24/7 Sport… on TalkSport

The UK’s only commercial talk station has taken the huge decision to throw out all programming that’s not sport.

The move will highlight its difference with BBC5live’s output with which it has often been seen as the poor relation.

A handful of  presenters and producers may  leave the station as a result of the change. Several NBS news graduates have  forged successful careers at TalkSport over the years.

A total of almost 40 hours of non-sport output each week is to be panned and replaced, including The Week, fronted by gorgeous George Galloway, the former MP. Galloway, a highly skilled communicator, found a home at the station after pretending to be a cat on Big Brother! He now intends to fight for a seat in Yorkshire in the next general election.

TalkSport began life as TalkRadio. It got off to a difficult start because of the different views of its investors of what it should be. Some  wanted  ‘shock-jock’ output; others wanted the station to be  like Radio 4. For programme managers, however skilled, the dispute was not helpful.

The station was then bought and re-branded as TalkSport. Trouble is – it wasn’t. There were large tracts of current affairs phone-ins. It wasn’t what it said on the tin. The rebrand did not create a surge in listening but its financial fortunes stabilised and, over the past years, it has been been profitable.

The move to 24/7 sports output is said by station bosses to be a natural one.  Listeners will hear coverage of more international sport, especially from the US. Some radio commentators say that TalkSport’s decision is smart because it repositions the station as a global player in radio sport, appealing to sports fans in new markets around the world on new distribution technologies.

TalkSport won “National Station of the Year”  in last year’s Sonys. It has a weekly audience of about 3.2 million listeners.

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