup includes shows hosted by John Feinstein, Jim Rome and Doug Gottlieb.

Locally, Entercom-owned CBS Sports 1430 will go head-to-head with Emmis Communications’ WFNI-AM 1070 and Clear Channel’s WNDE-AM 1260.

It’s not the first time the market has had three sports-talk stations. When Emmis moved WIBC to the FM dial and launched WFNI—known as The Fan—on 1070 AM in January 2008, it competed with WXLW-AM 950 and WNDE.

But the market couldn’t sustain three sports-talk competitors, and WXLW changed formats to news-talk in September, ending its 10-year run as a sports-talk station.

At this point, it appears the three current sports-talk stations will employ different strategies. While WFNI is an ESPN Radio affiliate and features the popular nationally syndicated Mike & Mike in the Morning show, much of its programming is locally generated.

WNDE offers a mix of local and national programming, with its locally generated afternoon drive-time show hosted by Jake Query and Derek Schultz going head-to-head with WFNI’s The Ride with JMV.

It appears that the new CBS Sports Radio 1430 will rely on a largely national line-up. During the important afternoon drive slot, 1430 will air The Doug Gottlieb Show.

CBS Sports Radio 1430 should have a smattering of local content. WXNT has carried Butler University basketball and Notre Dame football games, and the newly formatted station appears poised to continue to carry Notre Dame football. Butler basketball has moved over to WFNI. Entercom officials were not available for comment Thursday morning.

During the morning drive time, CBS Sports will air a show hosted by retired NFL running back Tiki Barber, Brandon Tierney and ESPN alum Dana Jacobson.

Local media buyers and radio industry experts are skeptical that there’s enough of a listening audience and advertising revenue to sustain three sports-talk stations in the central Indiana market, but noted the budget for a station like CBS Sports 1430 should be relatively low giving it a fighting chance.

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