I covered the news conference today in Seattle announcing that KIRO, which has partnerships with both the Seahawks and the Mariners, is going to an all-sports format on April 1, competing directly with KJR. Their launch is meant to coincide directly with the start of baseball season.
The above photo includes Chuck Armstrong at the far left, KIRO GM and VP Dave Pridemore, KIRO VP/market manager Carl Gardner and Seahawks CEO Tod Leiweke.
KIRO is becoming an ESPN station, which for all intents and purposes means that KJR no longer is able to air ESPN material. What this means for John Clayton I am not sure. When I reached him at home, he did not want to comment. He has had his Sports Saturday show for almost two decades and is very proud of what he has been able to develop. KJR program director Rich Moore said he thinks Clayton will stay with KJR. "John is a very big part of our radio station, and we want him to continue that tradition. We anticipate that he will be able to do that."
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KIRO has not announced what shows it is going to do or what talent it is going to hire, saying only that they are going to build more shows around the Seahawks and Mariners, obviously, but also do its fair share of local programming. They will hire a program director over the next few weeks and then start zeroing in on hosts and co-hosts.
Carl Gardner was pretty clear that KIRO, owned by Bonneville, a Mormon-owned company, is going to have a different flavor than some of the KJR shows, particularly Mitch's morning show, which sometimes focuses on women. "Bonneville has a high standard," Gardner said. "Our view is you can be entertaining and funny without being blue."