In April of 2019 the Mighty 1090, one of the most popular sports talk radio stations in Southern California, suddenly went off the air when station management couldn't come to an agreement with the owners of the 50,000-watt, Mexico-based broadcast tower that distributed its signal.
18 months later the station is back.
The "Mightier 1090" returns on Monday, August 17, with a brand new lineup. So how did this resurrection happen?
"At the Super Bowl this year I met a guy who said, hey, I'm going to put 1090 back on the air. I know these folks who own the transmitter. I've done business with them before and I'm going to do it," said longtime station host Scott Kaplan. "And to my surprise, he's doing it."
That man is Bill Hagen, owner of Out The Window Advertising. He helped secure a new lease of the transmitter. The main difference this time around is there won't be anyone at the studio. Content will come from SportsGrid Radio Network, which basically built a radio station in a cloud, something that's been handy during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We've all learned how to work from home now, broadcasters in-particular. So (Hagen) was like, what if nobody's in a studio? What if there were no offices with sales guys hanging out? What if everything was done remotely? That's what has been built here," says Kaplan.
Of course, Scott Kaplan will be back on the air with the 3:00 pm - 7:00 pm time slot he manned for many years with Billy Ray Smith on the popular "Scott and B.R. Show." This time around Smith will not be a co-host.
"Billy Ray and I had the greatest 17 years together. We really did," says Kaplan. "We've put our run to bed, so to speak. Billy Ray, I hope, will be a regular contributor and a regular guest but we're moving on with Kaplan and Crew, which is really what I've built over the last 18 months when we went from radio to podcasting."
"Kaplan & Crew" features 1090 veterans Alex Padilla and John Browner and will be the only San Diego-centric program on the station when the Mightier 1090 launches.
"These are the guys who built what we're about to put on the air," says Kaplan.
Batting leadoff for the Mightier 1090 will be "The Rich Eisen Show," hosted by NFL Network host Rich Eisen. His program will also be seen on NBC's free Peacock streaming app starting on Monday the 17th.
"He's going to have on every NFL Network personality, he's going to have on tons of Hollywood celebrity types and a lot of people connected to NBC so Eisen is going to be great in the morning," says Kaplan.
In recent years (and months as many people have switched to working from home) folks have changed the way they ingest media. Kaplan says the new show will borrow from another successful platform.
"We're going to go long format. This will sound more like a podcast that's being broadcast on radio, rather than broadcasting your radio show and then podcasting it for people at their convenience. While we were off the air for the last 18 months we're reinvented ourselves, which ... I mean, that's what you've gotta do right?"
In a San Diego market that now has three full-time sports talk radio stations (1090 joins 97.3 The Fan and XTRA 1360 Fox Sports San Diego) standing out will be crucial for everyone.
For the full Mightier 1090 lineup click here.