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Sports Radio is Coming Back to Edmonton

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baggedmilk
8 months ago
On June 14th, a lot of us were stunned when TSN 1260 went off the air without any kind of heads up or a warning that this was happening. For a lot of us, the void left in 1260’s absence was massive — I sat in my car and listened to static for at least five minutes — and knowing that hole will soon be filled makes this morning’s announcement so incredible. On September 5th, 2023, sports radio is coming back to Edmonton on Sports 1440.
From the day 1260 went off the air, I’ve been bothering Gregor about what the hell he was going to do and how we could get involved in whatever that ended up being. Obviously, everyone knows that Jason is a huge part of what happens around here, and with the way we’ve been growing over the last couple of years, finding a way to work together on bringing his show back was the only way this could go. It was a logical fit for both sides. Our stable of shows and podcasts seems to be getting bigger by the day, and bolting on The Jason Gregor Show was a huge opportunity.
What I didn’t expect, however, was that talking about The Jason Gregor Show would lead The Nation Network back into radio. If you’ve been around long enough, you may remember when Lowetide used to do Nation Radio on 1260 before eventually doing his own thing with the Lowdown. Flash forward to 2023 and this new partnership allows us to work with him again, and it’s a great feeling because it’s been quite a few years since we’ve been able to say that. But even though there are plenty of reasons to feel proud and excited about this new partnership, the only goal is still to make the best content possible and give everyone who finds it the opportunity to have a voice as a part of the community.

WHAT’S HAPPENING

Starting September 5th at 7 AM MT, we’re getting back to talking about sports on the radio in Edmonton. Kicking off with The Kevin Karius Show first thing in the morning, you’ll have a full day of sports talk back on your AM dial for the first time since 1260 closed and that’s why I had to reach out to Gregor for a little more insight on how this all came together, what bringing sports radio means to him, and what we can expect as the project gets underway.
BM: When you think back to joining the Nation all of those years ago, what comes to mind when you see how far we’ve come as we join you on this new project with Sports 1440?
Gregor: I remember early on in 2008 a conversation with Wanye and he had huge plans on where the Nation could go. Jay and I were probably a bit more understated, but Wanye was right. It grew a lot, and adding in live radio makes sense from my standpoint. It will allow us to connect two mediums and the live radio aspect combined with digital distribution will allow listeners more access to sports conversations. Northern Alberta has a very passionate and large group of sports fans and being able to give them a unique mix of radio and digital will be fun.
BM: You were part of the station closure at 1260 and knew first-hand the void it created in our city, so why was it important to get back on the radio in addition to releasing your show as a digital property?
Gregor: I’ve had a love affair with sports radio since I started listening to John Short in the truck with my father when I was 10 years old. I truly believe it connects people through conversation. Originally, we discussed a podcast, but I wasn’t ready to close the door on radio. It kept pulling me back and everywhere I went different people would come up to me and tell me how much they missed sports radio. Susan Reade, who I worked with before, reached out to see if I’d be interested in bringing my show to 1440. The conversation grew into me building a lineup of hosts and I’m excited Kevin, Lowetide, Connor, and Brandon agreed to come on as hosts. Admittedly, I have a bias for sports radio. It has been a huge part of my life since I was 10, and it is great that so many sponsors and listeners feel the same. This market is one of the best sports markets in the country, and for many fans, they really want local sports talk radio. It is wonderful that we were able to create a joint venture with Stingray, the Nation Network, and Just A Game Productions to make it happen.
BM: Does this mean I’m your boss now?
Gregor: In regards to where the cameras should be and where I look, yes you are. In regards to everything else, not yet.
BM: What can sports fans expect from Sports 1440 and this next chapter for The Jason Gregor Show?
Gregor: Passionate sports talk. Kevin has been covering sports in Edmonton for over 25 years. He has lots of connections and knows the market. He is very witty and he will make listeners laugh. I’m excited for Fantasy Frenzy with Connor and Brandon. So many sports fans and listeners play fantasy football, hockey, baseball, daily fantasy, and more and I strongly believe people will really enjoy this show. It is something we’ve never had, at least on a regular full-time basis, and I think the audience will find it helpful and entertaining.
Lowetide is fired up to be back as well. He’s a known commodity and has a strong loyal audience. He has new segments he will unveil on his show and I think they will make for great radio. He knows the medium very well and is a strong component of our group.
I plan to continue doing many of the same things we’ve done for the past 20 years. Thankfully, almost all of my sponsors will be back on the show. They love sports as much as the listeners and they care about our community. They felt the void as much as the listeners did. I will have some new segments and a few new guests, but we will have lots of listener interaction on the text line, email, calls, and now on YouTube. I’m excited about the new digital component for the show. We will be able to connect listeners more often which is great.
It will be nice to get back into a normal routine. Organizing this joint venture with Jay and Susan has been a lot of work, and I’m excited to see where it takes us. The Nation will be a big part of our success.

THE DETAILS

So what does the Sept. 5th lineup look like?
The Kevin Karius Show: 7 AM – 11 AM
Fantasy Frenzy with Halley & Douglas: 11 AM – 12 PM
The Lowdown with Lowetide: 12 PM – 2 PM
The Jason Gregor Show: 2 PM – 6 PM
It’s been nearly 10 years since I left my job at a big corporation you’ve definitely heard of to work at the Nation full time, and it’s honestly blowing my mind as I try to make sense of how far we’ve come. What started as a blog about Ryan Smyth leaving for the New York Islanders has turned into a completely different animal, and I’m very excited that we’re a small part of giving Edmontonians a spot on the dial where you can tune into live sports talk. This a very cool day. When I called Jay to talk about what this means for Oilersnation.com and The Nation Network, he was quick to share his excitement:
“This is truly a wild moment for the Nation considering where we started in 2007 to now, and to have Gregor let us in to be a part of the return of sports radio to Edmonton — something Oilersnation and The Nation Network are connected to — is a very surreal moment. We’re just rabid sports fans like everybody else, and there’s a huge void in the market so helping to fill that void — as Edmontonians — was important to us. But this also presents a huge opportunity because this is not just a radio play alone, we’re also taking Gregor and Kevin Karius’ show digital and there are no borders there. Thanks to the incredible distribution and community we’ve created over the last 16 years, we have a chance to expand the audience for his show and really see where it can go so this is a huge partnership for us. It’s a huge win and a monumental day for the Nation.”
It’s been a ride hasn’t it?
“We’re the little blog that could. What started out as an idea on a piece of paper between me and Wanye feels like a lifetime ago, and we’re grateful to Gregor for joining us back then and having the trust in us now to include us in this next adventure.”
Mark your calendars for September 5th at 7:00 AM when sports radio returns to Edmonton with the launch of Sports 1440. Whether you’re a die-hard Oilers fan who’s looking for information or wanting to get back into the conversation, Sports 1440 will be the go-to destination for Oilers (and sports) talk in your car and online.

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