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ESPN Upstate Keeps It Local

Sports talk station expands local programming

One of the balancing acts a sports talk station needs to manage is local vs. national interests. For big city operations, especially those of the big national networks, much of that is one and the same.

But for stations in smaller markets, the question arises frequently. You simply can’t cover the local college teams 24 hours a day. Maybe there’s a pro team or two in the region? Perhaps there’s a minor league team in town?If you rely too much on your syndicated affiliate programming, which is very likely to be discussing the big national sports issues and teams, you can lose listeners. What to do?

Entercom’s Greenville, S.C. ESPN affiliate, calling itself ESPN Upstate, is a station that finds itself in that dilemma. Its solution is to try that balancing act. It has just expanded its local-origination programming to six hours a day, running from 4–10 p.m.

ESPN Upstate is doing that by adding Mark Sturgis from sports talker WCCP(FM) in nearby Clemson, S.C. It should be noted that South Carolinians do like sports.

Entercom VP/Market Manager Steve Sinicropi said, “Our sports coverage in terms of talent, teams and signal coverage continues to get stronger and stronger. ESPN Upstate has become the most dominant sports network in the market.”

He added: “Mark has a great live and local show right now, he has a network of sports contacts and he brings a passion for sports, strong knowledge and tremendous energy to the fast-growing EPSN Upstate audience.”