Six weeks after news talk radio station WTDY abruptly went off the air, the station has re-branded itself and is up and running in a new sports talk format.

Mid-West Family Broadcast Group launched WOZN "The Zone" on 1670 AM and 106.7 FM on Wednesday as CBS Sports Radio introduced its national talk show lineup nationwide the same day.

With numerous national radio personalities like Ed Schultz departing for other radio companies, it was becoming difficult for WTDY to be successful as a news talk station, said Randy Hawke, operations manager for WOZN and three other Madison stations.

"CBS Sports became available. It's a brand new product. When we found out about it, we had to evaluate whether we wanted to be the CBS affiliate for Madison," Hawke said.

WTDY went off the air in November, leaving eight employees jobless, including longtime Madison radio personality John "Sly" Sylvester.

Hawke said by the time WOZN is fully running, there will be just as many local employees at the new station.

Under the new format WOZN will air local talk programming from 5 to 8 a.m., including the "Farm Report with Pam Jahnke" and "Kidd Snuff and the Benchwarmers." From 8 a.m. on, WOZN will broadcast nationally syndicated sports talk shows featuring John Feinstein, Jim Rome, Doug Gottlieb and others.

WOZN is looking at additional local programming related to college football, but with the season nearly over, Hawke said that programming will have to wait. "Some of it is timing," he said.

After playing holiday music for more than a month, the former WTDY station aired two songs on repeat for more than five days leading up to WOZN's launch. Those songs — "Welcome to the Jungle" by Guns N' Roses and "Wherever I May Roam" by Metallica — were meant to build up excitement for the return of Jim Rome's show, known by fans as "The Jungle," Hawke added.

WOZN becomes Madison's third sports talk station, joining the Clear Channel-operated station The Big 1070 on 1070 AM and ESPN Radio, operated by Beaver Dam's Good Karma Broadcasting on 100.5 FM.

ESPN Radio started in Madison on 1070 AM in 1998, but switched to 100.5 FM in 2009, said Tim Scott, program director for The Big 1070.

Scott said the expansion of sports talk radio has been a win-win for sports fans in the region, but said it remained to be seen whether the market could accommodate all three.

"(Madison) is one of the richest sports markets in the Midwest and certainly in Wisconsin. Only time will tell whether it's big enough for three," he said.

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(18) comments

wendonor

"Kid Snuff" is great. Perhaps after almost 2 years "Badger93" has listened and has changed his opinion. I listen to many radio stations and syndocates. Kid Snuff is well on his way. He is whitty and knows his stuff. It is real easy to rip on someone when they (Badger93) is hiding behind a fake name and on line-pathetic. Keep it up- literally and figuratively! You are great! LOL, the donor as well as a true Badger.

Steve_R

Oh, Wow! Another sports talk radio station! Those ratings are just gonna soar!
DaveJ: The FCC no longer cares if a radio station service the public interest, or even the community to which it is licensed. The problem really began when the FCC, in its infinite wisdom, decided that big media groups could own 6-8 stations in a given market. Used to be an entity could have one AM and one FM in a given market. The groups now greedily hang on to those frequencies whether or not they have anything interesting/useful/beneficial to broadcast. It stifles real competition and it's simply a lot cheaper to simply pick up a satellite delivered format. Don't need "live" announcers, etc. You can practically run these things out of a closet. It's a damned shame.

Permanent Tailgater

Randy Hawke, <<<<<<<< is NOT smarter than a fifth grader!

Permanent Tailgater

Mid-West Family Broadcasting is a joke. They think they can con us into believing this was a ratings driven decision. Madison needs more sports talk radio like it needs more Chicago panhandlers on State Street. The GM from St. Louis Rick McCoy is a joke. He has zero clue or knowledge about what Sly brought to this city and to Madison radio. Love Sly or hate Sly he was the most knowledgeable, divisive, call anyone out including his own party or friends at anytime. You may not have liked his style but there was an honesty in him that no other radio host really has. He said things you thought of saying but were afraid of. This move is clearly a "political silencing of the truth" nothing more. Sly, Dylan, Captain, Shawn, Crystal, Amy, Lyndsay and even Deanna good luck.

badgers93

Sorry but "Kid Snuff" is garbage. I've heard him doing sports updates on JJO for years, and he tries way too hard to sound like a professional radio guy. His "shtick" is annoying as hell. No way he competes with Lucas and Lepay on 1070. I like local programming best - I'm a sports fan, but I still like to hear about the Packers, Badgers, Brewers and Bucks the most so I'll be waiting to see if they can add another local show to draw my interest. Until the do I'll still be tuned in to the Big1070.

Mr LaMarr

Hawkes a right wing nut . He prolly got diaper rash every time he had to speak with Sly.

REALTHUG

They will wither and die without Sly!

bpro

A Big Improvement over Sly!!

River

Nothing beats ESPN radio.

TopOfCenter
TopOfCenter

Maybe the station should have switched to Air America Radio instead.

Jazztrax

Nothing but garbage.

Morons making decisions, they didn't know what they had or how to market it. They were on the cusp of something great, but were to simple-minded to realize it.

Ballblaster

I agree Jazztraz......Market their model of Progressive Radio - with all the liberals in Madison especially. Another Sports Radio is kinda silly.

mrworldwide

Maybe we'll finally be able to hear playoff baseball on the radio. All October, rather than play live sports, 100.5 was broadcasting reruns of Badger recap shows from the previous weekend, even though ESPN Radio national was airing the games.

Reply
Reply

What better to do with a 200-watt, 11 speaker, top-of-the-line car audio system than listen to more talk radio?

Scala

Another sports talk show! OMG, spare me. I'm glad I have internet radio.

Monitor

This is what happens when we taxpayers give out corporate welfare and huge tax breaks to the multimillionaires. They take the money and buy up local media outlets which exposes them for whom they are. It is their way of silencing the corruption.

Word

idiots

DaveJ

I hope they lose their shirts and more. More tripe on am commercial radio. How can this possibly be in the public interest, the supposed FCC criterion for a license?

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