Sources: KIRO-AM to shift to all sports
Seattle to gain a second all sports-talk station on KIRO-AM (710)
Seattle Times staff reporter
KIRO-AM (710) will become an all sports-talk radio station on April 1, according to multiple sources.
A news conference is scheduled for Thursday to announce the move.
KIRO, which is owned by Bonneville International, ditched its music format in August on its FM dial and began simulcasting the AM station's news/talk programming. The simulcast is expected to continue until the sports programming debuts on AM in April. The FM station will keep its news/talk programming.
The Mariners will return to KIRO in 2009, signing a three-year contract in July. The station already carries Seahawks games, and program director Rod Arquette said KIRO will do some work with the Sounders FC, the new Major League Soccer team. Storm games are broadcast on KKNW-AM (1150).
Although Bonneville International laid off six newsroom employees and one engineer on Monday, the station is expected to hire an assistant program director who would format the sports lineup. Sources said ESPN will leave KJR-AM (950) to air some of its syndicated shows on KIRO. But everyone agrees in order to compete with the only current all sports-talk station there will have to be local programming.
Arquette would not confirm the plan to go all-sports on the AM dial, saying, "come Thursday." Carl Gardner, vice president/market manager of Bonneville Seattle, will be joined by Seahawks and Sounders CEO Tod Leiweke and Mariners president/CEO Chuck Armstrong at the news conference Thursday.
The station's layoffs were not related to the change in programming. In fact, some of those laid off hope there might be room to return under the sports umbrella.
"It was just cost-cutting moves that were made due to the economy," Arquette said. "It's the same thing that a lot of companies are doing across the country these days."
Jayda Evans: 206-464-2067
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company
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