SBD/January 3, 2013/Media

CBS Sports Radio Takes To The Airwaves Nationwide With About 250 Affiliate Stations

CBS Sports Radio launched nationwide yesterday, and "approximately 250 stations are taking various elements" of the company's programming, according to Mike Kinosian of TALKERS. CBS Radio Senior VP/Programming Chris Oliviero said, "We have a very aggressive growth schedule for 2013. We think we will add many more affiliates." Kinosian noted it "isn't as if CBS Radio will have the all-sports network field to itself, of course, as ESPN Radio, and Fox Sports Radio are among those already there." Considering that kind of imposing competition, clients and listeners "need to be shown significant differentiation among the network players." One clear "point of demarcation vis-à-vis the CBS Radio approach will involve listener interaction." Oliviero: "I cannot overstate how important a role that will play. It might be in the traditional way of people picking up a phone, or through social media. If you listen to some other sports radio networks, it is a great deal of one-way conversations, but we are going to be doing two-way conversations so listeners will be able to talk back. Yes, we will have interviews and yes, we will have monologs, but that is not all it will be." Jim Rome, "arguably sports talk's most successful syndicated host," is anchoring the 12:00-3:00pm ET mid-day time slot and is sandwiched by John Feinstein and Doug Gottlieb. Oliviero said of Rome, "For him to make the jump (from Premiere Radio) to CBS Sports Radio gives us instant credibility." Kinosian noted CBS Radio over the last several years had "investigated the concept of doing a national sports network." Oliviero said that the company "had conversations with a multitude of potential collaborators." He said, "We discussed what we were looking for in a partner and in distribution. From all of those conversations, the ones with Cumulus were the most engaging, most aggressive, and the most promising" (TALKERS.com, 1/2).

WELL-KNOWN HOSTS NEEDED: Oliviero said CBS Sports Radio's "over-riding programming philosophy as we went out there and tried to put together a 24/7 around-the-clock programming lineup was we need credible, opinionated, passionate talk-show hosts." He said, "We wanted recognizable names, credible names where people would see their names and say, 'I'm familiar with that person.' But, then, equally important they needed to be really good radio people." Oliviero explained the hiring of Feinstein by saying, "We saw an opportunity for a very intelligent type of sports conversation show. And John is very intelligent, takes a very straight-edged approach to sports talk, has a great Rolodex of guests. Plus, he doesn't shy away from tough topics" (BALTIMORESUN.com, 1/2).

MORNING GLORY: Former NFLer Tiki Barber is co-hosting a morning show on CBS Sports Radio alongside Brandon Tierney and Dana Jacobson, and the program is his "first broadcasting job since NBC parted ways with Barber in 2010." Barber said, "TV is a different animal than radio -- it's sound bites, it's looking good and sounding good in moments. Whereas radio is more about expressing your knowledge about things and expressing a deep, formulated opinion." In Virginia, Mark Berman noted Barber is "looking forward to the daily grind of radio, where he will be working for two former bosses from when he moonlighted in radio during his NFL career." Barber said that he "will be able to talk on the show about sports other than the NFL" and that the show "won't only be about sports." For example, he "wants to bring on another friend of his, Newark, N.J., mayor and former Stanford football player Cory Booker" (ROANOKE TIMES, 1/2). In Philadelphia, Peter Mucha noted the hosts of the morning show "are asking fans to give it a good name, since 'TBD in the AM,' as it's dubbed on Twitter not only reflects the hosts' first initials but suggests 'to be determined'" (PHILLY.com, 1/2).

THE MOHR, THE MERRIER: In DC, Jim Williams conducted a Q&A with comedian Jay Mohr, who yesterday began hosting a new show on Fox Sports Radio entitled "Jay Mohr Sports." When describing his motivation for getting into sports talk radio, Mohr said, "I listened a great deal to local sports talk radio on the road and was given a chance to do local fill-in work at Fox 570 AM in L.A. Then Fox Sports Radio came to me about a national show, and I said, 'Where do I sign?'" Mohr said, "The one thing that I want people to take away from my show is yes, sports is an important part of our lives, but it is a game, and it should be fun." He noted the show will be different than other sports talk shows because "Fox will keep the sports stars coming." Mohr: "My Rolodex of top comics will be in full use. They are great sports fans, and we will showcase them in a segment in our final hour titled 'Last Call,' where they will have some fun and give us some insight. Fans want smart, fun and entertaining sports talk, and that is our goal" (WASHINGTON EXAMINER, 1/2).
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