After weeks of speculation, rumors are becoming reality as Clear Channel will once again attempt primarily local-based sports talk on its WDFN AM 1130 in Detroit. Starting on Tuesday, September 8th, the station's new weekday lineup will look like this:
7 - 10 a.m will be hosted by Sean Baligian who returns to the station following what amounts to a nearly 8-month hiatus. Baligian had been hosting mid-mornings for 'DFN until the January 2009 decision to drop nearly all local programming. Sean is a ten year Detroit radio veteran and color commentator for Plymouth Whalers Hockey and will also continue to host afternoons for sister station 96.1 ESPN in the Grand Rapids market.
10 a.m. - noon will be hosted by Ryan Ermanni, best known for his role a sports reporter for FOX 2 television in Detroit.
The highest-profile change to the current lineup at WDFN will happen as the station dumps the syndicated Jim Rome program in favor of ESPN Radio's Colin Cowherd. 'The Herd' will be heard from noon - 2 p.m.
Matt Shepard, WDFN's current morning host and Fox Sports Detroit TV personality, will shift to afternoon drive (2 - 6 p.m.) where he'll be paired with Detroit Free Press columnist Drew Sharp.
WDFN also plans on bringing back Tom "Killer" Kowalski, the longest tenured Detroit Lions beat writer, who will be contributing news and commentary throughout the day.
Clear Channel Operations Manager Todd Thomas said, "No radio station in town offers an "inside track" on sports. So, we put together a group of guys that actually hang out with the players, coaches and management of all the Detroit (and Michigan) teams. Not because it's their job... but because they eat, breathe and sleep sports. There is no bigger sports-town in the country than Detroit - don't we deserve a radio station devoted exclusively to talking about what we love?"
WDFN will likely be fighting an uphill battle in trying to gain back listeners in the face of competitor WXYT having advantages such as an FM signal and the broadcast rights to all of the area's major league franchises. The removal of Jim Rome's midday offering will likely receive the most attention as it is had been the longest running program on WDFN - outlasting several morning shows and what had been the station's most popular show hosted by Mike Stone and Bob Wojnowski in afternoon drive until January's massive cutbacks.