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Updated Wednesday, January 2, 2013 at 11:16 PM

Seattle gets a third sports radio station, at 1090 AM

By Bob Condotta
Seattle Times staff reporter

Can Seattle support three all-sports radio stations?

Carey Curelop, the program director at 1090 The Fan, is betting on it.

The station became the latest to join the sports radio fray in Seattle Wednesday when it changed formats from progressive talk to sports talk.

"There is a large audience available in Seattle for sports talk radio," Curelop said. "And we want to get a piece of it."

Owned by CBS, the station became one of about 50 of the company's stations nationally that went to an all-sports format on Wednesday. For now, the station largely features programming from the new CBS sports talk network.

The only local programming is the 3-6 p.m. shift featuring Steve Sandmeyer and Bill Swartz, each longtime local voices in the business.

The rest of the day will be devoted to shows from the CBS national sports talk network, such as Jim Rome from 9 a.m. to noon, Doug Gottlieb from noon-3 p.m. and John Feinstein from 6-7 p.m. The morning show will feature former New York Giants running back Tiki Barber, Brandon Tierney and Dana Jacobson from 6-9 a.m.

Curelop said the move to switch from progressive talk to all-sports had been in the works for a while.

"We think there is a better opportunity doing this," he said. "We think with the talent that we have on the air that we have an opportunity to get a substantial piece of the audience."

Curelop says the station will likely add more local programming in the future though he said he could not divulge details. Mike Gastineau, a longtime host at KJR-AM, recently left that station. But Gastineau said Wednesday he is not headed to 1090 The Fan.

KJR-AM 950 was the first station in Seattle to go all sports, doing so in 1992.

KIRO-AM 710 joined the fight when it went all-sports in April 2009.

Rich Moore, program director at KJR-AM, said Wednesday he welcomed the added competition.

"It's great to have more stations in our format doing what we are doing," he said. "It shows the health of the format. We are comfortable with the brand that we have positioned with the local angle."

KJR-AM features local programming from 5:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.

KIRO (officially known as 710 ESPN Seattle) features local programming from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

KJR-AM and ESPN 710 Seattle also have the radio rights to the major sports teams in town — KJR broadcasts UW football and men's basketball and ESPN 710 has the Seahawks and Mariners (as well as the Sounders on their FM dial).

None of the rights for teams are due up in the immediate future and Curelop said it was too soon to say whether 1090 The Fan would bid for any rights when they become available.

Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or bcondotta@seattletimes.com. On Twitter @bcondotta.


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