WNDE-AM 1260 has filled the afternoon drive-time void left by sports-talk host JMV with another familiar name—Mark Patrick.
Starting Jan. 4, Patrick will replace John Vincent, known on-air as JMV, as host of the afternoon show that airs weekdays from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Clear Channel Radio Indianapolis Operations Manager Buzz Casey made the announcement Tuesday afternoon.
JMV quit suddenly in November for what he said were personal reasons, indicating he wanted to spend more time with his family. His departure caught listeners and local Clear Channel managers by surprise.
Just as surprising was Patrick’s return to local radio, first as a fill-in for the departed JMV, then doing a stint this month on WFNI-AM 1070, which is owned by Indianapolis-based Emmis Communications Corp.
Known as The Fan, the Emmis station has been locked in a ratings battle with WNDE ever since WFNI debuted in January 2008. This summer, WFNI’s afternoon show hosted by Eddie White and Indianapolis Star columnist Bob Kravitz for the first time edged in front of "The Drive with JMV" for an entire ratings period, according to listener ratings tabulated by New York-based Arbitron Inc.
Officials at San Antonio-based Clear Channel are hopeful the return of Patrick will give the station an edge in the fight to win over sports enthusiasts. A third station, WXLW-AM 950, also is vying for its share of the sports-radio listeners.
“Mark’s return to WNDE is a great day for sports fans in Indianapolis,” said Rick Green, Clear Channel’s Indianapolis market manager. “I received so much positive feedback during the week he was a fill-in host for us in December, I knew he was the right person for the job.”
Patrick began his radio career at WNAP-FM in 1980, followed by a 17-year stint on WNDE and as a guest on "The Bob & Tom Show," which airs on Clear Channel station WFBQ-FM 94.7. The long-time sports anchor for WISH-TV Channel 8 also hosted the Hoosier Lottery television show. For the past four years, Patrick was host of "Major League Baseball This Morning" on XM satellite radio.
“I’m ready to talk about all the things that make the Indiana sports scene unique, from the Colts and Pacers to Purdue, IU, Butler and Ball State,” Patrick said in a written statement. “It’s even a little extra special coming back to WNDE just in time for the Colts playoff run and then it’s wall-to-wall ball with March Madness.”
Green said the Indianapolis Colts' impending playoff run makes this an especially critical time for all sports-talk stations in the market.
WFNI officials aren’t fearful of the challenge of going up against a well-known on-air personality like Patrick.
“The stronger the product on the AM dial, the better it’s going to be for everyone on the AM dial,” said Kent Sterling, WFNI program director. “Mark has done a good job for us working on a fill-in basis and I’m sure he’ll continue to do solid work. We wish him the best.”