Crain Media Launches New Sports Station

by Luke Jones  on Monday, Jun. 2, 2014 12:00 am  

Crain Media Team of Sherwood has launched a new sports-centric station for its Searcy market.

KRZS-AM, 1300, “The Champion,” began broadcasting in mid-May, according to Mike Horne, Crain’s general manager.

The company owns two stations in Searcy, KWCK-FM, 99.9, a country station, and KSMD-FM, 99.1, a news talk station. Horne said both of these stations had simulcast some sports content in the past.

“We decided we wanted to have more of a sports outlook,” Horne said.

Horne said that Crain had purchased an FM translator that is broadcasting The Champion’s content on frequency 106.5.

That sports programing is also being broadcast from one of the company’s AM stations, KAWW-AM, 1370, in Heber Springs, Horne said. He said that The Champion will also carry some programming from KKSP-FM, 93.3, The Source, one of Crain’s Little Rock sports stations.

The weekday program lineup will include “The Morning Rush” from 6 to 9 a.m. with former Arkansas Razorbacks quarterback Clint Stoerner, as well as Derek Ruscin and Tommy Craft. From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. will be “Game On” with Wess Moore, KLRT-TV, Channel 16’s sports director, and Michael Smith, another former Razorback. “Sports Talk,” Bo Mattingly’s popular show, will air from 2 to 7 p.m.

Horne said the company hired Philip Seaton as a sports director to air hourly local sports segments.

Because the FM portion of KRZS is broadcast at 250 watts, it doesn’t reach far enough to compete with the sports networks in Little Rock, Horne said. The 5,000-watt AM station will, but “we didn’t put it in to try to compete with Little Rock,” he said.

The station is intended to give Crain “one more outlet for local sports,” Horne said. “We cover several high schools: all of Searcy High School football and basketball, all of Heber Springs’ football and basketball and an awful lot of small schools scattered around like Beebe and McCrory. … It’s part of our service to the community.”

He said the company also plans to originate a scoreboard service in Searcy for all of the company’s stations.

“On Friday nights during football games, we’ll allow people to tune in — from Conway, Searcy, Batesville, Little Rock — and get all up-to-date football scores,” he said.



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