First, St. Louis sports radio went insane — last year, Insane Broadcasting changed WQQX (1490 AM) to a Fox Sports Radio affiliate.
Now area sports radio has taken another twist thanks to Brad Hildebrand, who owns two stations in the far west St. Louis suburbs. One broadcasts sports and Hildebrand is taking a poke at the format by adopting the call letters KRAP — and that’s not K-RAP, as in the musical sense. Here’s how he describes the operation:
“There are lots of sports stations called The Fan, The Ticket, The Score, and tons of those ESPN stations, but there’s only one station that’s talking sports KRAP 24 hours a day,’’ he writes on the station’s website (sportskrap.com). “It’s Sports KRAP. Yeah, we know what you’re saying. ‘Dude, is this for real? A radio station named KRAP? You’re probably some internet-only station broadcasting from the basement of some guy’s mom’s house.’ No, we’re for real. We’re an FCC licensed radio station broadcasting (1350 AM) pounding out a whopping 500,000 milliwatts. But we do realize that we’re KRAP. In fact, our transmitter is KRAP. Our signal is KRAP. Our studios are KRAP. Our staff is KRAP.
“What makes us different is that we’re not bragging about how great we are. We know we’re KRAP. We’re just working harder to be more than just another sports radio station by being more than just a radio station. … We’re not just talking KRAP, we’re talking SPORTS KRAP!”
It’s a small-time operation based in Washington, Mo., that airs amateur sports of interest in the region it serves — parts of St. Charles, Franklin and Warren counties — and also reaches some extreme western areas of St. Louis County. The station, which was KWMO before recently being renamed, also carries syndicated shows from CBS Sports Radio and is an affiliate of the Blues and Kansas City Chiefs networks.
THE NAME GAME
Hildebrand said he had been interested in having a station called KRAP since he and some buddies were about 12 years old and listening to Johnny Rabbit (Ron Elz) on KXOX.
“We used to kid that some day we would grow up and own KRAP,’’ he said. “We used to pretend we were on KRAP.”
When he finally began exploring the possibility of obtaining those call letters, he discovered they were assigned to an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. But it was inactive, so after his inquiry KRAP was released to the FCC and he pounced.
He acknowledged there has been some griping about the name, but said the upside is big.
“When I tell people my call letters are KRAP, nobody forgets that,’’ he said.
Its website mixes live and archived coverage of amateur athletics in that area with St. Louis pro sports, and Hildebrand’s goal is to eventually become a significant factor through the entire market.
He’s been in the broadcasting business in a variety of capacities over the last four decades, since the day after he graduated from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in 1976.
He was the first TV traffic reporter for Channels 2 and 4 and in 1984 started Computraffic, which produced driving reports for many radio stations. He eventually added an operation that provided news reports for multiple stations before selling those in 1994. He ended up in Washington, where he bought what currently is KRAP as well as KSLQ (104.5 FM) in 1998 and has had them since.
Among those who have worked for him are Cardinals broadcaster Dan McLaughlin and MLB Network host Greg Amsinger. But he said he has been unable to get qualified hosts now as he wants to add local sports talk to the lineup.
“I just can’t find people,” he said.
Meanwhile, he said his broad background gives him a perspective that combines old-school values with the modern technology.
“I’m a 42-year veteran of the business but I see the writing on the wall,’’ Hildebrand said.
That writing was illustrated in bold letters by the recent implosion of former sports-talk stalwart KFNS (590 AM) under the guidance of Dan Marshall — whose only previous connection to broadcasting had been in buying ads for his wireless communicationscompany.
“I know the radio business from all sides, unlike some so-called experts,’’ Hildebrand said.
He’s exploring the possibility of buying a St. Louis station, or becoming a partner with someone to do so. And although his focus has gone from being 95 percent oriented to the on-air product five years ago to being 90 percent geared to the online side now, he said it’s necessary to obtain a station that covers the entire market.
“A broadcast signal … adds legitimacy,” he said.
And he’s philosophical.
“I’m 59 and not ready to retire,” he said. “I have ideas that can take me to the next level. I may be crap, but I’m trying hard.”
For more, read Dan Caesar’s column on STL Today where this was originally published
Jason Barrett is the owner and operator of Barrett Sports Media. Prior to launching BSM he served as a sports radio programmer, launching brands such as 95.7 The Game in San Francisco and 101 ESPN in St. Louis. He has also produced national shows for ESPN Radio including GameNight and the Dan Patrick Show. You can find him on Twitter @SportsRadioPD or reach him by email at JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com.
Bobby Belt: ‘Pat McAfee Butchered The Name Shan and RJ’
“I mean, it clearly says on the graphics ‘Shan and RJ’.”
Shan and RJ is a show that routinely finds itself in the media spotlight. They may be a Dallas show, but when Jerry and Stephen Jones routinely appear on your airwaves, you are going to draw attention from outside of the market.
On Tuesday, Pat McAfee played a clip of the hosts talking to Jerry Jones. McAfee threw to the clip introducing the show as “Shan, RJ, and Chop.” On Wednesday morning, the 105.3 The Fan’s morning show had some fun with the former Colts punter’s struggles.
“There’s a lot to unpack here,” newly added co-host Bobby Belt said after listening to McAfee and his crew take three unsuccessful cracks at naming the show.
“Reggie made a good point yesterday when I was talking to him about this,” Belt said. “Reggie was like ‘I think McAfee was going to the clip, saw three faces and didn’t know a third name, and so he’s like ‘well, that must be RJ and Chop.’”
Belt delighted in the idea that in McAfee’s mind, RJ Choppy goes by “Chop” on air and even pointed out that one of the producers said that RJ “looks like a Chop.”
Pat McAfee called the show “Shan, RJ, and Chop,” “Shana, RJ and Chop,” and “Shannon and RJ” on different occasions according to Belt. He didn’t think it was disrespectful. He just didn’t understand how McAfee got it so wrong so often.
“They butchered this three ways to the weekend. I have no idea. I mean, it clearly says on the graphics ‘Shan and RJ’.”
Cubs Radio Voice Pat Hughes Named 2023 Frick Award Winner
Chicago Cubs radio voice Pat Hughes has been honored as the 2023 recipient of the Ford C. Frick Award.
The award is given annually for “excellence in broadcasting” by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.
“Known throughout the Midwest for his easy delivery and unparalleled knowledge, Pat Hughes has called some of the biggest moments in Cubs history and has provided the narrative for one of the most successful eras in the history of the franchise,” said National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum President Josh Rawitch. “Since arriving at Wrigley Field in 1996, Pat has served as the radio voice for nine postseason teams – matching an ardent fan base with his own passion in every broadcast. His reverence for baseball history and gift for storytelling have made him one of the game’s broadcast treasures.”
Hughes has spent more than 25 years as the voice of the Cubs, and is a nine-time winner of the Illinois Sportscaster of the Year Award. Earlier this year, Hughes found out on-air that he would be inducted into the Cubs Hall of Fame.
Hughes was previously a finalist for the award in 2016 and 2020.
Craig Carton: Jon Heyman ‘No Longer An Insider’ After Aaron Judge Gaffe
“That’s a bad job. And all that is is a guy trying to get ahead of everybody else. He screwed the pooch. That’s embarrassing.”
MLB Network Insider Jon Heyman erroneously reported that New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge was signing with the San Francisco Giants in free agency yesterday. That news was not well received by WFAN afternoon hosts Craig Carton and Evan Roberts.
After Heyman rescinded his original tweet saying “Arson Judge” appeared headed to the Giants, he resent a new one with the correct spelling. During the confusion, Roberts told producers to get Heyman — who is an Audacy contributor — on the phone, which Carton immediately shot down.
“No, we’re not putting him on the air,” Carton said. “I’m not putting him on the air. He doesn’t get a platform on this show. Listen, he made a deal with the devil when he took a job with The (New York) Post. That’s his business.”
While Carton and Roberts processed the news, producer Chris McMonigle said he was certain that Judge would be signing with the Giants, but that was not Heyman’s report, and would hold off until it was official.
Roberts mocked McMonigle by saying he was in denial. “He still hasn’t accepted that Jon Heyman knows what he’s talking about,” Roberts said. Moments later, McMonigle read Heyman’s follow up tweet apologizing for “jumping the gun”.
“That is a horrendous job by Jon Heyman,” Carton replied.
“Heyman’s done,” Roberts shouted. “Jon, what are we doing?”
“Heyman is no longer an insider,” Carton added. “That’s a bad job. And all that is is a guy trying to get ahead of everybody else. He screwed the pooch. That’s embarrassing.”
Carton later took umbrage with Heyman deleting his tweets.
“To play fans like that is absolutely unacceptable. It’s not right. Sorry. That’s because everyone’s gotta be first. God forbid someone else has it first. You’re a clown. Your entire career’s work has just been flushed down the toilet.”