101 ESPN’s Bernie Miklasz sat down for a chat with Program Director Chris “Hoss” Neupert and General Manager John Kijowski to discuss the state of the radio station following the departure of the St. Louis Rams. Below are some of the highlights.
On what the radio station will focus their efforts on now that the Rams have left town:
Neupert: We will still cover the biggest stories that are important to 101ESPN listeners. We will continue our tradition of carrying play by play, and we have exclusive rights to the NFL prime-time games, postseason games, and the Super Bowl. Fans of the Cardinals and Blues can count on us, and we are looking at ways to expand on our coverage. We will also look at the possibility of adding more fantasy-focused discussion.
Kijowski: Local team play by play is an additive benefit to what we do at 101ESPN. Our business model was built on attaining the best and brightest on-air talent and support staff in all major dayparts. Putting a sports format on a dominant FM signal was also a key.
Our sports-talk DNA is built on compelling on-air opinions, analysis and information. We add to that on 101sports.com with strong written opinions, podcasts and more. Having the ESPN brand gives us access to resources as well as the unique short-term play by play showcases such as the MLB Playoffs and World Series, college football bowl games, major golf tournaments, and World Cup Soccer.
Our partnerships with other networks gives us exclusive play-by-play rights to the NFC and AFC Championship games, the Super Bowl, Monday Night Football, Thursday Night Football and two Sunday NFL games.
On whether or not the loss of the Rams hurts the radio station financially:
Kijowski: This does not hurt us financially. In our last agreement with the Rams, we had no financial obligation or risk, and we were not responsible for any broadcast expenses.
On the possibility of the radio station airing other football games on Sunday’s next season:
Neupert: Play by play will be a part of our future on Sundays.
On the consideration given to remaining a Rams affiliate and airing the team’s games from Los Angeles:
Neupert: We’re not interested in being a part of the Rams Radio Network at this time. From the initial reaction and the pulse of the town, it’s clear that our fans feel betrayed. We understand that.
On the possibility of adding other play by play rights:
Neupert: We are always looking to improve as a station and if the right situation is available and that opportunity presented itself, we would absolutely consider it. But even if we don’t have a play by play opportunity, we aren’t going to close our doors. We have an extremely talented group that brings 12 hours of live and local content on air and produces fresh online content at 101sports.com.
To read Bernie’s full interview click here. It’s a very informative piece.