Sports Fan Radio Network

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The Sports Fan Radio Network was a sports talk radio network that existed from 1996 through 2001, when it abruptly folded.

History[edit]

Launch[edit]

SportsFan Radio Network officially debuted in 1993 with 80 hours of programming per month. Based in Las Vegas, the network broadcast its flagship show SportsFan Tonight from the Sports Theatre in the Las Vegas Hilton. Original hosts of the show were Geoff Nathanson and long time NFL scribe Howard Balzer.

1994-2000[edit]

By 1994, SportsFan expanded to a 24/7 format, 7 days a week. The signature show, SportsFan Tonight moved its broadcast location from the MGM Grand Las Vegas in 1994. Later it moved to the sportsbook at the Mandalay Bay. The daily line up included baseball's all-time hit leader Pete Rose, as well as a stable of young talent. Others hosting shows over the years included former NFL QB Sean Salisbury, former NFL All-Pro Tim Ryan, Fox and CBS host James Brown, longtime broadcaster Pat O'Brien, former NBA coach Matt Goukas, NHL great Phil Esposito, and former NFL All-Pro Bob Golic. SportsFan boasted other fine young talent including J. T. the Brick, Rob Tepper, Chuck Powell, Soren Petro, Rob Fischer, John Rabe, Jim Brinson, Dave Cokin, and others. By the late '90s, SportsFan partnered with CBS Sportsline to broadcast two shows daily. One program was hosted by Craig Carton, the other "The Drive" with Scott Kaplan and Sid Rosenberg. Later they landed a handful of other significant names, landing Nanci Donellan (a.k.a. "The Fabulous Sports Babe") from ESPN Radio and Keith Olbermann also hosted a few shows.

Closure[edit]

In 2001, however, the network began facing intense pressure from upstart network Fox Sports Radio, which had the major backing of industry giant Clear Channel Communications. Determining that the network could not compete with ESPN, Fox, and One on One Sports, Sports Fan Radio Network began dismantling. Donnellan was immediately fired one week before the Super Bowl, leaving J. T. the Brick as one of the few remaining hosts, hosting two live shifts plus replays throughout the day. The network folded in May 2001, ceding most of its affiliates to Fox.

Former hosts[edit]

After being released by Sports Fan, The Fabulous Sports Babe took an approximately 6 year break from radio broadcasting, during which she underwent treatment for cancer. She returned in sporadic guest hosting gigs in 2007, and in April 2008, returned full-time as the co-host of "Brantley and the Babe" on WHBO in Tampa Bay.

Papa Joe Chevalier hosted on Sports Fan from 1996 to 2000; he moved to One on One Sports (later Sporting News Radio) until 2005, then followed on several independent syndicators and networks, until his death in 2011.[1]

After the folding of Sports Fan, Frank Andrews, whose real name is Angelo Fracassi, changed his stage name to "Zig" and went to work in his native Western New York, for the now defunct radio station WNSA. After that station was sold off, Zig landed a job at Sirius Satellite Radio, where he hosted NHL Live (until that show moved to XM) and is currently a weekend anchor for Sirius NFL Radio and Mad Dog Radio.

Jim Brinson also ended up at WNSA; he later went on to TV station KOHD and is currently a personality on Time Warner Cable SportsNet in addition to contributing to WBBZ-TV, both of which are based in Western New York.

Soren Petro now hosts "The Program" in Kansas City on 810 WHB, one of the largest sports talk stations in the country (covering six states).

After the dissolution of SFRN, J. T. the Brick was almost immediately hired by Fox Sports Radio, where he is today.

Scott Ferrall currently works for CBS Sports Radio; he spent several years at Sirius XM Radio's Howard 101 prior to joining CBS.

Bill Lekas went to Sporting News Radio and later moved to Sirius XM Radio.

Scott Kaplan and Sid Rosenberg would go on to be the original co-hosts of The Sports Guys on WNEW-FM. Kaplan now works at XEPRS-AM in San Diego. Rosenberg went on to greater fame as a co-host at WFAN, working alongside the likes of Joe Benigno and Don Imus, and is now at WAXY in Miami.

Craig Carton currently co-hosts Boomer and Carton in the Morning on WFAN.

Tim Ryan is now with the NFL on Fox and Sirius NFL Radio.

There was also a weekend host by the name of Chris Russo (not the same Chris Russo of Mike and the Mad Dog fame); he now hosts the Redskins pre-and post game shows on the Washington Redskins radio network.

Rocco Pendola hosted a show on the network. He is no longer in radio.

Geoff Nathanson went on to work in television and radio as a play by play announcer and host at LA powerhouse radio station KNX 1070. He also developed into the go-to guy for TV sportscaster parts and commercials, working in a famous LeBron James Powerade spot, a Lance Armstrong Nike commercial, a Gordie Howe IBM spot and a David Eckstein Del Taco commercial. He has appeared as a recurring character in the ABC Family Channel series, "Make it or Break it" as well as on "Providence", King of Queens" and hosted the World Championship of Fantasy Football on Versus.

Former station[edit]

At least one affiliate, KSFN in Las Vegas, Nevada (the flagship station of Frank Andrews's and Papa Joe's program), took its call sign from the network. Today, it is KXST, a CBS Sports Radio station.

References[edit]

External links[edit]