The Return of Bruno

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Bruce Willis didn’t make much of that title when the then-”Moonlighting” TV star tried to cut an album more than 20 years ago (linked here) in his pre-”Die Hard” days.

Tony Bruno, a die-hard radio guy on just about every syndicated network one could listen to over the last few decades, should not want that kind of luck with him as he makes a re-entry into the moonlit L.A. galaxy with a new sports-talk show on KLAC-AM (570) starting Monday, Sept. 29.

At the end of a revealing interview this summer with Deadpin.com (linked here), Bruno, who had been making some pretty good seven-figure salaries, said he expected to bounce back after he found himself jobless when his contract with The Sporting News Radio ran out. It only took until September before he was able, with the help of The Content Factor, work out a co-op deal with the management at KLAC to give him the 7-to-10 p.m. weeknight spot for the opportunity to turn it into a syndicated venture.

We’re guessing it’ll pay more than $200,000 a year.

“Fortunately, my patience paid off,” Bruno said Monday afternoon. “This business has been tough. I finally got an opportunity through The Content Factory, after filling in for Dan Patrick (for a couple of days in the summer) to get some exposure again and the response was good.”

When Bruno left the air in January as a morning-drive sports-talk host, Patrick, upon leaving ESPN, was able to capture many of those stations as he started to syndicate himself through Premiere Radio as an opening act for Jim Rome’s show.

Bruno, realizing he didn’t have much syndicated power to flex in the mornings any more with the current landscape, turned to a shift that’s a little out of the boundary of what he’s been used to, but that’s part of the challenge.

“I’m not going to try to re-invent myself, but the fact is, this is an open area that others in the past have found success in with a high level and a good audience,” said Bruno. “We’ll do live remotes, maybe more stuff from Vegas when something’s happening. I don’t want to be the guy who screams, ‘It’s a final!’ and then go do an interview with another drone selling a book. People don’t normally listen to this time slot, but I want to give them a reason. I know I already have JT The Brick opposite of this (doing a syndicated show for Fox Radio out of Sherman Oaks), but I think I already have a heads up on the competition.”


Bruno, last heard in the L.A. market when he worked at The Ticket 1540-AM in the mornings (it went to an all-Korean language format at the start of 2007), had chances to work at KSPN-AM (710) for his former ESPN Radio boss, Larry Gifford, but found that the red tape getting it all approved by the folks in Bristol, Conn., wasn’t going to pay off in the end for him to be Dave Dameshek’s replacement in afternoon drive.

“Typical Bristol stuff, they want 15 meetings and fly out there three times to tell apologize for things I did there in the past which I don’t know what I was sorry for,” said Bruno, a mainstay at ESPN Radio for eight years in the ’90s.

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An aborted attempt to link up with the Angels’ KLAA-AM (830) also hit a snag when the capital venture businessmen who tried to broker the dead got in over their heads and couldn’t make it work financially. This, after Bruno threw the ceremonial first pitch at an Angels game in April when it seemed all was agreed upon.

“I think the Angels station were excited to have me there, but at the last minute, the guys representing me miscalculated on how it would all work and it became a really dumb deal where they basically wanted me to work at the start for nothing,” said Bruno. “I can’t work on speculation.”

Eventually, this deal with KLAC emerged as a night-time slot proposition. Joe McDonnell’s contract was coming up after two years at the station, and McDonnell had tried recently to get out of his contract and work for KLAA, but management put the nix on it.

Now, McDonnell is free to do what he pleases. But Bruno said it doesn’t please him to know that McDonnell, a 20-year L.A. sports-talk veteran, is out of work. Again.

“I don’t revel in any one else’s misery,” said Bruno. “I’ve been in the same place before. I don’t want Joe’s job. I guess things worked here for a reason. It took eight months but now I’ll be working at the best sports-radio station in L.A. They have a solid lineup and a plan.”

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