Is Des Moines ready for dueling sports-talk radio programs?
The Champ (1700 AM) announced a program switch, starting next week. The Zone, with Larry Cotlar and Jason Highly, will air from 4-6 p.m. weekdays.
That’s the same time slot for the Miller and Brinson show on KXNO (1460 AM).
“We’ll find out,” says Robert Rees, program director for The Champ, “whether or not the market can hold two sports shows in afternoon drive time.”
This may seem intriguing. But the truth is, it was probably inevitable.
Cotlar and Andy Garman have hosted “Out of Bounds” from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., for roughly five years. That prevented The Champ from airing “The Jim Rome Show” in its entirety, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“We wanted to carry all three hours of Jim Rome, and to carry him live,” Rees said. “That was one aspect of it.
“The other aspect is, by moving the local show to drive time, we’re hoping it allows for a lot better listener interaction.”
Des Moines listeners only got an hour of Rome.
The CBS Sports bigwigs couldn’t have been thrilled, considering they’re paying Rome a reported $30 million a year.
“Love him or hate him, Jim Rome is still the top sports-talk guy out there,” Rees said. “I consider him the Rush Limbaugh of sports-talk radio.”
The downside is, Garman was put into a scheduling squeeze. As sports director for KCCI television (Channel 8), Garman’s afternoon are booked.
He generally works the 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. sportscasts.
“We’re sad, because Andy has evening plans with KCCI,” Rees said. “So he’s not going to be able to continue doing the afternoon show, but we’re still trying to keep a relationship with him, somehow.”
For Cotlar, this means a return to afternoons. He was host of the Cotlar and Company program on KXNO until 2009.
“New shows always are interesting ventures to try and build,” Cotlar said. “It’s really just kind of re-arranging the schedule.”