UPDATE (2:40p ET): ESPN VP of PR Josh Krulewitz in response to my report on ESPN Radio changes: “An announcement with details on future ESPN radio plans is upcoming.”
Los Angeles radio industry sources confirmed to me this week that the daily radio shows of ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt and Doug Gottlieb will soon be heard on the Angels-owned KLAA-AM (830am). KLAA, which was purchased by Arte Moreno to serve as the flagship radio outlet for the Angels, has a powerful daytime signal into Los Angeles.
As of now the changes, which have been in the works for months, are set to take effect in early April. The move also comes despite there already being an ESPN-owned station in the L.A. marketplace, KSPN-AM (710am).
As part of the change on the national ESPN radio front, Colin Cowherd’s morning show is being cut by one hour, from 7-10a PT. Van Pelt’s show is likely to increase to three hours, with it airing live in L.A. from 10a-1p PT and Gottlieb’s show remaining from 1p-4p PT.
Cowherd’s full show will continue to be broadcast weekdays on KSPN from 7a-10a PT. KSPN currently airs local programming from 11a-3p PT (LA Sports Live with Mychal Thompson & Andrew Siciliano) and 3p-7p PT (Steve Mason & John Ireland).
So why is ESPN launching its national radio shows into a market where it already airs local L.A. ESPN radio programming via KSPN?
Though it may appear that ESPN is cannibalizing KSPN, it really isn’t. KLAA has a tiny listenership in Los Angeles and though Van Pelt and Gottlieb do good work, the odds of them cutting into the audience of KSPN-AM’s local shows is remote.
I’ve been told that part of the motivation for the move is ESPN clearing the Van Pelt and Gottlieb shows live in Los Angeles and Orange County - making them more valuable to national ESPN radio advertisers.
Cowherd’s show is being reduced by an hour because of his overall workload. He also co-Hosts ESPN-TV’s SportsNation weekdays with Michelle Beadle.
KLAA also features a morning show hosted by Roger Lodge, which will continue to air on the station from 6a-10a PT and KTLA-TV in Los Angeles. Jeff Biggs currently hosts the station’s afternoon show from 3-7p PT.
Will the Cowherd-Van Pelt-Gottlieb news have a huge impact on the L.A. sports radio landscape? Probably not. But having more morning and midday options can’t hurt. Especially when the quality of the shows is above average.