A little over three years ago, many GOP political candidates (at both local and national levels) were slaughtered in the 2006 mid-term elections. Consultants to talk radio stations used those results as a cudgel to perpetuate the meme that conservative talk radio was dead. As such, KSTP was said to have jettisoned Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity (who are now syndicated on FM 100.3 KTLK) from their airwaves for that very reason.
When the local FM frequency 100.3 became a talk format at the beginning of 2006, the initial weekday linuep consisted of a mixed bag of commentators in an attempt to appeal to the masses. Sure, Limbaugh and Hannity appealed to the conservative crowd. But there was local flavor with the likes of Andrew Colton and Kelly Guest (both politically benign) in the mornings, WCCO-TV political reporter Pat Kessler (MSM journalists are impartial, right?) in the late morning and the lefty male/righty gal duo of Brian Lambert and Sarah Janecek during drive time. Four years later, KTLK is thriving as a conservative radio station with the likes of Glenn Beck, Limbaugh, Hannity, Jason Lewis and Laura Ingraham filling out the weekday lineup. So much for "right-wing radio" being passe.
Meanwhile, within the past year, AM 1500 has added left-of-center commentators like Patrick Reusse in the early mornings and the aforementioned Prebil & Murphy in the 9:00 am to 1:00 slot. In addition to securing the rights to Twins baseball in 2007 and Joe Soucheray still appealing to the center-right crowd with the ever popular Garage Logic from 2 to 5, KSTP seems to be embracing the philosophy that KTLK rejected within its first year of existence. That is, being "all things to all people." As a result, it's becoming harder to deny that the AM affiliate of Hubbard Broadcasting is moving along like a rudderless ship.
UPDATE: I no sooner published this post when I saw the following tweet from Darren "Doogie" Wolfson of KSTP-TV:
As big a radio announcement locally as I can remember ... and it originates out of this building (@KSTP) ... AM-1500 is going all-sports.
UPDATE II: Via Ginny Morris, President/GM of Hubbard Broadcasting
On Monday, February 15, we evolve again, and you will know us as AM1500 The SportsTalk Station.
Joe Soucheray and Patrick Reusse invented SportsTalk in this town - arguably in the country - and we look forward to featuring them together every afternoon. They are wonderfully talented entertainers and storytellers, as individuals and as a team, and they will anchor our new line-up that we think you will enjoy.
Patrick will be heard each day from noon to 2p.m. Joe and Patrick together from 2 to 4p.m., then from 4-6p.m. "The Mayor" resumes the magical theater of "Garage Logic."
For three years, we have enjoyed a tremendous partnership with the Minnesota Twins, and this new position enhances and strengthens our relationship with the Twins and their many fans. We look forward to being up and running before the Twins's inaugural season at Target Field.
Also, at the center of these changes will be a new partnership with ESPN, the worldwide leader in sports coverage. ESPN has a contractual obligation to another outlet in town for a period of time, but beginning Monday you will hear the Colin Cowherd program from 9a.m. to noon. Soon, we will also bring you ESPN's "Mike and Mike In The Morning," and some other great ESPN programming throughout the week.
When those pieces are able to unfold, we will change our name to 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
We are excited to embrace the next phase in our history, and we truly thank you for listening to the new AM1500 The SportsTalk Station.