In May 7 IssueBy Derek AaronTimes Journal Sports Editor
ESPN Radio is coming to Russell County. Jeff Hoover with Laker Country WJRS 104.9 FM said this week that WJKY 1060 AM will soon become ESPN Radio 1060, covering both national, regional and local sports.
"Our target date has been May 18th, that's the week of district tournament softball and baseball, but realistically it's going to be real hard to do," Hoover said. "But certainly within the next 3-4 weeks we think we can get up and going."
He said he was receiving equipment weekly that will allow for the changeover to sports radio.
"Our new transmitter will be here probably be here by the end of the week," he said. "And then we just have to schedule the engineering and it will probably take them several days."
He said the station has made a significant investment in the state-of-the-art transmitter, a new audio processor which will enhance the sound and a new control board which will allow call-in shows.
"The ESPN brand is extremely popular and there is a need, I think, promotion of local sports that we'll do," he said.
Hoover said the FM country music station will remain as it is now when the change occurs and only the AM portion will be affected.
"Since before my dad (the late Welby Hoover) died, and that's been 23 years, the AM has always simulcast with the FM," he said. "Whatever has been on WJRS has been on WJKY."
Right now WJKY is a daytime only station and has to be signed off of the airwaves 30 minutes after sunset, according to Federal communication rules. He said the station is applying to go 24 hours a day once the new sports radio is broadcasting in order to provide round the clock sports coverage.
He said he along with his brother, Joey, and sister, Jennifer Cross recently came to the conclusion that sports radio would be a good alternative to offer in the Lake Cumberland region.
"There is no ESPN Radio in this area," he said. "There is in Glasgow and Campbellsville, but not here."
He said the family initially contacted ESPN a year or so ago and that he made contact again about three months ago and gained approval three weeks ago to go forward with the project.
"We just think there are a lot of people interested in sports and the programs they have during the day, SportsCenter, Mike and Mike in the Morning, Colin Cowherd and Tirico and Van Pelt are great," he said. Hoover said ESPN programming would air every day but in the afternoons and evenings, when possible, local sports will be promoted.
"We're going to try and put a youth league sports program out on Saturday mornings where we would have coaches, players in and try and promote youth league sports whether it is basketball, baseball, football, soccer or whatever," Hoover said. "Whatever it is we're going to try and promote kids at the local level.
He said another planned local program was "This week in Laker sports" where high school coaches and players will be brought in to talk about what is happening in high school sports.
"A lot of people don't realize, in my opinion, the number sporting events we have," he said. "We're going to really try and focus on promoting all these different sports, not just baseball, basketball and football."
Another popular coming attraction is "Laker Game Night," a similar program to ESPN College GameDay, an hour before high school football games.
"We're going to broadcast live from the field and interview players, coaches and fans," he said. "We want to do a professional job at the events we cover."
He said he envisions a tent set up with the ESPN 1060 logo and will begin the broadcast at 5:30 p.m. and run it through 6:45 p.m. when Laker Country 104.9 FM picks up the broadcast for the actual football game.
"The actual games will have to remain on WJRS because of the night time, but hopefully within a year we'll be able to broadcast games on WJKY," he said. "It is a lengthy and a costly process."
Hoover, who said he loves calling Laker and Lady Laker basketball games on the radio, said he will host another Saturday morning program before the season starts with the 16th district coaches of both girls and boys basketball to talk hoops. He said other neighboring counties such as Adair, Wayne and Pulaski counties may also become involved as a total recap of high school basketball in the are could air on the program.
"The ones I have talked to have been very receptive about that," he said. "Not only will we be able to reach our further, the sound will be so much different than what you hear on there now."
Another plan for the new local ESPN Radio is to cover the 11-12 year old Little League district baseball tournament in Campbellsville and also a game or two of the 9-10 year olds in July.
He said the station will be able to reach at least two counties out in each direction, reaching thousands of sports fans.
From 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. it will be Mike and Mike in the Morning with Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. it will be The Herd with Colin Cowherd and from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. it will be Tirico & Van Pelt with Mike Tirico and Scott Van Pelt. Hoover said when time permitted, part of The Doug Gottlieb Show would air from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., unless local or regional sports are being aired.
Saturdays and nights, when available, will feature Major League Baseball, the National Football League, the National Basketball Association, stock car racing, golf as well as much more.
To reports scores and cancellations to ESPN Radio 1060 AM, email firstname.lastname@example.org. The station will also soon feature a Web site, www.espnradio1060.com. To reach ESPN Radio 1060 by phone, call 270-866-2060.
"There arejust so many possibilities and that is what makes it exciting," Hoover said.