Wally Hall to Leave KABZ for KARN Show

ArkansasBusiness.com has learned that Wally Hall, sports editor at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, will be leaving his post on the KABZ-FM, 103.7, morning show, hosted by Tommy Smith and David Bazzel.

A source close the situation who did not want to be named said Hall will leave KABZ's “The Show with No Name” and join “Sports Rap,” an all-sports talk show airing weekdays from 5-8 p.m. on the Arkansas Radio Network (ARN). He will appear on the show two hours per day starting Monday. A source familiar with Hall's KABZ contract said the sports writer did not have a no-compete clause there, allowing him to begin immediately at KARN.

Justin Acri, program director at KABZ, confirmed Hall's departure. His last show was Wednesday.

“We enjoyed having Wally on board and we wish him nothing but the best in the future,” Acri said. “From what I understand, his contract was up and he was looking to pursue other opportunities.”

Hall could not be reached for comment before deadline.

“Sports Rap,” which airs from 6-8 p.m. on KARN, 920 AM/102.9 FM in Little Rock, is now hosted by Shawn Arnell and Jim Harris, editor of Arkansas Business Publishing Group's new sports Web site, ArkansasSports360.

"Sports Rap" was formerly hosted by Chuck Barrett, who left his KARN deal earlier this year to helm his own version of the show. But he abandoned those plans when the University of Arkansas selected him to be the on-air play-by-play announcer for Razorbacks football.

Acri said the KABZ will soon see more changes in the mornings, although nothing was solidified yet. He would not comment on what Hall’s “other opportunities” were.

“We’ll be immediately determining what those changes will look like from a future content standpoint, but there’s nothing to announce just yet,” Acri said.

Acri added that Hall recently spoke with station owner Phillip Jonsson about the reasons he was leaving the show, but Acri did not know the exact circumstances.

“Sports Rap,” heard on several ARN affiliates statewide, is more sports-focused than KABZ's “Show with No Name,” which often veers into other topics. Otherwise, KABZ, marketed as "The Buzz," has an all-sports line-up, including the nationally syndicated Jim Rome show and another local sports show hosted by Acri, called "The Zone."

Regular guests on “Sports Rap” include Nate Allen, a 33-year veteran Razorbacks reporter based in Fayetteville, and recruiting reporter Richard Davenport, who recently signed on with the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Arnell most recently hosted the Memphis-based “Conference Call,” heard in 75 markets, focusing on Southeastern Conference sports.

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