KALL (AM-910) and sister station KNRS (AM-570) are making some significant changes starting Monday, Aug. 2, and sportscaster Chris Tunis is the biggest casualty.
It looks like the two Clear Channel/Jacor stations just can't compete in the local sports talk realm with KFNZ (AM-1320), and so, except for the Jim Rome Show (10 a.m.-1 p.m., weekdays) on KALL, general talk shows will be the rule for the two stations.Tunis' last sports talk show for KALL was Wednesday, July 21.
"We want to try a different direction," Jacor of Salt Lake AM program director Larry Crandall said. "This will help strengthen both radio stations."
The revised programming of the two stations just doesn't fit Tunis' style.
And that's too bad, as Tunis has always been among the most knowledgeable of Utah broadcast sportscasters.
"I had a great ride," Tunis said, explaining that he's looking at options that might even take him outside of broadcasting.
He has no job prospects yet but would prefer to stay in this market. Tunis agrees that if he does decide to remain in broadcasting, he may have to go outside Utah.
"I don't consider myself a failure," Tunis said. "I'll find something."
Tunis has 20 years of broadcast experience, including 18 in Salt Lake City. Ironically, he is also still the acting president of the National Association of Sportscasters and Sportswriters, despite being unemployed.
After being dumped by KSL some years ago, Tunis anchored KISN-AM, a new all-sports radio station that also competed against KFNZ. After that died on July 23, 1997, he ended up at KALL for another two years.
He believes the Clear Channel-Jacor merger may have something to do with the changes that led to his job loss. He agrees that, ratings-wise, it is hard to compete with KFNZ because they have the Utah Jazz rights.
Meanwhile, another former KSL host, Bob Lee, moves from KNRS to KALL next week to fill the gap left by Tunis.
-- Here's the revised weekday format for KALL (AM-910):
1-3 p.m.: The Jeff Austin and Brad Stone Show. This will be all-talk of the general kind, with some sports talk mixed in.
3-6 p.m.: Bob Lee, who was on KNRS from 4-7 p.m., will now be on KALL -- replacing Tunis.
-- Here's the revised weekday format for KNRS (AM-570):
4-7 p.m.: Brian James will be hosting a general talk show here, replacing Lee. James lives in Salt Lake City and most recently worked in Tampa, Fla., radio for six years. James is extremely well-known as the "voice" for some 200 U.S. radio stations, including Salt Lake's KZHT (FM-94.9).
James attended school at Magna's Brockbank Junior High and so he's a local boy made good.
He predicts his new show will be light and entertaining, yet won't avoid the serious stuff when it comes along.
-- KSNU -- "The Edge," (FM-107.9) is apparently a temporary radio station with an "alternative gold" music format until the frequency is sold to another party. The station appeared about a month ago after KOSY moved to another frequency.
There seem to be no commercials airing on KSNU; it simply looks to be a "jukebox" until a permanent and perhaps similar format comes along.
Quite a few listeners have called me, saying they love the station.
Now that's radio heaven, any station that's all music and no commercials. Enjoy it while it lasts.
-- RADIO HAPPENINGS -- "Fisher, Todd and Erin" of KISN were off in Disneyland this week doing live remotes and explorations of the popular vacation destination . . . Mick Martin of "The Freak Show" on KURR Monday recalled his country radio days on KSOP, early in his broadcasting career . . .
"The Z-Morning Zoo" on KZHTMonday heard tales from listeners about being robbed . . . "Mike and Marci" on KQMB this week were giving away free gasoline at certain stations . . . Dickie and Angel on KODJ have started their latest contest, which will give away a 1958 Chevy Impala on Sept. 11 to a lucky listener.
Deseret News radio editor Lynn Arave can be reached by phone at 237-2168 or by e-mail at [email protected]