Again, using today’s media column as a starting point (linked here), some reaction to today’s L.A. sports-talk landscape from two who lost their gig recently on KLAC-AM (570), Tony Bruno and Tim Cates.
Bruno and Cates continue to do a show together, based in the Culver City Westwood One studios, that is available on XM-Sirius satellite as well as syndicated to 20 markets — just not L.A.
Bruno: “This is why I chose syndication over local back in ’92 when I went to ESPN and then Fox. L.A. is a sad story because the stations change shows so often, listeners don’t get a chance to grow with a show.
“I think there are only a handful of markets where ‘local-only’ works and that’s Boston, Philly and probably New York. Locals stations like WIP and WEEI dominate and the second stations are hoping just to get a piece of the pie. In lesser sports-crazed towns like L.A .and Phoenix, there are three or more stations trying sports talk. Why? Probably because there’s little left to do on AM and it’s cheaper to just take syndicated programming instead of paying local talent, which also is very sparse.
“Sadly, a person with my credentials also suffers in this new radio economy because places like Sporting News don’t want to pay talent and try to compete by getting those third stations who don’t have ESPN or now being force-fed Fox Sports Radio programming.
“Too bad Clear Channel didn’t have this edict in 200 when I move to L.A. to start my life over and try to build Fox Sports Radio. Then, Clear Channel stations could do whatever they wanted and my show suffered. Now, they are being forced fed to stations who gut the local talent and create cheaper radio.
“It used to be ‘the best show won.’ Now with the politics of the business, a show like mine will be kept off stations who want a better product and won’t be able to choose me over the other offerings which don’t come close to my quality. My rep takes a hit because those who don’t know what’s really happening will see that I’m off the air in L.A. again after four months and will assume I failed when it couldn’t be farther from the reality.
“My show is doing well. Content Factory is a small radio company run by radio people, so I’m happy. They even just put up a snazzy web-site (linked here).”
Cates: “I was blindsided by the news (of the layoffs two weeks ago). I had been with KLAC for 12 years. It’s hard to leave a job I loved and co-workers that had become like family to me. It was sad to see L.A. sports talk radio change from one day to the next. That local sound, local feel and local bond that sports fans had with their local L.A. hosts is gone. Now, L.A. sports fans have to share the same airwaves with the rest of America when they want to talk Lakers, Dodgers or Manny. Hopefully once the economy bounces back, so will sportstalk radio in L.A.”