It May Just Work Out After All, KFAN
Posted by Dan Shrader on Friday, August 12, 2011
It was announced in April that the Minnesota Wild Radio Network would be heading to the local Sports Talk Radio juggernaut KFAN (which will be transmitting from the lovely confines of the FM dial starting Monday, replacing KTLK on 100.3) for a three year tenure. Since its inception, The Wild had been on the Good Neighbor, WCCO, but it was time to move to a more "visible" station. It was widely promoted on KFAN airwaves as another feather in the cap, and that this new marriage would enhance The Wild's identity on the 50,000 watt monstrosity.
So the trumpeting of enhanced promotion and discussion of Wild Hockey on the radio is great for business right?
Well, maybe. KFAN is home of the Minnesota Vikings Radio Network, and to anyone whose listened to the soon-to-be-former-AM1130 knows damn well that The Purple are the predominant topic on nearly every piece of station programming. Makes sense, considering The Vikings are the undisputed heavyweight champ in terms of the local sports scene- its just a trickle down effect from the 24/7/365 attention paid to the National Football League.
So color me skeptical about this. See, during the work day I have my radio tuned to these very same airwaves (thank you for the redundant playlists in every genre FM Radio, and 1500ESPN's broadcast which is apparently driven by hamsters in wheels,) so if anyone can attest to the saturation of football talk from hour to hour, its this guy. Remember, KFAN had the Timberwolves' radio rights, I can recall little time devoted to that team- sure there would be a segment here and there, but it is something that raises an eyebrow.
But where the problem arises, from my point of view, is the sensabilities of the respective hosts:
- The Power Trip Morning Show features Mike Morris, who is a former NFL long snapper.
- Paul Allen is the Vikings Radio Play by Play voice, and Friday Co-Host Paul Charchian is well-known for his involvement with Fantasy Football.
- "The Common Man" Dan Cole's show is more of a variety/nonsense affair, even though Producer Brandon Mileski is the Head Coach of the Coon Rapids' Boys Hockey Team.
- Dan Barreiro's drive-time show is a bit of everything including politics and sports, but Barreiro himself is more of a Basketball guy than anything.
They just aren't "hockey guys"; and for the most part, none of the other radio personalities in town aren't either. Plain and simple, The Vikings drive conversation on the radio not just because they are topical (and one game a week lends itself to the sometimes tedious dissection of even the slightest minutia of every game) but because the hosts themselves have some sort of investment in the team as well. Its kind of ominous really; even though the Wild games will be heard on KFAN airwaves, they are playing the role of Little Mac and The Vikings and NFL are, well, Mike Tyson.
But I had an epiphany today.
KFAN and Fox Sports North have partnered up, so the last hour of Paul Allen's show is now seen live on Fox Sports North's website. The crux of the matter is that the Minnesota Twins have been the emphasis of this union, and Twins/FSNorth personalities have been frequent guests on Allen's show. The Twins almost exclusively air their games on FSNorth (save the National Telecasts) and the scuttlebutt is that The Wild will be doing the same; so is this FSNorth/KFAN partnership the formula for a constant source of Wild Hockey discussion? Kevin Gorg is already a frequent guest, as is Anthony LaPanta; both of which also work Wild broadcasts- maybe use the same concept but change the lineup a little bit, making it more topical? Why wouldn't KFAN and FSNorth do this- you are, after all, in the business of marketing your own product.
If so, then it's an oasis amongst the (seemingly) nonstop Vikes talk that rules the radio airwaves. And that's all I can hope for.