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Monday, January 02, 2006

Rush Moves to FM 100.3 in Twin Cities

Big changes are afoot in the airwaves of the Twin Cities. Former Smooth Jazz KJZI 100.3 FM is now KTLK – the Twin Cities' first FM talk station.

Clear Channel, who owns the rights to the Rush Limbaugh Show and the Sean Hannity Show, is moving both to KTLK 100.3 – which it also owns. Rush can now be heard live in the Twin Cities, from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM Central Time. Hannity's show will be moved in August when his current contract with AM1500 expires.

KSTP AM1500 was among the original stations that aired Rush when he went national in 1988. In a message to listeners via its web site (www.AM1500.com), program director Steve Konrad expressed disappointment with Clear Channel for moving Rush. Konrad also encouraged listeners to write Clear Channel with their complaints.

However, I have nothing but kudos to Clear Channel for this move. First, for all those who are able to listen while at work, the FM station is much easier to receive in most office buildings. Second, and more importantly, KSTP has not been a loyal Rush affiliate. A couple years ago they shifted Rush's show to a one-hour tape delay. By doing so, it removed any motivation for local listeners to call Rush. By the time one hears the topic to which one might wish to speak, it was already an hour old.

Further, the one-hour tape delay hurt Rush's local ratings. This is not unusual. Nationwide, tape delayed broadcasts don't fare as well as live broadcasts.

Similarly, Hannity's show is also tape delayed on AM1500 – which only airs two of its three hours.

Another bright note, on-the-hour news breaks will be provided by Fair and Balanced FOX News Radio. While on AM1500, the hourly breaks were provided by not-so-balanced ABC News. However, AM1500's local news breaks provided by KSTP TV News had been quite fair.

Unfortunately, the news and commentary provided by Paul Harvey will no longer be the lead-in to Rush. Harvey remains with AM1500.

The premier broadcast of Rush on KTLK 100.3 is a “Best Of”, but Rush will be live tomorrow, January 3.

Note: The web site for KTLK 100.3. www.kjzi.com, has yet to reflect the change in format.

UPDATE: KTLK FM 100.3 has a new web site at www.KTLKFM.com (HT Right Hook).

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