When Clear Channel pulled the plug last November on progressive talk radio station KPOJ-AM 620 and switched the format to Fox Sports Radio, many irate listeners wondered what the station brass were thinking.
Now it's official: Clear Channel was opening a space on the dial for the Portland Trail Blazers.
The Blazers announced Thursday that KPOJ is now the team's flagship station.
Clear Channel's local operations manager Chris Sargent tells WW the company was aiming to match KPOJ and the Blazers when it switched formats last fall.
"That's why we made the change," Sargent says. "We had a new alliance with the Oregon State Beavers and the Portland Trail Blazers. This is a bigger opportunity for this community and this radio station."
Last season, Clear Channel broadcast Blazer games on KEX-AM 1190, its news and conservative talk station.
"We're excited to move 'em over," Sargent says. "It just makes a lot of sense to have a sports team on a sports station. 620 is one of the largest signals in the market."
The switch of KPOJ to sports last November sparked outrage from Portland liberals angry that the station was canceling shows by local hosts Thom Hartmann and Carl Wolfson.
Wolfson has since started his own internet radio station. Reached by WW today, he took a swipe at his former employers—and at the Blazers' selling naming rights to the Rose Garden, now called the Moda Center.
"I'm sure the 'Fighting Modas' will pay off Clear Channel's $20 billion in long-term debt," Wolfson says.