Bernie Miklasz is the most well-connected member of the St. Louis sports media, with many sources near and far, and has been a force on the internet and social media as well as in print. He doesn’t mince words, as he’s paid not only to provide information but also give his opinion.
But those offerings soon will be on the move. Miklasz, who has been a sports columnist for the Post-Dispatch since returning to the publication in 1989, has his farewell pieces this weekend in the paper and its online component, STLtoday.com.
On tap is a “Bernie Bits” column Saturday in which he plans to “do stuff like pick my favorite moments, worst moments, favorite athletes, least favorite, favorite events, biggest regrets, my biggest mistakes, etc.” He added that his finale on Sunday will be “personal in nature … and probably overly sentimental.”
He doesn’t want to get into details about his decision to leave the company for which he has been employed for more than a quarter century and take an offer to be on the air and write for the website of St. Louis sports-talk station WXOS (101.1 FM), which he has been associated with in a variety of ways for six years — most recently making regular on-air guest appearances.
It’s a big change, and possibly a big risk, for a guy who is 56.
WXOS’ main identity is tied to the Rams, as it has been the flagship outlet of the team’s radio network since the station adopted the jock-talk format in 2009 and much of its programming is football-related. But the Rams might be gone after this season and the full impact that would have on the station is uncertain.
“I gave that some thought but in the end it was a non-factor,’’ Miklasz said. “The Rams are an asset, but the station’s ratings and financial success isn’t dependent on airing Rams games or related events. … Working in sports media, the more material you have the better. So I hope the Rams stay. But if the Rams move it doesn’t mean the station will go off the air, or I won’t have a show, or I will sit and stare at my laptop, unable to think of topics to write about.”
“We didn’t build the business model with play-by-play,” he said. “The concentration was Monday-Friday” from 6 a.m.-7 p.m. “That’s still really important. … It doesn’t change our business plan, but having an NFL franchise is so valuable it definitely would be missed.”
Miklasz is highly popular and received a special deal at the Post-Dispatch two years ago when he expanded his duties and gave up his daily show on WXOS, so he is relinquishing something that at least on the surface seems much more solid long-term than does venturing into the fickle radio field — in which format changes happen frequently. On the other hand, the newspaper industry — including the Post-Dispatch — certainly isn’t the same as it was even five years ago. Media increasingly has become a bottom-line business, where corporate profit goals often supersede what is in the best interest of individual employees. Again, this isn’t limited to the Post-Dispatch — it’s a way of life in many media outlets. Just ask people at many of the local TV or radio stations.
So Miklasz moves on.
“It’s a big world out there,” he said. “Plus, I could talk and write about Cardinals baseball 365 days a year, and a significant percentage of the local population would be happy.”
THE NEXT CHAPTERS
Now Miklasz will combine his top professional love, writing, with returning to the air on a daily basis. It’s familiar territory as he has hosted a radio show on numerous stations over the years. This time, he’ll be on 101.1 FM from 7-10 a.m. weekdays and bump the last two hours of the ESPN Radio show hosted by Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic — a move that took some negotiations between WXOS and ESPN to accomplish.
The arrival of Miklasz, who is to start Aug. 31, will lead to other lineup tweaks — each subsequent show is to start one hour later than it now airs. Kevin Wheeler will be on from 10 a.m-1 p.m., Chris Duncan and Anthony Stalter from 1-3 p.m., followed by Randy Karraker, D’Marco Farr and Brad Thompson moving to the 3-7 p.m. slot.
Meanwhile, Hensley vows that Sports in the Post-Dispatch and its website will remain sturdy.
“We have an opportunity here to embrace change and to make things better than ever,” he said. “But the bottom line is this: We will continue to be the undisputed leader in St. Louis when it comes to providing daily coverage and commentary on our teams. No question.”
To read the article in its entirety visit STL Today where it was originally published