Sports-talk radio makes reappearance on WNST

Former host Aparicio has deal to buy station in reintroducing format

Media

September 13, 2000|By Milton Kent | Milton Kent,SUN STAFF

All-sports-talk radio has returned to Baltimore's airwaves, courtesy of the man who first brought the format to town, Nestor Aparicio.

Aparicio, whose original foray at running WNST (1570 AM) ended last August after a year, is back at the same spot on the dial and with the same format.

However, unlike last year, when he was leasing the time from the station's co-owner, David Eppler, Aparicio is heading up a consortium of investers to buy the station.

"When all is said and done, I'll be a majority owner. The numbers work for me and the numbers work for the investers," said Aparicio, who will continue to host a syndicated daily afternoon drive-time show for One-on-One Network.

Aparicio, who has hosted shows on a number of local stations, declined to identify his backers and to say how much he's paying for WNST, except that it is less than the $1.5 million price that was asked last August, when the station's signal was taken over by Catholic Radio Network following Aparicio's decision not to pursue an option to buy in his lease.

The deal to purchase the station, which still faces FCC approval, came together last Friday, Aparicio said, and the all-sports-talk show began broadcasting Monday morning.

The station's signal is 5,000 watts during daylight hours and 250 watts at night, making penetration throughout the market problematical, particularly after sundown.

But Aparicio said he made money before and intends to do so again. The lowered wattage at night, Aparicio said, is not a problem, because audience levels for nighttime sports talk are significantly lower than for daytime talk or for event programming, such as the Orioles.

Aparicio said he does not intend to bid for Orioles or Ravens radio rights packages, both of which cost at least double what he is paying for the station.

"That [team broadcasting] is not what we're in this for. Our niche has been and will continue to be to provide a strong local presence with a format that's accessible to local listeners and affordable for the clients," said Aparicio.

Spiro Morekas, a veteran local talker, is hosting the morning show, and Aparicio said he is looking for someone to host a midday shift. One-on-One programming should begin airing on the station either today or tomorrow to cover late-night and weekend slots.

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