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1500 ESPN canceling Colin Cowherd, going local

OK, sports junkies, if you want more Twins and Vikings talk in the morning, you’re about to get it.
By Labor Day, 1500 ESPN will ax Colin Cowherd’s nationally syndicated show, which it airs 9 a.m. to noon.

OK, sports junkies, if you want more Twins and Vikings talk in the morning, you’re about to get it.

By Labor Day, 1500 ESPN will ax Colin Cowherd’s nationally syndicated show, which it airs 9 a.m. to noon. If you want to replace Cowherd, here’s the host-wanted ad.

Hubbard Broadcasting vice president Dan Seeman says The Herd with Colin Cowherd was getting around a 2 percent share of local men 25-to-54-years-old, while another ESPN national show, Mike & Mike in the Morning, basically doubled that in 5-9 a.m. morning drive. “It’s not like it was a national [show] problem,” Seeman says, pointed to M&M’s respectable numbers.

Whomever 1500 puts up will face KFAN’s Paul Allen, a ratings behemoth. But since the former KSTP-AM adopted the ESPN brand last year, Seeman has argued two sports stations cannibalize each other less than grow the audience for sports talkers. So far, the numbers have proven him right. If 1500 makes a good hire, WCCO might have more to worry about with a non-sportsaholic like John Williams.

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As the ratings indicate, Cowherd’s show was a speed bump in many 1500 listeners’ day. (Before the ESPN switchover, Joe Soucheray was becoming one, but he has more than righted the ship.) Seeman says morning and evening drive have much bigger available audiences “but from an imaging and consistency standpoint, 9 to noon is pretty important.”

Seeman is leaving the actual configuration of the show open. “It could be a co-host show, host and sidekick, depending on the hire,” he says. “We’ll have someone in place by the start of football season” — meaning the Vikings regular season.

Before you ready your demo tape, Seeman says he has “lots of good candidates,” but declined to name any. Possibilities include locals and out-of-towners, he allowed, adding that the afternoon team of Pat Reusse and Phil Mackey will not be split up.