Badger talk - WTSO vs WTLX

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Posted by on August 28, 2008 at 17:32:44:

An hour of Badger talk ... on two radio stations
'On Wisconsin' goes head-to-head every afternoon with 'The Badger Hour'

"The Badger Hour," meet "On Wisconsin."

Madison's two sports talk radio stations are going head-to-head with shows totally devoted to discussion of University of Wisconsin athletics.

WTSO-AM/1070, the local ESPN radio affiliate, started its new show, "On Wisconsin," last week. The show airs Monday through Friday from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. with host Brian Posick. It's going up against "The Badger Hour," hosted by Lance Davis on WTLX-FM/100.5 during the same hour.

The timing is just a coincidence, said Posick.

"We wanted to provide this show for our listeners, but it just so happens it goes head-to-head with the one on WTLX," Posick said. "I've listened to Lance do his show, and he does a nice job. But I'm not trying to build our show off of what he does. We're just trying to do our own thing here, and hopefully people will listen. So far the feedback has been really good."

Davis, who has been hosting "The Badger Hour" since March, welcomes the competition. He's convinced there are more than enough Badger fans to go around.

"'The Badger Hour' has been on for a couple years, and I think it's been a great addition to our lineup," said Davis. "I don't see it stopping anytime soon. In Madison, the Badgers are top dog. Everyone is talking Badgers, whether it's football or basketball or hockey or even some of the other sports like volleyball.

"The show is definitely something we've enjoyed doing. This is a competitive business, and we look forward to having somebody else in the field. And we look forward to doing 'The Badger Hour' for a long time."

The idea for "On Wisconsin" was formulated during the talks to renew the rights to broadcast UW sports, Posick said. "We thought this was a perfect opportunity to give the University of Wisconsin athletic department more promotion," he said. "It's not just for the big three, but for all the sports across the board."

One downside is that the new show supplants "The Scott Van Pelt Show," whose host had become something of a cult figure in Madison after being selected as UW commencement speaker last December. "It's too bad, because you can tell he's a Madison lover," said Posick. "He really enjoys the town and Badger athletics. But it just so happened that this was the only time we felt like we could fit this type of show in."

Conveniently, the new show makes its debut on the eve of the football season, which figures to dominate the discussion on both stations over the next few months.

"During the football season we'll talk a lot of football," Posick said. "And as we get closer to basketball and hockey seasons, we'll do the same with them. But we'll also keep tabs on volleyball, soccer, cross country and wrestling. There are fans out there who are interested in that and feel like those teams don't get enough publicity. This is a chance -- one hour a day, five days a week -- to give those programs some publicity as well."

Davis likewise said he tries to balance the overwhelming interest in the revenue sports with the niche interests of the other sports.

"I think a lot of the smaller sports don't get a lot of credit, so over the summer we focused a lot on sports like track and cross country," Davis said. "Right now we're going heavy with football because that's the lead topic. But we want to talk all Badgers, and there was no place on the radio where you could hear that in the Madison market."

Both shows are interview-oriented, relying on discussions with UW coaches, athletes and administrators rather than callers to fill the hour of airtime. Neither host fashions himself as a cheap-shot artist, looking for an opportunity to stir things up.

"I see our show as more of a magazine, which I think is more of my forte," said Posick, who formerly hosted the "Sports Review" nightly on sister station WIBA-AM/1310. "I'd rather do interviews than opine about why Bret Bielema didn't go for it on third-and-4 from the 42-yard line when they're up by 20 points."

While WTLX is not officially aligned with UW as a broadcast partner, Davis said he has a good working relationship with the athletic department. And while he won't dodge a controversial situation, he's not looking to pick any fights.

"Obviously, they're the flagship station over there, and they have their connections," Davis said. "But our story here is that we want to bring it to the listeners as honestly as possible, whether that's debating whether the coach made the right move or if the player should've said what he said after the game.

"We're not a homer station, as far as the Badgers go. If somebody makes a mistake, I'm going to say it on the air. Granted, I'm not going to rip someone completely because, obviously, to get those Badger guests you have to maintain those relationships with the people at the UW."

Those connections especially come in handy during the slower summer months when there are not active UW sports. But Davis said he had no trouble coming up with subjects to talk about, even when the state sports landscape was being dominated by the pennant ambitions of the Milwaukee Brewers and the swirling controversy surrounding Brett Favre's unretirement. That would be welcome news to Posick, who said his show also is likely to become year-round rather than seasonal.

"We tried to find a way to talk Badgers even though, let's be honest, the Badgers have been kind of lost in the shuffle with all the Brewers and Favre talk over the last month or so," Davis said. "But Madison is such a college town, and people here love to talk about Badger sports."

(Capital Times)

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