It seemed as if things had cooled at Grand Slam Sports, which owns two St. Louis radio signals and last year was the epicenter of controversy, a revolt by some against management, racial tension and bad blood between some people working there.
The situation become so volatile that fisticuffs broke out in the studios last summer between broadcaster Brian McKenna and company executive Dan Marshall.
Marshall ended up in a hospital, McKenna in jail. Charges were not filed but a civil suit looms.
Since then, the operation has been significantly scaled back and now operates in comparative obscurity, but sources say certainly not with harmony.
KFNS (590 AM) broadcast in the sports format for two decades before Marshall converted it to a “guy-talk” format in 2013. But that failed after a year and the station has been off the air since November because of unpaid bills and huge debt. KXFN (1380 AM), Grand Slam’s other station, has been broadcasting in the “extreme radio” format.
But multiple sources said there’s a lot of maneuvering going on behind the scenes to try to get 1380 to carry an internet talk-show site that carries a lot of sports chat. That plan would bring controversial longtime St. Louis sports-radio host Kevin Slaten back to the local airwaves.
The story goes that the station would pick up fare being carried on the talkstl.com website — including the afternoon drive-time show hosted by rabble-rousing Slaten, who has been off radio since KFNS shut down. It would be a twist — a website being simulcast on the air instead of the other way around.
However, the sources said disagreement among Grand Slam’s owners has thwarted the plan because the company is trying to sell the stations. One ownership camp, which includes Marshall, is gung-ho on the simulcasting idea but the other is strongly opposed, thinking that move would disrupt the sales process to someone who would have the resources to clean up things.
Mike Calvin, who used to be Grand Slam’s operations manager, recently resigned that position. But he is working for the company as an independent contractor and his primary responsibility is to try to sell its stations.
He did not want to comment about the ongoing situation but he recently sent a memo to some staffers, and the Post-Dispatch obtained a copy of that note.
“There are major forces at work to lease the station out to Talk STL and Dan Marshall as a sports station in another one of his foolish attempts to ruin another radio station,” the note said, adding that Calvin is not being paid but wants to see good things happen for the remaining employees.
“I work for you, us and the right thing. … I consider you all friends and family,” the memo also said. “I will not allow some people and some of our investors to sabotage 1380. They have started a face book [sic], rumor mill campaign already on the streets that 1380 is being flipped to sports which will make sales even more difficult. If something was to happen REST ASSURE I would call you all or have a meeting immediately. I would not leave you in the wind.”
Marshall could not be reached for comment.
Calvin’s memo also says radio “can be (doesn’t need to be) but can be an ugly business and with some of the players against us it is a daily dog fight and I’m a mean dog!”
Credit to STL Today who originally published this article
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.
NHL All-Star Game Airing Exclusively on SiriusXM After Contract Extension
The game — held on Saturday, February 4th — will feature Steve Kouleas and Gord Stellick in the booth. Scott Laughlin will work as the broadcast’s rinkside reporter.
SiriusXM and the NHL have reached an extension that will see the satellite service continue to carry every league contest. The new multi-year deal will run through the 2028-2029 season.
Part of the deal includes the NHL All-Star Game airing exclusively on SiriusXM. The game had previously been distributed by Westwood One before Sports USA Media took over the rights in 2021.
The game — held on Saturday, February 4th — will feature Steve Kouleas and Gord Stellick in the booth. Scott Laughlin will work as the broadcast’s rinkside reporter. All three are regulars on NHL Network Radio. Stellick and Laughlin serve as hosts of NHL Morning Skate, while Kouleas hosts the station’s afternoon show, The Power Play.
NHL Network Radio will also provide live coverage of the league’s All-Star Media Day on Thursday, February 2nd and the NHL All-Star Skills Competition on Friday, February 3rd.
The deal includes SiriusXM continuing to produce and distribute SiriusXM NHL Network Radio on the platform for the duration of the contract.
Peter Rosenberg: Gio’s Rant ‘Gimmick Infringement’ of Don La Greca
The comment from Rosenberg comes after Giannotti was critical of he and La Greca last week. Giannotti claimed the pair were “bootlicking” Michael Kay.
The war of words between WFAN’s Boomer & Gio and 98.7 ESPN New York’s The Michael Kay Show continued Monday, with a quip from Peter Rosenberg about a rant from Gregg Giannotti.
Giannotti, a Vikings fan, was discussing his viewing situation during Monday morning’s show as the franchise played the New York Giants. His wife, two daughters, mother, mother-in-law, and best friend joined him to watch the Super Wild Card game, and the WFAN host detailed that the situation grew more tense with each passing moment due to comments made by those in attendance.
Giannotti eventually admitted to yelling at his friend, and jokingly shouted “Not the time, Louise!” after his mother-in-law commented about how good the Giants had gotten during a Saquon Barkley touchdown run.
The rant didn’t go unnoticed by Rosenberg, however, and he replied to Giannotti’s video clip of the segment by saying “Fake Don Lagrecca (sic) much? This is called gimmick infringement”.
The comment from Rosenberg comes after Giannotti was critical of he and La Greca last week. Giannotti claimed the pair were “bootlicking” Michael Kay after walking back comments he made about getting a producer at the station fired by calling them “performance art”.
While criticising Kay, Giannotti could not identify Rosenberg, only calling him “whatever his face”.
“He’s gonna retire. It doesn’t matter whether you kiss his ass or not, it’s not gonna be the difference in you getting that job when he leaves,” Giannotti said of La Greca and Rosenberg. “Just stop it. Just stop kissing his ass.”
Rosenberg responded to the disapproval from Giannotti last week by tweeting “My favorite part of the trash talk from the guy on the fan is ‘pick on someone your own size Michael Kay… pick on me’…LOL who are you?!!!!”
Jim Rome: Sad Paul Allen Is The Saddest Thing Ever
“Never mind letting yourselves down, never mind letting your employer down, never mind letting your fans down, you let the great P.A. down.”
One of Super Wild Card Weekend’s biggest upsets came in the Giants/Vikings game on Sunday afternoon, and Vikings radio voice Paul Allen obviously wasn’t thrilled about the final offensive play.
Jim Rome picked up on that listening to Allen’s call of Kirk Cousins finding T.J. Hockenson short of the line to gain, ending Minnesota’s season.
Rome said he hurt for Allen, who like many followers of the Vikings were shocked to see the second seed in the NFC playoffs bounced the first weekend.
“On the one hand sad P.A. is the saddest thing ever. I hate that so much,” Rome said Monday. “But he turns into pissed P.A. too. I mean that is a brutal way to lose. And what’s sadder than sad P.A.?”
Allen went viral halfway through the 2022-23 season, with his calls of a wild game against the Buffalo Bills on November 13. Allen went through a complete roller coaster of emotions as Buffalo fought to win 33-30 in overtime.
Rome added that he thought disappointing Allen was the worst of all for the NFC North champs.
“Never mind letting yourselves down, never mind letting your employer down, never mind letting your fans down, you let the great P.A. down,” he said.
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. He works full-time as a multimedia specialist at the Virginia State Corporation Commission, while also putting in part-time work for News Radio WRVA and 910 The Fan in Richmond. Additionally, you can find Jordan contributing coverage of the Washington Capitals for the blog NoVa Caps. His prior media experiences include working for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Danville Register & Bee, Virginia Lawyers Weekly and ABC 8News. He can be reached by email at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.