ESPN Programming No Longer Available On Baltimore Radio
By Dave Hughes
CBS Radio has pulled the plug on its feed of ESPN Radio via Baltimore's 1300, WJZ-AM.
As of Dec. 10, the signal is now relaying its sister station, locally based sports talker WJZ-FM, 105.7 The Fan.
CBS is planning to put its new CBS Sports Radio network on 1300 full time at the start of 2013.
Many Baltimore-area radio listeners have said they've enjoyed listening to "Mike and Mike" during the mornings on 1300, WJZ-AM.
But, with the removal of ESPN Radio programming, that show is gone from the Baltimore radio dial.
Many are wondering whether another Baltimore radio station will pick up "Mike and Mike" and the other ESPN shows.
Well, the only other non-CBS-owned sports talker in the market is Nestor Aparicio's WNST, 1570 AM, in Towson. But his station has just signed a deal to carry programming from the Fox Sports radio network.
That leaves no place for ESPN Radio programming or shows from the new NBC Sports Radio Network in Baltimore.
So, how about 1370 going back to sports talk and picking up "Mike and Mike," plus other shows from ESPN and NBC?
The station, then Fox 1370, WVIE, aired sports talk until mid-2011, when it flipped to political talk and, more recently, to oldies as WQLL.
A sports-talk format could be a better fit with 1370's sister station, news talker WCBM, 680 AM.
Yes, Fox 1370 didn't generate the ratings it needed as a sports talker, but a flip back to that format with programming from ESPN and
NBC would certainly serve a niche sports-radio "need" in the ever-changing, ever-expanding sports-radio landscape.
Plus, it would open the door for 1370 to provide an important public service -- resumption of carrying local high school sports. In addition, it would offer a local outlet for out-of-market favorites, such as Washington's Wizards and Capitals.
Radio listeners that can receive Washington, D.C., sports talker WTEM, 980 AM can still hear "Mike and Mike." The station features a 50,000-watt daytime signal from a transmitter in Hyattsville, Md. Their show is also televised on ESPN.
Other ESPN Radio programming is carried on WTEM's Germantown, Md., sports talk sister, WSPZ-AM, 570, but it's a bit of a difficult catch in the Baltimore area.
CBS sports talker WJZ-FM, 105.7 The Fan, placed eighth in the November Baltimore radio ratings for the 12-and-up demographic. Its Ed Norris and Steve Davis morning show was in fifth place.
WJZ-FM's sports talk sister, WJZ-AM, 1300, placed 41st, tied with D.C. sports talker ESPN 980, WTEM, in the Baltimore-market numbers.
Hearst news talker WBAL-AM, 1090 AM, the Ravens' radio flagship, ranked fourth.
Towson sports talker WNST, 1570 AM, placed 50th.
USA Today is reporting that Cyd Zeigler, a columnist at gay sports site OutSports.com, is calling for the suspension of WTEM, ESPN 980's afternoon team of Andy Pollin and Steve Czaban for on-air remarks on Dec. 6 regarding Gabrielle Ludwig, a transgender basketball player on a women's junior college team.
The hosts at the D.C. sports talker did issue an apology: "Whatever you've got to do to scratch that inner itch and quell those inner demons, that's fine. But don't go playing sports then. [And don't say] I've got the rights of everyone else."
In a Dec. 10 column, Zeigler wrote that the station should suspend Pollin and Czaban.
"These are disgusting comments of the highest order," Zeigler wrote, "meant to demean another human being who has broken no laws and no rules."
Chuck Sapienza, WTEM's programming head, told USA Today that Pollin and Czaban had "made remarks that were extremely insensitive and their actions were dealt with internally in a swift manner. Due to the language of their contracts we are not allowed to comment publicly on any disciplinary actions."
Posted Dec. 11, 2012