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16 Podcasts To Save You from Sports Radio

If you’ve turned on the radio to listen to local sports talk, you know how frustrating it can be to hear hosts’ inability to stay focused, rude behavior toward callers, poor working knowledge of basic grammar, and scant analysis of the actual play on the field or court. At times it is as if they care more about the feelings of the players and the clothes their coaches wear than what transpires in the game.

Suffer no more! With the growing popularity of podcasts, a few minutes of setup can free you from the shackles of local sports talk. iPhone users can use the great Overcast app (with its sound leveling and gap removing features) or just stick with the stock Apple Podcast app. Android users should download the BeyondPod app; all free of charge.

Simply add the feeds for the below podcasts and you are finally off to an informative, entertaining, and efficient sports talk experience!


N.C. State




Carolina Hurricanes


WRDU Returns to Air

Yesterday 100.7 became WRDU, and is staying with a tried and true AOR. “Back in Black”, “Hot for Teacher”, “Sweet Child o’ Mine”…songs we all got sick of 20 years ago, served over, and over, and over, and over. A sad salvation, indeed.


95X Hits Triangle Airwaves

95x For over 25 years now “Alternative Rock” and “Triangle Radio” have been like oil and water. While smaller cities (like Norfolk and Wilmington) around the country have enjoyed commercial alternative stations, Raleigh has been stuck with the same repetitious offering of country/classic rock/dance/adult contemporary…until now. 95.3, billed as “95X” debuted Friday and finally brings the Triangle up to date with other markets where “Mumford & Sons”, “The Temper Trap”, and “The Killers” aren’t met with strange looks.

The station is actually a Clear Channel offering of WDCG-HD2, broadcasted on a weak signal out of Apex. Chris Edge left KGSR in Austin to come run the station, and the plan is to get a second frequency in the western half of the Triangle.

For faithful readers of Pitchfork, or even avid fans of MTV’s 120 Minutes, the playlist will not be terribly interesting.  Commercial radio stations will have their “play the hits” and saturation advertising weaknesses (“Hennnnnnrick…”), after all, however the playlist reads more like “new rock”, or essentially what 106 and QDR were doing at the moment when they coexisted, which is much needed. Before Friday, the newest real rock band played on commercial stations was the Foo Fighters, a band that has been around for 17 years. Welcome to the Triangle, 95X!


WUNC to Broadcast “Carmina Burana” Tonight

From the North Carolina Symphony Orchestra:

Due to a change in programming, the North Carolina Symphony’s performance of “Carmina Burana” will be broadcast tonight on WUNC 91.5FM, beginning at 10pm . The program was previously limited to online streaming only.

The broadcast features North Carolina Symphony Music Director Grant Llewellyn leading the North Carolina Master Chorale and renowned guest artists in two choral highlights.

Poulenc: Gloria

Orff: Carmina Burana

Composed by Carl Orff beginning in 1935, Carmina Burana is based on 24 poems found in the medieval collection of the same name. The often-quoted composition has taken a unique place in popular culture, a musical Canterbury Tales that covers a wide range of topics: the fickleness of fortune and wealth, the ephemeral nature of life, the joy of the return of spring and the pleasures and perils of drinking, gluttony, gambling and lust, to name a small few.

“It is incredibly evocative, incredibly powerful at some moments and poignant at others,” says Llewellyn of this tour-de-force. “There’s a reason it has endured and people love to hear it. It’s a piece I enthusiastically conduct.”

The concert, which also includes Francis Poulenc’s Gloria—“a joyous hymn to the glory of God,” in the composer’s words—was performed live in Raleigh’s Meymandi Concert Hall as part of the Duke Medicine Classical Series Raleigh on Friday and Saturday, May 11-12, 2012.

Legendary broadcaster David Hartman hosts tonight’s exhilarating concert program. Listeners are also treated to special access to content not available to concertgoers, including interviews with musicians and soloists and insights into some of the finest compositions ever written.

The program will stream online at wunc.org throughout the week. To stream the broadcast and see the latest details on upcoming Symphony programs on WUNC 91.5FM, visit www.wunc.org/programs/north-carolina-symphony-concert-series .


96 Rock Tweaks Format, Changes Name

radio961 Yesterday 96.1FM made some changes. Instead of playing guitar-driven rock catering to young males, the station is now playing a much more diverse playlist of somewhat softer rock songs. For example, the last 10 songs they played were:

  • “Wish You Were Here” – Pink Floyd
  • “Tempted” – Squeeze
  • “Black Betty” – Ram Jam
  • “Born In the U.S.A.” – Bruce Springsteen
  • “What It’s Like” – Everlast
  • “Highway to Hell” – AC/DC
  • “Beautiful Day” – U2
  • “Something To Believe In” – Poison
  • “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” – Blue Oyster Cult
  • “Selling the Drama” – Live

One thing the entire extended playlist has in common is that the songs are all more than 10 years old . While this is a more varied mix that isn’t likely to repeat songs ad nauseum during the workday (eg. Adele, The Script, Train), these are songs that have been played and played and played and played and played. This isn’t an assault on “Alternative”. It’s an assault on anything remotely creative.

Curtis Media Group also has rebranded the station to “Radio 96.1”. While it isn’t a major shift in format, it is a big enough change to warrant new branding.

What makes no sense…NO SENSE, however is the dismissal of Bob The Blade, a great personality in this market for, what, almost three decades now? If we have to endure “Don’t Fear the Reaper” for the 80,000th time, at least do it with a personality that so many people enjoy like a sibling. He was one of the bright spots in a dismal, embarrassing radio market.

If Curtis Media and Clear Channel controlled the production of food and restaurant menus, we would still be eating Pot Roast, Hamburgers, and Hot Dogs. We are one of the best places to live in America, but it surely isn’t a result of local radio’s work.


Pulse 102 Hits the Airwaves

pulse102 Last night Curits Media flipped the switch on two area frequencies, simulcasting a station they call “ Pulse 102 ”. This format, aimed at women (25-34), is a streamlined blend of high-energy hits. Artists such as Lady Gaga, Enrique Iglesias, Usher, Katy Perry, and Ke$ha are featured on the station. The station debuts with 10,000 songs in a row and can be heard on both WPLW 102.5 (Hillsborough) and WWPL 102.3 (Smithfield).


Sports Radio Swaps Lineup

Beginning today, WRAL is swapping 2 of their 3 biggest local sports talk acts. Adam Gold and Joe Ovies will move to the afternoon drive-time slot on 99.9FM while Mark & Mike will be taking over the morning drive-time slot on 620am.

It is a very interesting move that says nothing more than 99.9’s coveted afternoon drive-time ratings must have been extremely disappointing. Mark and Mike are pretty knowledgeable about football and hockey, but their talent in the basketball is extremely inappropriate for this market. Adam Gold, on the other hand, is extremely knowledgeable, but is only slightly less annoying than Billy Ray Cyrus.


WRDU Moving to Conservative Talk

Today TBJ is reporting that WPTF has “lost the contract” to carry the Rush Limbaugh program beyond December 31. Because Curtis Media also owns 101.1 FM and 850 AM, the show will not be going to either of those stations, given the “lost” language. Speculation is that ClearChannel is getting ready to convert one of its FM stations, like 93.9 or 106.1 to talk radio, most likely conservative talk. Clearchannel did recently launch www.rushradio945.com for its new format coming (January 1) on a Greensboro station, so it makes it interesting that Curtis Media has bought the URL www.rushradio1061.com , most likely in a blocking move since ClearChannel, not Curtis owns 106.1.

NOTE: 11/3/2009 – this move was, indeed announced late Monday afternoon . WRDU will carry Glenn Beck at 9am, Rush Limbaugh at Noon, and Sean Hannity at 3pm.

(Please feel free to comment, but spare us pro/anti-Rush rhetoric . The point of the post is the impact on local radio.)


Sports Radio Shakeup Begins Monday

Triangle sports radio enters a new era tomorrow. Capital Broadcasting will run sports radio on two signals, 99.9FM The Fan and 620AM The Buzz, mixing local and syndicated shows. To corral all of the coverage, a new website for the stations has launched, ESPNTriangle.com . Here are the two stations’ typical weekday schedules:

99.9 The Fan

6am – 10am Mike & Mike
10am – Noon The Herd with Colin Cowherd
Noon – 3pm David Glenn
3pm – 7pm Mark & Mike – The Insiders

620 The Buzz

6am – 9am Adam Gold & Joe Ovies
9am – Noon Dan Patrick
Noon – 2pm Jim Rome
2pm – 4pm The Scott Van Pelt Show
4pm – 7pm Primetime with the Packman

Dave Glenn Show Moving

Starting Monday, November 2, sports radio in the Triangle will experience some major changes. The Dave Glenn Show will move from its current afternoon drive-time slot to its new time, Noon – 3:00pm. The radio show features ACC sports guru Dave Glenn as well as caller commentary and celeb interviews. The show is in the process of being syndicated across the region, but Raleigh listeners can catch the show on 99.9 (FM) The Fan as well as on 850am for its remaining days carrying the sports format. In addition, Friday will be the final show for The Sports Pig at 6pm.


Radio Deal Means End of Line for 850 The Buzz

850 Capital Broadcasting made a stunning announcement today that will shake up the sports radio market. In a complex deal, Capital Broadcasting will acquire 620 The Bull and most of the local talent at 850 The Buzz. Curtis Media will take the 850 signal and convert it to a music format (presumably either a Latin variant or Retiree Radio).

The move means the end of the line for the area leader in sports talk, 850 The Buzz. For me it began back on September 6, 1996, Hurricane Fran had devastated Raleigh, leaving hundreds of thousands without power for days. The next day we were scanning the dial for afternoon discussion about the hurricane damage, and landed on the old KIX signal, 850 am. I didn’t realize that they were doing talk radio at that point, but we couldn’t turn it off. In that era they had The Fabulous Sports Babe, Mark Jackson (sports), and some chick who talked about sex every night. Excellent grammarian Pat Mellon took the afternoon drive time for a while and talked about local issues, especially the struggle to land an NHL team and to get funding to complete the planned arena in West Raleigh.

By a couple of years later, under the direction of programming director Craig Schwalb, 850 had dedicated itself to sports talk and firmly cemented its presence as the local sports talk leader. While 620 had some mumbling curmudgeon each evening mocking the future of the Canes, 850 had a strong local lineup including Mike Solarte, Adam Gold, and Morgan Patrick.

I happened to be the big winner of 850’s trip to eat lunch in NYC with The Fabulous Sportsbabe contest. The station put us up in the Helmsley Park Central, gave us tickets to the BOS/NYR hockey game at The Garden ( lame crowd), and tickets to see Saturday Night Live. It will go down as one of my favorite weekends, so 850 The Buzz will always hold a place in my heart.

As the sports talk format grew in America this decade, 850 faced new challengers. The race for the all-important 18-40 male market has been an interesting one. With a coveted place on the FM dial and lots of “capital” behind it, Capital Broadcasting buys a strong station and will reorganize its lineup.

99.9 FM carries the ESPN brand, and has a long-term contract with the radio network, so we are likely to see the national programming on that station staying put. The popular Jim Rome Show will likely shift over to 620 The Bull. According to someone close to the situation, local sports talk will fill the gaps on both stations in order to always bring a national/regional + local one-two punch.

In the end what we are really seeing is a shift of 850 The Buzz over to 620 The Bull, with a few exceptions. ACC expert Dave Glenn will take the 99.9 drive time slot, while it is likely that Mark Packer will be carried on 620 opposite.

Many, many questions remain to be answered, though. There is no word on what will happen to other local talent such as Morgan Patrick, Bomani Jones, Amnon Nissan, Scott Jackson, Mark Thomas, and Mike Maniscalco. Who will carry Imus In the Morning? What will happen to the Dan Patrick Show?

The transition date has not been set. In fact we don’t know that it will happen before year’s end. In the meantime, enjoy the “strong” signal on 850 the Buzz while you can, and enjoy some of these local talent people I mentioned…while you can.

8/11 Note: This bit of info comes from the TBJ story :

"In addition, Curtis Media is forming a new sports network, which will syndicate radio shows hosted by 850 The Buzz mainstay David Glenn and WPTF sports anchor Taylor Zarzour. Capitol has agreed to broadcast Zarzour on WDNC weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon, while Glenn’s program will air from noon to 3 p.m. on 99.9 The Fan."

Presumably the concept here is to take these two, especially Glenn, and syndicate them to smaller markets in the region. It is perfectly reasonable to see his show, for instance, being carried in markets like Wilmington, Greensboro, Fayetteville, and smaller towns. Perhaps, though, it would be interesting to people in Asheville, Richmond, and beyond given Glenn’s expertise of ACC issues.


WPTF Picks Up Dave Ramsay

Local am talk station WPTF has picked up debt-averse Dave Ramsey’s syndicated show for its 9am-Noon spot. Ramsey replaces Clark Howard , who can now be heard on sister station WZTK (101.1 FM) from 1:00pm to 4:00pm.


Lynda Loveland To Join WRAL Morning Crew

loveland WRAL FM has found the replacement for the recently departed Sherri Logan on the morning drive-time show. Beginning Monday former morning TV news host Lynda Loveland will join Bill Jordan and the gang on the radio side. Loveland is an extremely nice person with a funny bone, however this move may be a waste of her rare on-camera talents.

News reporter Kelcey Carlson will take Loveland’s seat on the WRAL TV morning news. Valonda Calloway will join Bill Leslie at noon.

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