At 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, Baltimore will have a new sports radio talk lineup on WJZ-AM (1300) with the launch of CBS Sports radio at that frequency on the dial.
The CBS-owned station will run 24/7 with syndicated talk, while its sister station, 105.7 The Fan, will continue with its locally produced and hosted lineup of sports talk.
Chris Oliviero, senior vice president of CBS Radio, says Baltimore is one of the cities where his network has both an AM and an FM sports-talk station, and that it could be a model for the future of CBS Sports Radio.
"Baltimore is one of a handful of markets where we have two owned-and-operated sports stations, one being dedicated to local sports, and the other being dedicated to the best in national sports," Oliviero said in a telephone interview last week.
"We also have that two-station set-up in other big cities like Philadelphia and Detroit. Those are two Top 10 markets, and we have that set-up in Houston, Charlotte and Tampa as well. It's a business model where we think we can provide the best of both worlds."
Here's what the weekday lineup will look like:
6:00-9:00AM: Tiki Barber, Brandon Tierney and Dana Jacobson
9:00AM-12:00Noon: John Feinstein
12:00Noon-3:00PM: Jim Rome
3:00-6:00PM: Doug Gottlieb
6:00-10:00PM: Chris Moore and Brian Jones
10:00PM-2:00AM: Scott Ferrall
2:00-6:00AM: Damon Amendolara
"Our over-riding programming philosophy as we went out there and tried to put together a 24/7 around-the-clock programming lineup was we need credible, opinionated, passionate talk-show hosts," Oliviero said.
"We wanted recognizable names, credible names where people would see their names and say, 'I'm familiar with that person.' But, then, equally important they needed to be really good radio people. There's a certain skill set to be a successful radio talk show host, and we wanted to balance out lineup with, yes, big names, credible names, but also the best in class of radio talk show hosts."
Oliviero explained the thinking behind the selection of Feinstein, one of the names most familiar to area sports fans, in terms of the time period in which his show will air.
"When we looked at that 9 to noon, that hour of the day, and we try to program to the hour of the day, we saw an opportunity for a very intelligent type of sports conversation show," he said.
"And John is very intelligent, takes a very straight-edged approach to sports talk, has a great Rolodex of guests. Plus, he doesn't shy away from tough topics. So, we think that time period is perfect for the style that John brings to the radio."
No time period is as important as morning drive [the segment before 9 to noon], and no one does sports talk better than ESPN's "Mike and Mike" show in the morning.
Last month when the folks running CBS Radio took "Mike and Mike" off 1300 AM in preparation for Wednesday's launch, I heard from quite a few "Mike and Mike" fans who were not happy.
I asked Oliviero about that.
"Right now, 'Mike and Mike' is the standard bearer for syndicated morning sports talk shows," he said. "They have done a phenomenal job. It's an excellent program. So of course, people are going to say, 'Oh, you're doing a nationally syndicated sports show in morning drive, I will now therefore compare you to Mike and Mike.' We knew that was going to happen, so one of the things we tried to do is offer something different."
We'll see starting Wednesday. Let me know what you think after listening.