The State of Utah Sports Radio


For local radio sports, we have a Big 3 for sports stations. 1280 is the Jazz flagship and therefore king, and there’s also 1320 and 700, which give more national than local.

For 13 hours a day, 1280 is all local, so aside from being the home of the Jazz, they have that local appeal. 1320 has one local show in their weekday line-up; same with 700.

1280 THE ZONE (

6:00am – 10:00am – David James & Patrick Kinahan
10:00am – 1:00pm – Jake Scott & Tony Parks
1:00pm – 3:00pm – Scotty G & Riley Jensen
3:00pm – 7:00pm – Spence Checketts & Gordon Monson
FRI 1:00pm – 2:00pm – Matt Harpring & Craig Bolerjack
SAT 12:00pm – 1:00pm – Salt City Hoops

1320 KFAN (

7:00am – 10:00am – John Feinstein
10:00am – 1:00pm – Jim Rome
1:00pm – 3:00pm – Doug Gottlieb
3:00pm – 7:00pm – Kyle Gunther & Kevin Graham

ESPN 700 (http://espn.kall700sports.comESPN700

7:00am – 10:00am – Dan Patrick
10:00am – 11:00am – Colin Cowherd
11:00am – 2:00pm – Scott Van Pelt & Steve Russillo
2:00pm – 6:00pm – Bill Riley & Hans Olsen
6:00pm – 8:00pm – Colin Cowherd
I’ll start with the national shows.

Jim Rome is the best of their national guys. I feel like I’ve outgrown his shtick, but he still has a following and it’s smart to keep him on. I’ve found that unless he has a compelling guest, I can’t listen to Feinstein for more than a few minutes. He’s a great writer, but as a radio personality, he just doesn’t do it for me. Gottlieb is a less frustrating brand. I don’t mind if my radio happens to be on him, but I’m not going to seek him out.

Colin Cowherd is my favorite from their national lineup and I’d therefore want him to just get the 10-1 block. SVP & Russillo are ones where I actively change the dial if I happen to land on them. Dan Patrick is fine – he’s a big name – but I only listen to him if nothing interesting is on 1280, or any of the news/politics stations. Some days I’d rather listen to Glenn Beck’s latest conspiracy theory than tune in to see what Dan’s mumbling about. (And that’s how I learned Glenn thinks Woodrow Wilson wrote Thomas Dixon’s book The Clansmen, which eventually became a play and then the film Birth of a Nation.)

Now with the local shows.

DJ & PK needs to be DJ & Someone Else. I hated PK when he debuted. After a year I got used to him and then was entertained, and DJ & PK became a staple for me. But a year or two ago, PK’s routine became tiresome to me. The same crap, the same trolling, the same bad singing.

I love Jake & Tony. I like them together, and they’re fine if one happens to be gone. I like We Don’t Lie Wednesday and Awkward Thursday.

Scotty G & Riley Jensen… jury’s still out. I’m willing to keep listening to Riley, give him a chance, and while I like Scotty G personally from what little interaction I’ve had with him and what I’ve seen and heard from others, as a host, I’d rather listen to someone else. Some of that might come from the turnover at 1320, when Locked on Sports became Bolerjack, Locke & Gerrard, but almost every day, Boler and Locke were gone and it was just Gerrard manning the ship. It felt like bait and switch. Ironically I really like him as a guest, on other guys’ shows or on podcasts. But if there’s opportunity to upgrade at hosting slot and have Scotty take more of a behind-the-scenes managerial role, they should do it.

The Big Show with Spence Checketts and Gordon Monson. I’ve never liked Monson. He was the weak link on the morning show with David James and Ron Boone back in the day, he was the annoying guy that Bolerjack sat next to on the original Big Show, and when Boler jumped back to 1320, and guys like Ian Furness and Dave Fox were gone, then 1280 became a very forgettable, ignorable station. It was when Hans & OC and Jan & Kyle teamed up on 1280 that I started paying attention to them again.

Spence was a guy I kinda liked during his producing years. He had that son-of-a-millionaire, I’m-my-own-guy, I-earned-my-spot chip on his shoulder and developed a good chemistry with Bill Riley on 700. I thought Spence making the jump to 1320 was a good move.

Then the merge happened.

The Jazz jumped from 1320 to 1280 and 1280 got to pick and choose their talent. Gone were Sean O’Connell, Hans Olsen, Jan Jorgensen, Kyle Gunther from 1280 (you know, the best parts), and Ben Bagley was left in the dust from 1320. (I imagine his expression was like Paul Kinsey’s when he realized half the firm left on Mad Men to form SCDP but they didn’t invite him to come.)

But surviving the merge, now on the afternoon show on the Jazz flagship station was Monson. “NOOOO!” I wanted to cry. I think I sent Scotty a couple negative tweets, to which he showed magnanimous flattery that I thought he had the power to make those calls. The Jazz flagship had the chance for some new blood, but most of the young guys were discarded in favor of the vets. The Jazz afternoon had gone from David Locke to BLG to Spence & Scotty to Spence & Monson. Bait and switch, I tell you!

I think Monson brings out the worst in his co-hosts. Boler was able to handle it, but Graham was reduced to whining next to Monson’s arguing-for-argument’s-sake style. There’s something about Monson that makes Spence come across as a jerk, like an insecure jock whose shoulder chip from his 20’s has grown back. To Spence’s credit, he’s a very good interviewer and guest-grabber (how much of the booking is to producer Austin Horton’s credit, I just don’t know).

Fridays for an hour we can get Harpring and Bolerjack, and while many don’t like Harp’s cheesy color commentary during Jazz games, I really enjoy him on the radio. He’s best when he can sit back and give extended analysis without watching a game.

Now as to the other local shows, they benefitted from 1280 cutting the wrong guys. OC is now in California, but Gunther & Graham has quickly become my favorite afternoon show. I like Bill & Hans too, although as soon as soccer comes up, I can’t change the station quickly enough.

I do think the market is about due for another new talent or two to rise up. I think Rick Aaron would be great in a line-up somewhere, and Jody Gennessy and Bill Oram have both shown to be compelling guests and could probably make the transition to radio should the opportunity present itself. (Or someone from TBS or SLCDunk or TaxiSquadShow. I like the Salt City Hoops show when I remember it’s on.) I’d like to see a female sports host pop up eventually. One of the main complaints I read from female Jazz fans is how most of the local radio guys come off as frathouse pigs.

You know what would solve a lot of Utah radio’s problems? For it to be October already. Deep into NFL and college football, and the Jazz in preseason. What a glorious time that will be.

About the author

John English

John studied journalism at UVU and put that to good use by writing for free for blogs on a part-time basis. Money well spent. He became an avid Jazz fan since moving to Utah in 1989. Also a fan of the NFL and BYU football.