I was off Monday and Tuesday so I’m now catching up.
We now know what the mid-day show is on 790/The Zone. It’s called “The Red Zone” and airs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. (As previously noted, “Mayhem in the AM” adds an hour and goes to 11 a.m., Archer and Bell moves up an hour and goes from 2 to 6 p.m. and John Michaels‘ “Football Night in Atlanta” starts an hour earlier at 6 p.m.)
The 2 Live Stews’ show has now been merged into a show with Tony Barnhart and Wes Durham and others. Or something like that. I was told Monday’s show included Hans Heiserer, one of the fill-ins on the station, along with Ryan and Doug Stewart.
The Stews’ agent Norm Schrutt acknowledged he wasn’t thrilled by this arrangement, which dilutes an already shrinking Stews brand on the station. But he said the brothers are “team players” and are doing what they are told. And after getting their hours cut from three hours to two last year, they do get to be on air for three hours a day again. The Stews have already been dialed back significantly since the new program director Bob Richards took over last year.
This move was partly precipitated by the success of the Barnhart and Durham show, which was pulling in the best ratings on the station. Problem: Barnhart and Durham have other obligations and are basically taking May and June off. This left the Zone in a dilemma: how to fill that three-hour window? They could have just left the schedule as is and use fill-ins in May and June during mid-days. This solution is a bit of a mashup because it means a rotating cast of players from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. with core regulars.
Andrew Saltzman, the president of the station, said this roundtable-type show gives the station more flexibility. “This is more topic driven and less specifically host driven,” he said.Today, for instance, they’ll have Rick Kamla of NBA TV on as a guest host to talk about the Hawks-Celtics last night. On Monday, they had former Falcons players such as Alge Crumpler and D.J. Shockley on to talk about the NFL draft. He said Barnhart and Durham will start being heard more on the mid-day show starting the third week of July when football gets hot again.
Saltzman said this move is not a diminished role for the Stews in any way although the “2 Live Stews” namesake has been removed. The noon hour of “The Red Zone” is simulcast on CSS, he noted. He said the show is similar to what the Stews do on ESPN’s “First Take.”
“They’re very talented, entertaining, informative guys,” Saltzman said. “We’re very proud of what they’ve done for the station the past 11, 12 years.”
Will it work? We shall see.
By Rodney Ho, Radio & TV Talk