Seahawks Insider

KIRO going to all-sports radio

Post by News Tribune Staff on Nov. 13, 2008 at 4:39 pm with 43 Comments »
November 13, 2008 4:39 pm

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.”

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.”

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Leave a comment Comments → 43
  1. Willmore says:

    Groz probably has a new job. And as for the rest, I would guess that there would be a lot of filler national ESPN radio coverage.

  2. jayjaydean says:

    particularly Mitch’s morning show, which tends to focus on women.

    I don’t know – I think that’s an overstated part of Mitch’s show, except at Bigger Dance time. Then again, I don’t get to listen to his entire 6-10 show, every day. I think Mitch is fantastic – his Neuheisel interview was superb.

    Also, I’ll be shocked if D-Locke doesn’t end up at KIRO.

  3. Frank maybe you should inform yourself before you make obsurd statements like “Mitch’s morning show, which tends to focus on women.” That’s just irresponsible journalism right there.

  4. tribfan1 says:

    Seattle sports radio has sucked for a long long time. I’m glad I don’t have to listen to it. Perhaps KIRO will make a positive impact. If the city had better sports media the Sonics may still be here.

  5. Not exactly the best time to launch a sports station in Seattle. Every team is down or in the case of the Sonics, has left.

  6. firejimmoradotcom says:

    Mitch is ‘focused on women’ kinda like Gallagher being focused on a watermelon.

  7. Does this mean that 97.3 FM will also be all sports?

    I seriously hope that David Locke and NY Vinnie ARE the mainstays of their programming so that I don’t feel at all conflicted about continuing to listen to KJR. Maybe they’ll get the Fabulous Sports Babe back, too.

  8. Leroyhill says:

    DDP1983: irresponsible journalism? Are you Mitch’s wife? If not, have you listened to the Bigger Dance crap that they have on there. Have you heard about the Sue Bird incident?
    There is no doubt that he is a superb interviewer. The Best in the biz I think. But some of the stuff that KJR puts on his show are considered by many to be distasteful and disrespectful. A sports station needs to talk about sports.

    However, he is not the problem at KJR. Softy, Gas, and Groz are intoxicating. When their lips move, nothing but a bunch of garbage comes out. By far Softy is the worse of them all. Unless when he is with guests like Clayton and Millen, it is all hogwash. Most of his audience probably are your friends, DDP1983. They have, at best, a 2nd grade education.

  9. I am sorry, you can whine all you want about Mitch but the ratings say he is very popular. Everyone whines about the “bigger Dance” but you know what. 65,000 entries last year – whatever!

    I think they are all fine. Softy can be whiney – Groz hardly ever works – I wish I had his schedule!! Elise at night is developing a great show that is fun to listen too!

    Bring in competition – it will give even more attention to our teams. and give everyone options. listen to the national stuff or the local stuff- the choice is yours!

  10. LeroyHill: First of all whats with that name? Your not him, get over it, move on buddy.

    Second of all, yeah I listen to Mitch just about everyday while I’m at work. Yes I know about the bigger dance and Sue Bird, big freaking deal. Does the mention of women scare you or make you nervous? Just beecause you mention women on your show periodically does not make that the “focus of your show” as Frank Hughes reported. If that were the case you mentioned 2nd graders in your reply so your post most be focused on grade schoolers, right? You do realize these guys are entertainers correct? They are not there to read the freakin sports page to your boring a$$? If all I wanted was stats spouted off to me I can look up the boxscore’s. You see us 2nd graders know how to read the newspaper.

  11. sfarrand says:


    Before I shifted my schedule up an hour, I tended to switch between KRKO and KJR in the morning… some mornings I really detested the junk on the KJR show… some of it was over the top and effectively abusive towards the female traffic person…

    It’ll be interesting to see what KIRO does… possibly they’re working towards getting away from the doom and gloom of the current afternoon show.

  12. Leroyhill says:

    Who says that they have to read the box-score to me? I know it is hard, but try to stretch your brains a little bit. You are so biased. You must be married to him. It’s hard for me to conclude otherwise because the guy spends more than 1 hour of his show every day for more than a month talking about women, and you classify that as “periodically”.

    First of all, sports in themselves is a form of entertainment. A sports host can be entertaining just by talking about sports. ESPN doesn’t talk about women in similar light but, yet, people are glued to them 24 hours a day. I have moved around a bit, and exposed to different sports stations in Los Angeles, Chicago, St. Louis, and New York. All they talk about is sports. They talked about the home teams, and other teams around the league. It is all about sports and yet it is fun.

    Howard Stern talks about women in every show all year long, and nobody complains about it. Why? It is because it appropriate content for that type of show. If it is a sports station, then talk about sports. As you can see in this blog, there are a lot of people who share my sentiments. If you want women stuff, good for you. I am not criticizing you for listening to the Bigger Dance. I already had enough of that stuff in HS and college. I don’t have to fantasize about that stuff. It is boring to me.

    My point is that Frank wasn’t wrong in characterizing Mitch’s show. If Mitch doesn’t spend a huge part of his show talking about women, then you can criticize Frank for misreporting. It is so embarrassing for people like you who use big words like “irresponsible journalism” when you are don’t even have a clue what it means. Let me explain to you. A responsible journalist is someone who reports the facts, whether they are good or bad. Frank did just that in this case. An irresponsible journalist is someone who is biased and only tells you what he wants you to know, or what you like to hear. He is so biased that he is blinded to the facts. Although you are not a reporter, you happen to fall in that category of people who move through this world with blinders on.

  13. Yeah your right, ESPN doesn’t focus on women at all. I’ve never listened to Mike and Mike in the morning and heard them speak of a woman. Mike and Mike are the most succesful sports radio hosts and they spend maybe, 70% talking about actual sports. The other time is spent “Entertaining”. Erin Andrews and Rachel Nichols were hired because their great knowledge of sports I’m sure. Listen buddy your the one going thru your life with blinders on, if you haven’t realized it by now maybe here is your chance, sex sales. If Mitch is smart enough to capitalize on this fact all the power to him.

    To further support my point if you go read the article it has been edited to say “Sometimes focuses on women.” So thank you Frank, I think you are correct Mitch’s show does “sometimes” focus on women. LeroyHill put that in your pipe and smoke it buddy.


  15. jasoninalaska says:

    Man I always wanted a job in sports radio. I grew up listening to KJR as it grew in the 1990’s. I’ve lived in other places where the content just stunk. Being in Juneau we just get the fox feed on weekends which is actually pretty good. I wish there was a way Kiro or KJR would partner up with a station up here and transmit their feed. Anyway, everyone needs to layoff of KJR. They are a Seattle institution and you haters just don’t realize how good you have it. At least this station gets local athletes and interviews.

  16. Leroyhill says:

    There is a difference between talking about a woman here and there, and spending about more than 1 hour every day talking about JUST women. On a daily basis, he doesn’t talk about sports 100% of time either. But I don’t have a problem with that. Stuff like the Bigger Dance is a bigger story. I didn’t say anything about him not being successful. Frank didn’t say that. He is very successful. I enjoy his interviews, especially with Mike Holmgren, tremendously. Didn’t I say that?

    If you accuse somebody of being an “irresponsible journalist”, you have to explain why. To do that, you must prove that focusing on women is not part of the show that Mitch does. You can’t because it is a fact. that Bigger Dance happens.

    The point of that report was to explain that there are pockets of audiences out there who are smart enough to not allow themselves to be exploited by those low-class sex gimmics. For these people, KIRO offers an alternative for them.

    Let me explain to you why Frank is a responsible journalist on three accounts. His
    reporting of KIRO switching to a sports station is accurate. He didn’t make up that story. He reported that women is big focus of Mitch’s show, i.e is Bigger dance. This is true as well. Frank indirectly suggests that there are people who are not happy with KJR when they do the Bigger Dance and stuff like that. I am one of them. His report was correct on all accounts.

    Alhtough he might have left out a word or there, the main points of the report were accurate. As a FREE reader of this blog, you should cut the guy some slack.
    There’s a lot of deadlines that a reporter has to follow. Watch practice, interview people, work their sources, write the stories for the next day, and, on top of that, blog the news stories as fast as they break. They work long hours. There is a lot of work and so sometimes a small typo here and there is expected. So put your brains to work a little bit, and try to capture the main points. After all, we didn’t have to pay a cent to enjoy someone’s fruit of labor.

    You sound like you are knowledgeable about the media. You claim to read the newspaper. Then you should know about the struggles that the print media is facing. Reporters are in a tough situation. Think twice before you slam these hardworking people like them with incredibly offensive words like “irresponsible reporter”. I’m not a reporter. I don’t even personally know a journalist.

  17. sfarrand says:

    Not everyone’s going to like every show.

    I personally like Mike and Mike over Mitch Levy and Steve Sandmeyer… both shows have segments I careless for…

  18. Alright LeroyHill this is my last point on this matter. I appreciate all the work Frank has done, and think he does a good job, you are correct he puts a lot hard work into his work.

    I quoted a small portion of a large article that I felt was irresponsible journalism. Someone who had never listened to Mitch’s morning show after reading that article would think the main focus of Mitch’s show was “focused on women”. Which could mean he talks about women’s health, women’s relationships, etc. who knows? I thought this was irresponsible. I pointed it out, no big deal.

    Apparently Frank felt he portrayed the WRONG picture of Mitch’s show as well and fixed it. Which was the right thing to do.

    One or two words here or there can mean a lot, just ask Don Imus. While this isn’t nearly the same degree it was inaccurate and portrayed a bad picture.

    Anyways back to topic, I think its good for Seattle to have another choice for their sports radio. I was listening to Ian today and he was saying that he had never worked in a market that only had one local sports radio show, and he’s worked in Portalnd and Salt Lake City which are both much smaller markets. More competition will produce a better product on both ends, so welcome 710 ESPN!

  19. Leroyhill says:

    But the people who listen to Mitch’s shows understand what Frank’s point was. Sure, I can see that people who don’t listen to the show might misunderstand it.
    But the typo was an omission of the word “sometimes”. I don’t think you were wrong to correct him. People make mistakes. But don’t hang the guy by labeling him as an “irresponsible journalism”. It is equivalent to calling a fullback’s blocking style as finesse. He is responsible enough to fix his mistakes upon suggestion. and that deserves respect. I don’t think you really comprehend how mean-spirited your comments are.

    I hope you feel bad about what you said to him. If you truly appreciate what he does, you should apologize to him. Stop using words irresponsibly.

  20. I’d like to interject that if you’re going to make a point, please refrain from A) personal attacks and B) make grand sweeping generalizations that simply are not even remotely true.

    Mitch doesn’t “focus on women”. If you want to use the bigger dance as an example, that’s one hour, for a couple weeks, maybe 20 hours MAX for an entire year of broadcasts. The only thing about the bigger dance is that it’s not really sports related, other than glomming onto the NCAA tournament.

    Big deal.

    Most hosts take breaks from sports – Groz and Gas has charity drives, voice mails, in the news, and other topics that either have nothing to do with sports, or are related only marginally. Just one example. Mitch’s show is in the prime drive time slot, the time slot that is generally the showcase slot for radio. Music stations don’t even usually play music during that time period, it’s generally talk radio (see Bob Rivers & Company on KZOK as an example). That time slot is to entertain commuters. If entertaining means dipping into the male chauvanistic pool once in a while, big deal. It’s the highest radio show on KJR so it must be working.

    I agree, Mitch does spend a bit more time than other hosts discussing subjects other than sports, but all radio stations do similar things with their morning commute time slots. They have to, it’s called getting ratings.

    As far as KIRO, good for them, competition is a healthy thing. Just don’t expect David Locke to come back, he’s got a great gig in Utah – and since the Sonics left town there’s little reason for David to come back as he was predominately a basketball guy. I do think the Groz should jump ship, ever since his hours were cut he’s been screwed over by the station, unjustifiably in my opinion. The gas man spends WAAAYYY too much time being a suck up to the players and management of the local teams. Softy is too much of a homer and Ian is a friggin coug.

  21. luckman15 says:

    GAS & GROZ are the worst. It’s hilarious they dumped David Locke. He was one of the only ones (besides Mitch) that had anything intelligent to present to listeners. Locke had stats and good knowledge. Gas and Groz just mumble on. Especially Groz. Goes on about nothing, saying the same thing over and over in different ways.

  22. SPAN1AWAY says:

    I think what he means about Mitch focusing on women is the fact that there are alot of women who are die-hard sports fans and who might find some of his chatter non-sense about women to be stupid and immature. Sometimes when I listen to the bantor between him & his side-kick I want to reach through the radio and choke them. Also, thank God I’ll have another choice 710 offers quality and not HUGH MILLEN! I can’t stand listening to this guy who sputters on and on! It’s hard to understand a single thing or point he’s trying to make!

  23. This is tremendous news. Not having to listen to Softy,Groz and Gas Priceless.

  24. ProblemSolved says:

    Too bad this didn’t happen last year, before I switched to XM. I had to get away from that Softy crapola – just a terrible radio guy.

    Someone on here said that they hoped Locke and NY Vinnie would anchor the new station, with hopes of bringing the Sports Pig back – renew my XM subscription for another year, please. Maybe they can also have a three hour segment where they just run nails down chalkboards?

    NY Vinnie was horrid! Hey, here’s an idea, how about three hours of old-timey baseball music? Yeah, great idea, Vinster. He’s even worse now that we’ve had to see him on TV. C’mon, man, stay off the tube, just too many things about you that scream “MADE FOR RADIO!!!”

    Mitch? Eh. Who cares? He’s like the little nephew trying to get your attention at a family gathering. All his controversial crap is tame and he at least gets out of the way of people that actually know sports. He’s a personality that could probably do the same level of work on any station format.

  25. Tbaier, I believe 97.3 is exclusively a new/talk radio whereas 710 KIRO is going to be a sports/ESPN radio.

    Honestly, KJR has been monopolizing the market in Sports radio, when it comes to sports talk. Now listeners have a local and a national view of sports. So, it is a great idea to have this kind of competition.

    The bigger dance is always fun, if you’re a man, you have to love it.

  26. CowboysP says:

    ProblemSolved, You have an interesting post. I agree with most of it. But I have a question.

    Why is is that Mitch, the one who is a “personality” and more of an entertainer than a real sports guy (I don’t disagree with you) normally is the MOST accurate with his assessments and predictions.

    For example, Mitch was the only one on KJR who thought that the Sonics would likely be able to move to OKC quickly. He was also the only one that thought that the Seahawks were closer to average than a Super Bowl team.

    Why is this?

  27. QB_Sneak says:

    I agree with Gandalf. Sports radio can be more than just stats and sports. What about the broader spectrum of sports as a cultural phenomenon? One of the smartest and most intellectual columnists at ESPN – Gregg Easterbrook – devotes at least a paragraph every week to cheerleaders. And speaking of cheerleaders, are they not part of the sports scene? Are they not women? Are they not appealing to the male audience?

    Get off the high horses. Competition is great. For those of us with XM radio, I’ve already had ESPN radio and KJR to listen to. When Mitch is boring me, I jump over and listen to Colin. And vice versa.

    Big deal.

  28. QB_Sneak says:

    CowboysP – I’ve been listening to Mitch pretty much every morning for about 6 years. At times, I have found him distasteful, other times I found him hillarious.

    But I will praise him on 2 things:

    1) He is a great interviewer. One of the best. He’s extremely professional. In all these years of doing the Daily Schnoz, I’ve never heard him speak ill of a guest, even when many of them where morons.

    2) He defers to people that know more about sports than he does.

    I think #2 is why he’s been very accurate with his predictions over the years. He listens to people when they talk, and he can analyze what they are saying and use it later on.

    Very few of the blowhards on ESPN do this. Colin Cowherd is maybe the most arrogant man on radio. Mike and Mike are buffoons. Many of the rest are former athletes who talk out of their backsides.

  29. ProblemSolved says:

    I was going to say what QB_Sneak said. He spends most of his time interviewing people and just goes with the experts. If he were in country radio, he’d be a lock to know who’d win the CMA’s.

    Could you imagine Softy doing Top 40 radio? He would get into a three day bend about how 50-Cent sucked and how great Justin Timberlake was. Mitch would just interview both, interview others, and go with the consensus. (Man, Softy would take it so far that 50-Cent would do a drive by on him, or whatever it is these kids are doing nowadays.)

    If Mitch were on XM, I’d probably listen every once in a while.

  30. CowboysP says:

    QB Sneak and ProblemSolved,

    I agree with you. Mitch tends to defer to the experts, or at least follow them.

    If you remember the Sonics/City of Seattle trial, Mitch had ESPN Legal Analyst Roger Cossack on more than once. Cossack was saying that their was little chance that the City could make the Sonics stay in Seattle, if they really wanted to leave.

    Mitch pretty much repeated what Cossack said, and it turned out to be correct. At the same time, Mitch avoided the trips to City Hall, screaming on sidewalks, Mayor bashing, or other cheerleading efforts.

  31. OutSydeDog says:

    I can’t believe that there are 30 posts to this story. Who’s cares?

    Let’s talk about kickin’ some Cardinel butt on Sunday!


  32. OutSydeDog says:

    Cardinel? oops :)

  33. mkelly534 says:

    Can’t believe that people are complaining about KJR. You shouldd try living in vegas. The local sports radio is toxic. I listen to KJR on the internet just to remind myself what good sports radio sounds like.

    Also I agree that Groz should grab a job with KIRO after being dissed by KJR.

  34. Frank – if you had half the knowledge of Mitch on football, and a 1/4 of the work ethic this blog would be enjoyable to read. As is, it is essentially a regurgitation of others research and contacts as its obvious this is way over your head. Thanks for filling in and keeping this running but, like the Seahawks after this year, its time for some changes. Good luck in your next endeavor! (P.s. stick to NBA)

  35. jasong96 says:


    I don’t want to get too far off the subject, but I don’t remember Cossack saying that at all about the Sonics. I recall him saying that the City of Seattle had a good case against the team’s applying for relocation to OKC.

    Now if I’m wrong, and Cossack actually said what you claim, then my apologies. (There were other legal analysts who said the City would win the trial, or afterwards, would HAVE won the trial, so perhaps I’m thinking of someone other than Cossack.)

    Regardless, I disagree with you in a couple of respects: First, I don’t think we can conclude that Cossack was correct in his prediction. I don’t think we can conclude that he was necessarily wrong either, but let’s not give him credit for a result (i.e. the Sonics departure) that had less to due with legal issues than it it did with the City of Seattle and its stupid decision to sell out its fans and 41 years of history. The City caved, Bennett got to move, and the fans got screwed. That doesn’t mean the Sonics had a case. I think David Stern and the NBA threatened the City of Seattle behind closed doors, and the City lost its backbone.

    Second, let’s not give Mitch too much credit either. While he may not have been as vocal as Softy (which, I commend Softy for at least trying to do something productive and positive), Mitch certainly didn’t just “defer to the experts” and raise the white flag. I don’t recall ever hearing Mitch say something to the effect of: “Well, Cossack says the Sonics are gonna win, so let’s all just all throw in the towel and say good-bye to the Sonics.”

    Anyway, no offense to you or anyone else, but I refuse to believe that the Sonics departure happened because Bennett was within his legal right to relocate the team. It happened because our politicians failed to fight for the Sonics fans.

  36. CowboysP says:

    Jasong96 – A little more detail. What Cossack said was that the City of Seattle would likely not be able to stop the Sonics from moving. The judge was likely NOT going to make them stay in Seattle. There was no precedence for doing this. But Cossack went on to say that the city of Seattle was within it rights to attain financial damages for the Sonics broken lease, and they likely would have won financial damages.

    Mitch also never came out and said “let them go”. But what he did say was “I have a bad feeling about this”. Obviously, Mitch was far more objective about the City of Seattle’s case.

  37. Leroyhill says:

    Luckman: I couldn’t have agreed with you more about Locke. Same with you ProblemSolved and others. I thought people like me were extinct.

  38. CowboysP says:

    When thinking of possible Sports figures to be on the KIRO format, you really need to think outside the current circle. For example, maybe Mike Sando will be a regular on KIRO. Matt Mosley (NFC East Blog – ESPN)is on the radio in Dallas 5 days a week.

  39. seatac577 says:

    Glad to hear KIRO is going all sports. Competition is great. Mitch would be a great steal if KIRO can pull it off. Mitch is a great interviewer, always prepared. Naturally, he would have to clean up his act if he moved to KIRO. For the right money, I am sure that would not be a problem. John Clayton would be huge. Gas is OK, Just leave the other KJR clowns behind. No more Groz, Softy, Milen or Sandmeyer, wouldn’t that be great?

  40. 1. I think Mitch is a joke & should have been fired a long time ago. His show should be called “Beavis & Butthead In The Morning”.

    2. I don’t know if it’s at all true, but Ian Furness said that KIRO is going to be mostly ESPN with very little local coverage.

  41. I agree that Lcke is the most knowledgeable sports radio host this town has ever seen. I’ve always been curious just what happened between him & KJR when he left for the Sonics. It’s not like Locke to be quiet about anything!

    As far as current KJR hosts, Clayton is the best by a long shot. I also like Groz & Furness. The others are a joke. I emailed Rich Moore (I think I got that right??) when Locke left asking if they would give the spot to Frank. Obviously, they didn’t.

  42. nononanette says:

    I enjoy almost all sports, I do not want to hear about women’s breast, buns or sexual habits or Tracy’s private sex life. That’s what a sex life should be private. KJR has not been Seattle’s All Sports Show since I have been listening for many years. I enjoy Mitch’s show when Mitch is gone and I thought the Fish carried him with him knowledge of sports, now others carry him. I will give him the interviewer accolades he deserves. I do wonder what his mother and wife think of his sexual fantasies and inappropriate comments. Groz and Gas are the best. Softy is too judgmental and can he whine!! I look forward to KIRO Sports Radio where I willl have a choice.

  43. I am a huge sports radio freak and I can’t get enough of KJR but I refuse to listen to 950 before 10 o’clock. Mitch has ruined this slot. I truly beleive that Mitch’s ratings will take a huge hit when Kiro ESPN begins. The last time I could actually stand that show was when the Fish was on it. I think he should go to Miami like he said he would do. I was so happy when he said he was leaving. This guy may have good ratings but I think it is the station and the guests . thanks, SOFTY

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