KGO 810 news radio replaced by sports gaming station The Spread


Frequency 810 on the AM radio dial — where for decades Bay Area residents tuned into KGO to talk about the day’s news — kicked off a new era on Monday: gaming coverage chance on sports.

After station owner Cumulus Media abruptly shut down KGO programming on Thursday and hinted at a future involving betting and making money with on-air promotions, he unveiled the new station on Monday, with 810 AM now called “The Spread” in reference to a common gaming term. .

“The new station brings sports and sports betting news, information and information to the burgeoning and underserved sports betting audience in San Francisco,” Cumulus said in a press release Monday. The station is the first in the Bay Area dedicated to sports betting, according to Cumulus.

Kevin Graham, program director for The Spread, said weekday programming “would feature a range of expert personalities who deliver unique sports talk and sports betting information that entertains, informs and engages”.

According to Graham, weekday mornings will begin at 6 a.m. with three hours of hosts Joe Ostrowski, Joe Giglio and Erin Hawksworth, followed by three hours of “aggressive and informed sports opinions, fast-paced dialogue and plenty of sports slaps.” by Jim Rome, a commentator best known for getting roughed up in 1994 by a former NFL quarterback after repeatedly taunting him to his face.

After Rome, listeners will hear hosts Nick Kostos and Ken Barkley from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m., followed by four hours of “live sports betting updates” and scores and stats from Quinton Mayo, Trysta Krick and Ryan Horvat, said Cumulus. The station will air CBS Sports content from 8 p.m. to midnight.

“I think it’s a desperate move, and it’s also a gamble, so to speak, that can make them money,” said Ed Baxter, a former KGO 810 presenter from 1976 to 2011. What they are targeting is a niche audience.”

The scheduling change comes as Californians prepare to vote next month on two sports betting bills, Propositions 26 and 27, in the midterm ballot. A poll earlier this month found less than a third of state residents polled supported either bill.

The station will continue to broadcast UC Berkeley Golden Bears football games in California, the school’s athletic department announced Monday. KGO has been Cal’s football radio station since 1974. “We have a partnership with Cumulus Media and our games will continue to air at 8:10 a.m.,” the department said in a statement. An advertising link on the radio’s website linked directly to the Cal Bears ticketing website.

The UC Berkeley athletic department declined to answer questions about whether broadcasts would continue beyond an existing contract, or whether the department or team had any concerns about a close association with a station. sports game radio. UC Berkeley did not immediately respond to questions about its football team’s ties to betting.

Mark Thompson, a self-proclaimed “degenerate sports gamer” and the host of KGO who was on the air Thursday when Cumulus shut down KGO’s programming, wondered if the sports betting content was right for the Bay Area. Cumulus may be betting on legalizing sports betting in California at some point, even if both proposals fall through, or it could pin hopes of profitability by replacing KGO staff with syndicated sports betting hosts like a “cost-effective way to get something on the air,” Thompson said.

Radio giant Cumulus “made a brutal business decision, which they have a right to do,” Thompson said, noting that news radio, newspapers and TV news have been hammered by the switch to online advertising and changes in US media consumption.

“The lost logic behind (Cumulus) is the true human cost to listeners who relied on KGO for everything from company to milestone events, to help digest major news, sometimes grim, local crises ranging from fires to the shootings, and all the challenges we face in California and the Bay Area,” Thompson said.

The sudden shutdown of KGO programming last week has led former employees to describe a long decline that began shortly after Cumulus bought the station in 2011 and accelerated when the radio giant brought in personnel and programming changes as he attempted to cut costs.

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