I just spoke with the new program director for 92.9/The Game Terry Foxx. The station launches October 24.
Here are the key takeaways:
- Spending the bucks: CBS, which owns 92.9, “is not playing,” Foxx said. He has hired a mind-boggling 37 on-air staff members in different capacities. He announced the opening daytime lineup yesterday. While there is no Deion Sanders-level name on the list, it’s packed with former athletes and hosts with many years of on-air experience.
- Mix and match: Foxx, who spent 3.5 years at EPSN and most recently helped launch a sports station in Pittsburgh for CBS, tried a myriad of different combinations of people, which is partly why casting has taken so long. Those hosts with TV gigs will mostly keep those jobs as well. And not surprisingly, he knew most of the hires personally from his previous gigs.
- Not Memorex: Foxx promises 24/7 live and local. Although CBS Sports is creating a syndicated network which includes Jim Rome, he said he will not be using it.
- Holdovers: He plans to keep afternoon host Rich Sullivan from Dave FM in some capacity and music director/evening host Margot Smith as an executive producer for now.
- No attachments: Sure, 92.9/The Game will have no teams attached to it (e.g. the Falcons on 790/The Zone and Star 94, the Braves on 680/93.7/The Fan and Rock 100.5, the Bulldogs on AM750 and 95.5FM News/Talk WSB) but that doesn’t preclude them from chasing the rights down in the future.
- Pop culture, too: He wants personalities who are not just sports talkers but can talk about pop culture and entertainment. He said with his top 40 background, he knows how important that combo can be. “Sports transcends,” Foxx said. “It’s a take away on all things going on in life. And people want to be entertained.”
- His take on the morning show. Rick Kamla: “He’s a funny, entertaining guy. A big music guy.” Randy Cross: “He brings several Super Bowl rings.” C.J. Simpson: “She’s well rounded. It’s tough to find females who love sports and brings the pop culture. She’s extremely smart.”
- Mid-day team of Jamie Dukes and Jerome Jurenovich: “Putting two guys who know sports. Jamie’s a fun guy. Jerome’s a funny guy, a Pittsburgh guy. We’ve had good conversations about Steelers and hockey.”
- Afternoon team. Rachael Baribeau: “If you’re in the sports world, you know who she is. She’s going to bring great energy to the show.” Kordell Stewart: “Been friends with him a long time.” Carl Dukes: “Haven’t worked with him directly but he was on some ESPN ‘First Take’ shows. I get to know people via satellite.”
-Competition: “I’m not programming for the industry folks. We’re competing with WSB and Star. We’re competing for the audience of everybody. And the lineup so far is just an appetizer. We have a lot more great folks coming. Ryan Klesko [formerly of the Braves] will do an outdoor show for us. We’ll have a NASCAR show. We’ll have an SEC show, an NFL show. I wish everybody the best in this market but we’re going to worry about what we do. We’re going to do it very well. This signal is huge. We’re going to have a huge platform.”
- Chicken fried guests: “We will have Megan Fox, Christian Bale, Shaq, the Zac Brown Band. We’re going to have all walks of people who love sports. I don’t care what profession you’re in . That’s what this station’s going to be.”
- New studios at Colony Square: “We’re building new studios on the ninth floor. [They will temporarily use the Dave FM studios until December on the eighth floor.] My philosophy is we want it to look like Google. We’re sports so we’ll have a pool table, pinball machines, basketball hoops. It’s going to be a nice big space.”