Salt Lake City Sports Radio: 1320 KFAN Names A Program Director

I’m baaaccckkk!

For Immediate Release
June 6, 2012

1320 KFAN welcomes back new Program Director – Kevin Graham

Kevin Graham is no stranger to Utah Sports Radio. One of the original architects of 1320 KFAN in 1996, Kevin returns to rebuild the heritage sports talker into the dominant sports radio station in the market. After leaving KFAN Kevin went on to a successful programming career assembling and building sports stations in Columbus, ESPN Radio Pittsburgh and New York City, as well as Detroit before returning to Salt Lake to host the highly popular Monson and Graham afternoon show for five years on the old 1280 The Zone. In 2010 Kevin moved to Phoenix to program Sports Radio 620 KTAR and then left to start his own sports digital and sports radio consulting company. He is married to his wife of 18 years Amy and has 12 year old twin daughters Madie and Josie.

Kevin commented on his new position saying:
“I can’t tell you how excited I am to come back to Utah and work with a phenomenal radio company in Cumulus and join a highly creative and energetic staff that has been assembled by Market Manager, Todd Larsen. Some of the best years of my life have been spent in Utah so it truly feels like a homecoming. It’s an honor to be able to once again assemble a sports station truly dedicated to the passionate fans along the Wasatch Front.”

“Kevin is the right guy for the direction we are taking KFAN. I was stoked he would consider returning to the market. He brings a young fresh perspective to sports in Utah. With Kevin’s experience, there isn’t a better sports PD out there”. Todd Larsen GM of Cumulus Salt Lake, stated.

Cumulus Media locally operates Country KUBL-FM (93.3), Adult Contemporary KBEE-FM (98.7), Utah’s New Alternative KENZ-FM (101.9), Rock KBER-FM (101.1) Z Rock KHTB-FM (94.9), The Big Talker KKAT-AM (860), 1230KJQS (1230AM), 1320KFAN (1320AM) The Sports Leader.

Cumulus is the largest pure-play radio broadcaster in the United States with 570 stations in 120 U.S. cities and a fully-distributed network serving over 4,500 affiliates nationwide. Our radio and digital brands target numerous large and demographically-distinct audiences in each of these markets. Cumulus strives to create the next generation radio broadcasting enterprise based on great people and technological excellence that will provide high quality, local programming choices for listeners, targeted audiences with disposable income and buying preferences for its advertisers, challenging career environments for its employees, and value opportunities for its shareholders.

John L. Smith Shuns Weber State For Arkansas

It was a move no one expected as Arkansas announced Weber State’s John L. Smith as its new interim head coach Monday. On the surface it makes sense considering Smith served as special teams coach at Arkansas the last three seasons under the ousted Bobby Petrino. He has coached with Petrino at four other schools. He knows the players, coaches, systems and has head coaching experience at Michigan State, Louisville, Utah State and Idaho. Smith has always been considered a loose cannon from his days at Utah State and throughout his coaching career. His antics finally failed him at Michigan State when he was fired after four years. I covered him during that time and it was clear he couldn’t handle running a major program. His ineffectiveness led to one of the best sports radio meltdowns I have ever heard (Video above-go to four minute mark; coach rants at seven minute mark). With Arkansas being considered one of the teams that could win the SEC next season Smith is set up to succeed as long as he just stays out of his own way.

Obviously you have to feel bad for Weber State who is left high and dry after Smith took the job at his alma mater in December. At the same time they knew what they were getting in Smith and while losing him this soon could never have been imagined they need to take some of the blame for this as well. Maybe athletic director Jerry Bovee will now stop hiring older coaches out of their prime and go after someone younger who you know will be there a few years as he builds a program. As KFAN’s Scott Garrard suggested on Twitter Aaron Roderick could be a viable candidate after Brian Johnson was hired over him for the offensive coordinator position. Or how about give the job to the current Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator Matt Hammer who has done a solid job running the Wildcats offense the past three years, knows the program being there the last seven and is familiar with Utah playing at Southern Utah in college under Ray Gregory and Gary Andersen.

As for those who say Smith is a snake for not being loyal I would agree but you have to just face facts and realize coaches are about themselves as anyone these days and as long as the NCAA allows this to happen you unfortunately have to deal with it.

MLS Real Salt Lake Fans Video is Actually Good

I’m not much of a soccer guy. Since I would like to eliminate kickers from football (American football I’m talking about!) you shouldn’t be shocked I don’t enjoy a game that is all about kicking. Now while I have stated I can tolerate the game when it’s played at it’s highest level usually it’s the fans that annoy me more. If they aren’t rioting and trying to kill each other or providing children beer overseas the American fans are trying to act like Europeans wearing scarves during the summer, banging on drums and then demeaning anyone that dares to criticize their “beautiful sport.” Now with all that said I credit Real Salt Lake of MLS for this video featuring their fans which of course shows them wearing scarves and banging on drums!

Here’s a Great Idea, Let’s Copy Soccer and Aggregate All Sports

If you weren’t aware (and I don’t blame you) the playoffs are underway for Major League Soccer. What makes their playoffs different than all other American sports is during the Conference Semifinals they go to a home and away aggregate-goal format. Basically that means it’s a 180 minute game as opposed to two separate games (like the rest of the normal sports do). Why? Probably because it’s some long standing soccer tradition so even though MLS is based in the U.S.A. this allows their European want-to-be fans to act all uppity about their beautiful game–but I regress.

Before I continue it’s pretty clear I’m not a soccer fan. However as I’ve gotten older I’ve appreciated the game more when it’s played at the highest level–which for me is the World Cup (men and women’s teams). Most of that is due to being a proud American (even though our men’s team is embarrassing) but I have to admit I’ve enjoyed watching those games. So therefore I watch soccer about every couple years.

The bigger issue I have now with the game is their fans. Instead of doing their best to welcome new people into the sport with open arms they typically go the opposite route and close the door. It’s like they want it to be their own private cult where they can wear scarves in the summer and bang drums. Or if someone criticizes their beloved sport, instead of having a sense of humor or an intelligent back and forth discussion, the typical fan acts like you’ve called their baby ugly and lashes out saying you just don’t understand the complexities of the game!

For instance here is some reaction from some of my Twitter followers after I made a somewhat, ok I admit it, a fully sarcastic tweet Wednesday night after Real Salt Lake lost to Seattle 2-0 but won the series since they scored three goals in Game 1:

My tweet:
“So RSL lost 2-0 to Seattle but won series due to aggregate. Way to go RSL losing by just 2 goals! Or I mean winning. #SoConfused”

Tweet from four4BYU:
“@kevingraham1280 Kevin shut your ignorant pie hole and learn the worlds sport. Bloody hell”

And another from @leecamblin:
“@kevingraham1280 kevin your such a weenie! Get with it bro!”

Those were the tamer responses. But after giving it some thought I figured why not utilize this system for all our sports. Instead of seven separate games for the World Series, NBA or Stanley Cup Finals let’s make it a seven game aggregate system. Here’s how the most recent series would have played out:

2011 World Series: St. Louis Cardinals 38 Texas Rangers 30
-Now by going with the aggregate instead of having what would be one of the most dramatic and exciting World Series ever, the Cardinals would have basically wrapped things up after Game 3 since they scored 16 runs.

2011 NBA Finals: Dallas 568 Miami Heat 554
-This series only went six games so the soccer aggregate would have been a big benefit because it would have forced a Game 7 automatically. And instead of the Heat taking the series by just winning the game itself they would have had to won by 15 points to claim the title. Could you imagine the excitement!

2011 NHL Stanley Cup Finals: Boston Bruins 23 Vancouver Canucks 8
-Once again in this scenario a series that was exciting and went seven games wouldn’t have been anywhere near that under the aggregate system due to the Bruins having a 19-8 lead heading into Game 7. The positive though is maybe the Canuck fans wouldn’t have rioted.

So in two of the three scenarios above the aggregate would have definitely worked by soccer standards in making those series more boring (I know, can’t help myself).

As for American football I could see where the aggregate could be a big plus for the sport. Instead of the very successful one game playoff elimination the teams could play back-to-back combining the scores of both games. It would at least give us more playoff football games, right?

So maybe I should change my tune about aggregate scoring. But wait–MLS goes to single elimination for the Conference Finals and MLS Cup? Yeah, that makes total sense. Forget about what I just wrote.

Agree or disagree sound off in the comments section below. Kevin Graham is the Co-Founder of Sports Mashup and was a sports talk radio host in Salt Lake City. He can also be followed on twitter @KevinGraham1280 and you can email him at [email protected]. Feel free to get interactive and like Sports Mashup on Facebook.

Real Salt Lake Manager Jason Kreis Confronts David Beckham

After Saturday’s MLS game between Real Salt Lake and the Los Angeles Galaxy, a game LA came from behind to win 2-1, the worlds most recognizable player and the RSL manager got into a heated discussion. RSL’s Jason Kreis said something to David Beckham who then responded by pointing a finger in his face. Like typical soccer fights it was a non-fight. I’m just surprised no one flopped.

Jimmer Fredette’s Girlfriend Feels Like the Kardashians

Drama strikes in the latest “Follow Jimmer” webisode when Jimmer Fredette’s girlfriend likens the couple to the Kardashians while attending an RSL game. Does she not like the attention (sorry, doing everything I can to spice these things up!)? Also Jimmer eats more food (a recurring theme). Meanwhile on the business side he signs with his new agents (while eating of course) that are going to help him make a boatload of money. Catch all the thrilling action below:

CONCACAF Final: RSL vs. Monterrey…Win RSL, Do It for America!

I’m not a fan of soccer. In fact I don’t like many of the fans who are. You know, the soccer snobs that dress up in scarves when it’s 100 degrees out and try to act European demeaning us “simpletons” that supposedly don’t get their “beautiful game”. So as you can tell I have spent a good chunk of my life ridiculing it. However, I have found myself watching the World Cup when our national team plays. I realized I can stomach the game when played at the highest level. I also realized that we stink regularly losing to third world countries.

With all that said there is a chance tonight where we as a country can get some respect at the game we didn’t invent. I am rooting for Real Salt Lake because they are representing the United States of America. A win or a tie (after last week’s 2-2 tie, a draw tonight by a 0-0 or 1-1 score nets the win hence they can win by not really winning!) propels them into a place no American soccer team has gone, the FIFA Club World Cup. It would be the first MLS, American, team to do so. We are clearly the underdog but that’s when we as a country are at our best. Remember the Revolutionary War!? It’s our time RSL, win (or tie only by a 0-0 or 1-1 score though!) and let us as a country feel good about our soccer selves for once. Who’s with me?!? Thank you and God Bless America.