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The Score - Anthony Schoettle

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Sports Business

1070 The Fan clears path for JMV hire in p.m. drive slot

May 17, 2010
KEYWORDS Sports Business

Wow, look at this!

My calendar tells me we’re entering the third week of May.

And just about every source in the radio universe tells me former WNDE-AM 1260 sports-talk radio host, JMV’s six-month non-compete clause ends after the third week in May.

Hmmm.

Emmis’ WFNI-AM 1070 “The Fan” needs an afternoon drive-time host. Eddie What was suddenly dropped from that slot Friday (May 14) afternoon.

Ironic, how JMV suddenly resigned from his WNDE afternoon post after the third week in November. His non-compete is ready to expire, and poof … a job opening appears. How serendipitous.

So I won’t be too surprised when I tune into The Fan one week from today and hear JMV’s voice crackling through that station’s frequency. I expect an announcement from The Fan along Thursday or Friday.

But who knows? It might be Wednesday.

Or maybe this is all just a wild coincidence. It might be someone completely out of the blue that replaces White, who formerly partnered with Indianapolis Star columnist Bob Kravitz to host The Fan’s afternoon drive-time show. Kravitz was let go in March.

You really can’t blame Emmis’ local market manager, Charlie Morgan. With JMV, he gets a known quantity with an established fan following.

And he gets one for the price of two. I’m only presuming that JMV isn’t making as much as Kravitz and Eddie combined. So Morgan—and his posse—cut costs, and do what they think they need to do to bolster local programming.

And you can’t blame JMV. I’m assuming he got a pay bump. Plus, his mouthpiece just got much bigger. WFNI shouts through a megaphone that can be heard statewide due to its strong signal. Clear Channel-owned WNDE on the other hand has trouble reaching deep south Johnson County.

But there are a few things I don’t know. Quite a few.

For instance, why didn’t Morgan go after Mark Patrick. After all, Patrick also is a known-quantity, has a built-in fan base from his days at WNDE in the 1990s/early 2000s (where he was coincidently JMV’s boss or at least mentor) and Emmis wouldn’t have had the messy situation of trying to hang on to Kravitz and/or White while waiting for JMV’s contract to expire. Patrick had even done guest stints on The Fan.

I’m guessing, if it is JMV, who will replace White, then Morgan and his crew must think JMV will attract a larger audience than Patrick, who replaced JMV on WNDE. Or maybe Patrick just didn’t want to work full-time for Morgan and his new regime, though that seems unlikely. I don’t think Patrick’s price tag is any higher than JMV’s.

Or, why didn’t Emmis go for someone a little more unconventional than JMV, someone who could maybe broaden the demographics of this two-and-a-half-year-old sports-talk station?

I’m guessing that Emmis executives feel like they tried that with White, a former sports PR guy and Reebok executive with no broadcasting experience, and well, that just didn’t bring in the numbers they wanted. Emmis put some marketing muscle behind the show and they wanted bigger numbers.

WFNI and WNDE are very close in listener numbers during that afternoon drive, with 3,500 to 5,500 people give or take tuning in to each station during the average quarter hour.

So the non-compete is over. The gloves are coming off. The Student vs. The Master. Ok, maybe that’s a little melodramatic.

Anyway, I’m sure there won’t be any shortage of media buyers and companies looking for a male-dominant audience who won’t want to know how this fight turns out. And there’s lots of pressure on JMV to deliver the numbers that Kravitz and White could not.

One last question. What if Emmis doesn’t announce JMV as its next on-air talent later this week?

You can call me a complete idiot.

Or you can all me that anyway if you like.

Join the crowd.
 

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