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SAVAGE RETURNS TO TUCSON MARKET

Syndicated political talker Michael Savage has been picked up by KVOI AM 1030, and began a two-hour weeknight broadcast stint from 7 to 9 p.m. this week.

Savage has unintentionally been a part of one of the more curious recent syndicated loopholes in Tucson talk radio. A few years ago, Tucson's Clear Channel ownership let the Savage contract lapse, and format newcomer KQTH FM 104.1 took advantage of the oversight. However, KNST AM 790/FM 97.1 tried an 11th hour maneuver to keep the then popular show.

As a compromise, KQTH aired the program in afternoon drive. KNST then aired the show later in the evening. Eventually, KNST let the Savage deal lapse, and just last year, KQTH pulled the show from the afternoon drive slot and transitioned local talk show host James T. Harris into that void.

KVOI has often billed itself under a moniker of intelligent talk. From a personal listening standpoint, I enjoy its lineup as something of a toned down alternative to the familiar rhetoric doled out by syndicated heavyweights Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.

But I've had a healthy disdain for Savage pretty much since he debuted in the market nearly 15 years ago. In a world of bombastic, egomaniacal absurdity, Savage is at the top of the game. From a quality of production standpoint, the show is an amateurish disaster. If KNST and KQTH haven't pushed very hard to keep him, perhaps his act has finally run thin.

KQTH is in the midst of some syndicated lineup tweaks as well, and has yet to solidify its direction with November's departure of Laura Ingraham and the impending retirement of Neal Boortz. Rusty Humphries is getting access to those vacated time slots.


FOX SPORTS OUT, CBS SPORTS IN AT 1290

KCUB AM 1290, the Cumulus owned station that acts as the flagship for the UA's radio broadcasts, has changed affiliates. KCUB began broadcasting a syndicated lineup from CBS Sports Jan. 2.

To listeners, much of the lineup will remain the same, especially lynchpin programs Dan Patrick and Jim Rome. Rome signed a radio agreement with CBS that started first of the year.

"We made the decision to change based on a number of different things," said 1290 Program Director Rob Lantz. "First, we get to keep the Jim Rome Show. He's the biggest name in sports talk radio. We were also given the option of keeping the Dan Patrick show, which, in my opinion, is the best show going in the format."

The most noteworthy day-time change takes place in the early afternoon. Doug Gottlieb replaces The Loose Cannons. In the House, which Lantz hosts alongside Kevin Woodman, remains in its 3 to 6 drive-time slot. Scott Ferrall will air from 8 to midnight.

"Gottlieb is a West-coast guy that has a great understanding of college basketball. I think that plays well in this town," Lantz said. "Ferrall is an old pro in the format. He has a unique sound and quite the cult following."

Cumulus-owned sports formats in larger markets switched to CBS from their prior affiliations with ESPN. KCUB made its decision without corporate influence.

KCUB employs me for UA football and men's basketball pre and postgame broadcasts.

More by John Schuster

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