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After nearly 30 years, Soucheray leaving Saturday ‘SportsTalk’

As part of Joe Soucheray’s new 1500 ESPN contract, he will no longer co-host Saturday Morning “SportsTalk,” and work one less hour on weekdays, station officials confirm.
The Pioneer Press columnist has paired with the Star Tribune’s Patrick Reusse

As part of Joe Soucheray’s new 1500 ESPN contract, he will no longer co-host Saturday Morning “SportsTalk,” and work one less hour on weekdays, station officials confirm.

The Pioneer Press columnist has paired with the Star Tribune’s Patrick Reusse on the Saturday 10 a.m.-noon show (and its early Monday night incarnation) since the early ’80s. Soucheray will be replaced by Judd Zulgad, a Strib Vikings beat writer, on Feb. 19. Zuglad had appeared regularly on 1500 ESPN’s rival, KFAN-AM.

Those who want to hear Sooch and Reusse together can still do so on weekdays, though their joint appearances are being cut from 2-4 p.m. to 3-4 p.m. Reusse’s show with Phil Mackey will expand to noon-3 p.m., with Soucheray’s “Garage Logic” 4-6 p.m.

Basically, his new two-year deal will allow Soucheray to dump much of the “sports” load to concentrate on GL, always his first love. While “Garage Logic” briefly contains more sports after 1500 ESPN made its format switch, it has since returned to its right-wing curmudgeon roots. Nevertheless, ratings have risen since the format change.

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Hubbard Broadcasting Vice President Dan Seeman won’t comment on financial terms — Sooch is rumored to be one of the highest-paid hosts in the market, but his last, longer deal was signed before the deep media-wide advertising recession.

Seeman says the move wasn’t ratings-driven. “Joe’s contract was up; as we figured out ways to take full advantage of our success this year, a radio station that fulfills our brand, we wanted to expand Pat and Phil’s show and let Joe focus on what he does best, which is Garage Logic. Now, he won’t have to work Saturdays any more.”

Another major motivator: “We need more [young] guys for the future,” Seeman says. “We like Mackey in the long run. We’ve got to start growing some bench talent, start growing more voices for the opportunities that will present themselves in future years. Judd is part of that.”

I’d bet sometime in the next year or two, 1500 ESPN dumps Colin Cowherd for a local show. The non-local “Mike & Mike in the Morning” is doing well in a.m. drive, but Cowherd isn’t successful enough artistically or ratings-wise to hold off a locally based show 9 a.m-noon. That one will have to be negotiated with the network and with Hubbard Radio budgeteers. 

Seeman decided not to move Strib columnist Jim Souhan into the Saturday slot because his “Sunday SportsTalk”  is doing well in the ratings. Zulgad will also appear as a regular guest on 1500 ESPN shows.