San Diego

Fallout From Radio Stunt Leads to Station Format Change

Padres new radio home becoming San Diego's only FM all-sports station

A misguided publicity stunt. A massive public backlash. A debut that never happened. Now a San Diego-based radio station that made national news for all the wrong reasons is undergoing big changes after the Padres held their feet to the proverbial fire.

In March, Entercom announced the launch of 97.3 The Machine. It branded itself as “Talk That Rocks” with what they hoped was edgier content as well as San Diego Padres baseball broadcasts. Part of that lineup was a new morning show called “Kevin Klein Live” but that program never saw the airwaves after it tried to promote itself through a social media campaign with the words “Jump … to a new morning show” written over the Coronado Bridge.

That post and the subsequent attempts at defending it prompted the Padres, led by Executive Chairman Ron Fowler, to take action and make sure they were not associated with that kind of product.

The franchise talked to Entercom (the broadcasting company that owns 97.3) and Klein’s program will never hit San Diego airwaves. Instead, The Machine is going to rebrand once again, this time calling itself 97.3 THE FAN and become a full sports-talk radio station.

"We have had numerous discussions over the last two weeks with Entercom's local and national management about our expectations for the radio home of the San Diego Padres," said Fowler in a statement. "They have assured us that the challenges we faced with 97.3 FM at the beginning of this season have been addressed and that steps have been taken to make sure they are not repeated."

The new weekday lineup will move “The Dan Sileo Show” to mornings (5:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.), followed by the return to San Diego of the Jim Rome Show from 9:00 a.m. - noon. Noon to 3:00 p.m. will feature a national show hosted by Doug Gottlieb and afternoon drive will be hosted by Chris Ello and Tony Gwynn Jr. from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

The new format will officially launch on Thursday, April 12. Padres game broadcasts will remain on the station for at least the remainder of the 2018 season.

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