August 29, 2013 11:38:04 AM
Adam Minichino - [email protected]
More than seven months ago, Chris Stryker said Cumulus Broadcasting of the Golden Triangle switched from ESPN to CBS Sports Radio in an attempt to make the programming more content driven.
In that time, Stryker has seen a new lineup of radio personalities settle into their roles and begin to build a following. And while he has heard from listeners in the region who have said they don't like the change, Stryker is pleased with the transition and is looking forward to even more positive strides.
"I think it has been wonderful," said Stryker, who is programming director for WNMQ-FM 103.1 "The Team." CBS Sports Radio Programming also can be heard on WSSO-AM 1230 in Starkville. "We are still providing excellent sports news and scores, and I think people are really catching on and enjoying it with the addition of iTalkSEC."
Stryker said the station added Scott Moore and his iTalkSEC program about three months ago to bring a "Southern flair" to the programming. He believes the show, which can be heard from 7-9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday provides some of the coverage people in this area want to be hear that CBS Sports Radio might not offer. He also believes the addition of a handful of shows from CRM Sports, including programs dedicated to Auburn University, Mississippi State University, the University of Mississippi, the University of Alabama, and the University of Southern Mississippi, will complement CBS Sports Radio's current lineup.
In addition, 103.1 The Team will broadcast West Point High School football games this season. The station will kick off its coverage between 6:30-6:45 p.m. with a pregame show to get listeners ready for the West Point-South Panola game in Batesville.
Moore has been a featured writer for Scout.com, a national recruiting website, and a guest analyst for XM Fox Sports Radio. He is joined by Doug Segrest, a veteran sports writer, and Doug Bell, a veteran broadcaster who has worked NFL games on FOX and college football and men's college basketball games on ESPN.
Stryker said Moore contacted him and expressed interest in joining the station. He said the station was exploring the possibility of adding local programming, so the timing was perfect for both sides. "It is a match made in heaven," Stryker said.
The regional college lineup begins at 6 p.m. Monday with War Eagle Shout, a program dedicated to Auburn sports. From 6-7 p.m. Tuesday, Gene Swindoll, of Gene's Page, returns with Bully Bark Line, a show about MSU sports. At 6 p.m. Wednesday, Ole Miss fans can listen in for Hotty Toddy Hotline. At 6 p.m. Thursday, Bama Roll Call hits the air for Alabama sports fans. At 6 p.m. Friday, a college football picks show called Professor Percy Pickem debuts. It will be followed immediately by Southern Connection, a show dedicated to USM sports. That show will run up until the start of high school football.
Stryker said the station also is examining the possibility of adding another local program to its afternoon schedule.
CBS Sports Radio has a lineup that includes former NFL player Tiki Barber, former ESPN broadcaster Dana Jacobson, and veteran broadcaster Brandon Tierney from 5-8 a.m. Author and sports commentator John Feinstein follows from 8-11 a.m. Longtime radio and television personality Jim Rome can be heard from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., followed by former college basketball player and veteran ESPN personality Doug Gottlieb from 2-5 p.m. Chris Moore and Brian Jones are on air from 5-9 p.m., Scott Ferrall can be heard from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m., and Damon Amendolara will serve as host for the "overnight" show from 1-5 a.m. The Team 103.1 FM went to an all-sports format in the summer of 2010.
"I think we have a good team and a great lineup," Stryker said. "When they first started this network and these personalities were brought on, it was not something that had evolved over time like other sports programming networks. We feel like everything is hitting on all cylinders and that the personalities are starting to fill their roles like they should."
Stryker said the only criticism he has heard from listeners in the area is that CBS Sports Radio offer too much coverage of hockey. He counters by saying he believes CBS Sports Radio programming focuses on news and talk rather than the celebrity and entertainment aspect of the sports world.
"We really feel CBS Sports Radio has provided a wider gamut of coverage not only for more sports, but less the celebrity," Stryker said. "I feel like the previous sports network was going kind of Hollywood on it. We are back to the cold, hard facts and engaging the listeners a little bit more. Before that I feel they lacked that as well.
"This is brand new network and it is really coming together. It is only going to get better from now. ... People don't like changes, and I feel like sometimes change has to happen. It took some time , but I think now people are getting used to it and people are really enjoying it."
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.