January 1, 2012 will be a sad day for fans of local Sports coverage. Denver Sports Radio, 102.3 the Ticket will become an ESPN Radio affiliate. Gone are Vic and Gary and a slew of other favorites.
These have been tough, tough times for radio. It’s a media that’s suffering greatly, if not dying altogether. Sports programming, however, is still thriving relative to music programming largely because it’s a local medium. Folks want to tune in and hear their local teams discussed by local voices. That’s why “Lou from Littleton”, AKA Tom Manoogian and “Dealin'” Doug Moreland teamed up to build 102.3 The Ticket FM. Sadly, the venture has been losing money hand over fist and laying off talent regularly.
Among the more popular local programs is 102.3 The Ticket’s two hour morning show with Channel 4 Sports anchors, Vic Lombardi and Gary Miller. The Vic and Gary show draws exceptional guests thanks to the duo’s standing in the Denver market – chief among these is John Elway, who’s comments (particularly about Tim Tebow) on Monday morning broadcasts are often under a National microscope. Audio from the “John Elway Show” is shared with outlets from Coast to Coast and is disected throughout the week.
As of January 1, 2012, the Vic and Gary show will be gone, replaced with ESPN’s Mike and Mike in the morning. That horrible pile of garbage will be followed by Colin Cowherd which will be followed by even more East-Coast programming as the Ticket, which has been marketed as “Denver’s” Sports Station since inception, becomes the Denver market’s ESPN affiliate. Only the afternoon prgramming will survive. Nate Kreckman and Charles “CJ” Johnson will be retained along with Les Shapiro and part-time program director / part time host “JoJo”.
We’re left to wonder how the move will affect other Ticket regulars like our favorite, Cecil Lammey, the station’s NFL insider and resident Fantasy Football guru.
The other local Sports outlets, Mile High Sports Radio and 104.3 The Fan will pick up the slack for the Ticket. Mile High Sports will remain entirely local and retains the broadcasting rights to Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche games. The Fan, which had been carrying Mike and Mike in the morning will presumably bring back the pairing of Sandy Clough and Mike Evans in the morning and possibly add other local favorites in the interest of grabbing their piece of the Ticket’s fallout.
There will be no shortage of local Sports Radio programming for fans to choose from moving forward. Still, it’s sad to see the Ticket sell out.