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. 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.

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.

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Comments (2)

  1. Submitted by Stan Daniels on 08/03/2011 - 06:32 pm.

    I’m sure there are a few more former KFAN employees that Seeman can hire. I still don’t get the point of KSTP AM. One decent local program followed by Souch doing his conservative bit followed by Barriero’s former sidekick.

  2. Submitted by Jesse Mortenson on 08/05/2011 - 01:37 am.

    Reusse and Mackey are pretty good. I’ve been surprised. Tom Pelissaro (who mostly does their web stuff and jumps in to report on the Vikings) is also surprisingly good. The three of them provide the basis for a smarter, more skeptical type of sports talk (without venturing into ostentatious controversy-hounding) than I’ve found elsewhere. I think the station is on the right track, and could put something decent up against Paul Allen. PA’s shtick seems really dated in some ways, and it’s corny as heck. And for obvious reasons he’s a huge Vikings homer. Seems logical that there is an audience for an alternative that is a little younger and hipper, maybe less of a Vikes lovefest.

    It would be cool if there was someone local who could channel a little of the spirit of Dave Zirin into the mix as well.

    Cowherd on the other hand is super obnoxious. His strident, dismissive monotone is unlistenable. His takes are simplistic and reactionary, in contrast to Reusse & Mackey’s typically thoughtful back-and-forth. Really seems like two pretty different audiences for the two styles (whereas Paul Allen’s aw-schucks-good-vibes seems to roll right into the aw-schucks-goofballism of the Common Man. Not that I am a big PA/CM fan).

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