KPOJ Portland To Drop Liberal Talk For Sports

Fox Sports 620 KPOJ Portland Carl Wolfson Thom Hartmann Randi Rhodes Ed SchultzUpdate 8:40pm: KPOJ made the shift to “Fox Sports 620” at 5:30pm.

The station’s lineup will feature the bulk of the national Fox Sports Radio lineup with the exception of Dan Patrick who airs on “750 The Game” KXTG. KPOJ will replay Fox Sports Daybreak from 6-9am, following its live 3-6am airing. The station will also feature a local show “Fox Sports PDX” from 9am to 12pm with Scott Lynn and Ron Callan rotating as hosts.

On Twitter it was pointed out to us that the station is shifting from coverage of Michelle Obama’s husband to that of her brother, who is head coach of the Oregon State basketball team.

Original Report 11/9 4:00pm: Clear Channel Liberal Talk 620 KPOJ Portland will flip to Sports “Fox Sports 620“.

KPOJ garnered a 1.0 share in the October ratings, up from a 0.8 in September. It will join a Portland Sports battle that includes Alpha Broadcasting’s “750 The Game” KXTG and Entercom’s “1080 The Fan” KFXX. 620 will remain the co-flagship of Oregon State University play-by-play along with sister Talk 1190/102.3 KEX.

Willamette Week has more details including a statement from KPOJ morning host Carl Wolfson.

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  1. MattParker says

    Lest we forget, Clear Channel owns this station. Bain Capital owns Clear Channel. They flipped a few stations to progressive talk to fend off possible reinstatement of the fairness doctrine and have been flipping stations back a few at a time – mostly to Fox Sports, none of these stations have been more successful than they were with progressive talk. Clear Channel says it’s about money. They lie. Clearly they have a political agenda. KPOJ was one of the first stations to adopt the progressive talk format and for a long time, one of the most successful. But Clear Channel’s director of talk programming has said he wants to be the “grim reaper” of progressive talk; by the way, this guy is a former right-wing host (and still does a weekend show on their talk flagship in Cincinnati).
    The wing-nuts lost the election and now Bain Radio intends fight back.

    1. Lance Venta says

      There’s no political maneuvering here. Other than possibly getting out of political talk.

      KPOJ is gone, but so is WGST and WXKS in larger markets in the past few months. This week alone, Clear Channel has removed AM Talkers from FM translators in Fort Collins and Huntsville.

      1. ding101 says

        Doesn’t all-Sports/Talk Radio tend to make more revenue in big DMA’s. I don’t think there’s a conspiracy here but big companies in general have to answer to the SEC and wall street proving that they are raking revenue.

        1. Lance Venta says

          Sports radio usually bills well via national sales looking to reach men 25-54. Its usually the easiest format for ad buyers to reach those demos and pay more despite lower ratings.

  2. Jason Barbour says

    The flip took place minutes ago at 5:30 PM PST. Simply cut from the Randi Rhodes Show to a brief “Fox Sports 620” liner, into college basketball coverage already scheduled to air on 620 KPOJ. Nonetheless, I have a recording of the flip.

  3. Bob Nelson says

    It’s business not politics. Clear Channel got rid of conservative talk on 1200 in Boston to air comedy. Is that voter suppression or Bain-Romney-CC conspiracy? Jeff Santos had to buy time on 1510 in Boston to put libtalk on but had a tough time, and the owners went to sports anyway. And CC’s lineup of Rush, Hannity and two local hosts on 1200 flopped. It is strictly business,
    Some left leaning people like David Field at Entercom put on conservative talk since it makes money, like on WRKO in Boston. Believe me if liberal talk made money they would have been progressive talk
    years ago. He held his nose and changed nothing.

    In MA Democrats have about 99 per cent of the offices. If libtalk can’t make it there, it can’t make it anywhere, to paraphrase Sinatra. Who knows, maybe most of those on the Left prefer NPR.

    1. Nathan Obral (@myronfalwell) says

      Santos’ lease of 1510, if I’m correct, was never a complete one. The operators of that station will take money from just about anyone and everyone. That’s why that station had Boston Red Sox in Spanish in evenings, Brother Stair in overnights, and Yahoo Sports whenever Santos didn’t buy airtime (Bob N. could verify some of that for me).

      Don’t get me wrong. I have no problem with what Santos did. Gary Richards has ponied up the $$$ to lease two anemic AMs in Columbus and Painesville to carry liberal talk. But leasing a station is not a permanent solution. The format has to be proven as viable.

      But Jeff’s time operating 1510 was not long for the world.

      1. Bob Nelson says

        Yes he bought whatever time he could even running some shows at night though inevitably the Sox in Spanish pre-empted a lot of that (incl. some occasional weekday afternoon games). WWZN did indeed do whatever they could sell from libtalk to cigar shows (still on), sports, Brother Stair. I don’t know why Dial Global and he had a falling out, leading to some syndie shows being dropped. You are right though (not permanent), it at least got some shows on and Santos did what he could to make it work…sports can bring in some $$ even with Sports Hub, WEEI and ESPN-on-WEEI as competition. Many
        people care more about sports than politics. Advertisers want to reach them.

        While it wasn’t permanent he had a good 4 to 5 year run…does anyone with deep pockets care to program libtalk in Boston? He was the best hope…Ent. wouldn’t change RKO. Salem running libtalk on one of their outlets? Doubtful! etc

  4. MattParker says

    They say it’s business, not politics. They lie. Clear Channel once had progressive talk on 1200 AM in Boston and dropped it. It’s a weak stick. Nothing will do well. They tried to turn it into “Rush Radio” and then comedy. Still nothing works. Clearly, people’s “business decisions” are colored and shaped by politics. They don’t want progressive talk to work. They don’t want to believe it can work. Progressive talk repeatedly is set up to fail.
    Anything radio suits say have to be taken with extreme skepticism. Anybody who has spent any time in the business should have learned that.

    1. Laurence Glavin says

      OK, one clarifying point: when CCU had progressive talk on AM 1200, it was a 10,000-watt daytime/1,000-watts nighttime DA forty miles from Boston in Downtown Framingham, MA When they put Rush Limbaugh and other righties on AM 1200, they had literally moved the operation to Boston’s doorstep in the nearby suburb of Oak Park, and boosted AM 1200’S power to 50,000 watts day and night, separate patterns . Its inefficient towers to placate the neighbors kept it from having the kind of signal 50Ks at 680, 850 and 1030 enjoy.

      1. Nathan Obral (@myronfalwell) says

        Pretty much, Laurence. And unlike 1200, WRKO, WEEI and WBZ all have been long established in the market, so that was a major strike against 1200 off the bat.

        CC never really had a chance putting talk of any sort on 1200, even after the 50kW upgrade. Not when the audience hardly knows any station outside of 680, 850 or 1030 that exist on the AM dial. Simple as that. They aren’t going to fight through the static.

        It’s why conservatalk failed on 1260 when Salem tried it a few years back.

    2. Lance Venta says

      Liberal News/Talk is doing very well in many markets, its just consumed in a much different way than Conservative Talk. The audience is younger and broader demographically. Duplicating the programming style of the older skewing Conservative talkers on weak AM’s doesn’t cut it. Hence why the NPR stations or All-News outlets out perform Conservative Talkers in many top markets.

      KPOJ was hovering at or below a 1 share on an AM stick. Meanwhile 91.5 KOPB was third in the market last month. Same in Seattle where CBS’ 1090 KPTK was at a 0.8 with rumors of a flip to CBS Sports Radio in its future while 94.9 KUOW was tied for second in the market. Boston? WBUR and WGBH combine for over a 5 share.

      The only market where Commercial Liberal Talk does well? Madison, where it happens to be on FM. And even there 92.1 WXXM has dropped from a 4.1 share in Summer 2011 to 2.2 in Summer 2012. It has NOTHING to do with the ownership, but rather the execution of the format which is used much differently than Conservative Talk.

  5. Laurence Glavin says

    There are several schools of business in the Boston area at Harvard, MIT, Tufts, Babson and possibly others. They should consider studying radio in general and radio in Boston as well. Is there a more dysfunctional industry than radio? Why is Bain involved at all? I wouldn’t be surprised if most of the time AM 1510 (now WUFC) in Boston has no listeners at all. Of course it may be due for the most part because of the decline in AM radio listening. But an all-sports format up against a pair of FMs plus an AM at the sweet spot on the dial? Yikes…why didn’t they just try to wrest the all-Chinese Government format from WILD?

    1. Bob Nelson says

      Someone is making money here from running Yahoo and NBC sports on 1510, otherwise they could have done any number of formats…I don’t know how many listeners they may have (probably a few) but that “check is clearing”. And don’t forget that eeeeeeeeeeevil Clear Channel killed off their conservtalk on 1200 (though Rush and Coast2Coast went to RKO) because they couldn’t make money off it. Sports appeals to a broader audience and while it seems like there are too many stations (maybe 1200 could flip too?) there is money to be made.
      WKRP, Les Nessman: “But there are already a lot of rock stations in town”. Andy: “Why do you think that is, Les?”…Les: “Well I think it’s a plot of some sort.”—Andy, laughs. “No, Les, rock and roll is where the money is.”

      And now sports is where the money is. We’ll be back after these
      messages from Budweiser, Toyota, Auto Zone, and Two Guys Smoke Shop.

  6. MattParker says

    Agreed, Lance. Progressive talk is hobbled on AM from reaching what would be its likely audience. I should note Clear Channel tried to flip the Madison station. The local manager let the word out several weeks before the flip was to take place and a public outcry forced Cincinnati to back down. They’ve been careful not to give that kind of notice since (KPOJ made the announcement Friday for a Monday flip). And NPR’s surveys show their audience is about equally divided between listeners who call themselves “conservative” and those who call themselves “liberal.” Both segments seem to agree that NPR is biased – to the OTHER side.

  7. Homer Jay says

    Oh yes, it must be an imaginary boogeyman, not that it’s just not always going to be viable.

  8. MattParker says

    The suits at Bain Radio can’t succeed with progressive talk but…
    This morning’s New York Times has this headline:

    The Anti-Fox Gains Ground

    MSNBC, Its Ratings Rising, Gains Ground on Fox News

    Known to fans of politics as the nation’s liberal television network, MSNBC is looking to gain ground on the Fox News Channel in President Obama’s second term.

    No boogeymen…. Just an industry run at the local level by small-minded Babbitts from sales, who spend their time dealing with other small-minded Babbitts. As we have been hearing the last few days, the right thought they were going to win big on Tuesday because they live in their own little mental cocoon and keep telling themselves what they want to hear. Karl Rove proved that on Fox Tuesday night. Anybody here ever work for radio suits who weren’t right-wingers? I didn’t think so.

    1. Nathan Obral (@myronfalwell) says

      Yeah, and Fox had some of the highest ratings in their history this election season. Fox came close to outdrawing CBS’s coverage – and that was not factoring in FBC’s terrestrial coverage, done by (mostly) different anchors.

      MSNBC is trying to out-Fox Fox in the polemic angle. And that’s no small order, considering that it’s basically Fox conducting “Opposite Day” in perpetuity, only with ZERO dissenting voices – S.E. Cupp’s futile effort on “The Cycle” doesn’t count, Michael Steele is never on primetime and moderate-leaning Joe Scarborough is on a throwaway time slot. But in the process, it only destroys whatever credibility NBC News has left. They both operate from the same building, with similar staff and cross-promote each other frequently. The MSNBC brand has proven so toxic, Microsoft basically forced NBC to rebrand as

      Fox is blunt about their news coverage, only allowing their news staff to cover major events like the election (Greta notwithstanding). MSNBC has long had their talking heads pretend to be newscasters and offer slanted coverage that only favors their side. And they do it. All. The. Freaking. Time.

      I also know a few news/talk station operators/managers that aren’t conservative. In fact, it’s what prompted one Northern Ohio host – A RADIO VET OF 30+ YEARS FOR THAT STATION’S FM SISTER – to leave for greener pastures after feeling pressured by the operator’s liberal politics. And guess what? He found them.

      1. Lance Venta says

        This discussion is swerving too far away from radio and towards politics. Might be time to put a bow on it an wrap it up.

        1. Nathan Obral (@myronfalwell) says

          Fair enough, Lance. I lost power for a second and missed your post. My prior post looked like it didn’t go though, and I didn’t want to write it again. Ugh.

    2. Nathan Obral (@myronfalwell) says

      CC has given the format multiple chances to work out.

      Did you ignore the fact that Jerry Springer was on WTAM/Cleveland middays for well over a full year, in spite of that station’s ratings crater by 66% overall? Or was that a convienent omission?

      KPOJ had liberal talk for over eight years. That was more than enough time for the format to succeed or fail.

  9. James McDonough says

    For the people in Portland like myself that will absolutely not listen to the new format on KPOJ: If you have I heart radio you can pick up progressive talk radio on AM1350- Albuquerque.

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