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Talksport (styled as talkSPORT), owned by UTV Radio, is one of the United Kingdom's three terrestrial analogue Independent National Radio broadcasters, offering a sports and talk radio service broadcast from Londonmarker to the United Kingdommarker.

Its content includes sports phone-ins and discussions, live sports commentaries, and general phone-in discussions. It is transmitted on 1089 and 1053 kHz across the UK and digitally via DAB digital radio, Freeview, Sky, Virgin Media, Freesat and Tiscali TV. Talksport is also streamed online; however, due to rights restrictions on live coverage, some live sport commentaries are not available online.

The Talk Radio era

The station was originally and officially launched as Talk Radio UK on 14 February 1995, with Sean Bolger and Samantha Meah presenting the original Talk Radio Breakfast Show. However the first live broadcast had been Caeser the Geezer's phone-in which aired at 10:00pm the previous night. Other presenters on Talk Radio included Jeremy Beadle, Scott Chisholm, Moz Dee, Tommy Boyd, Anna Raeburn, Gary Newbon, Terry Christian, Ronnie Barber and Dale Winton. Also joining the line-up were Chris Ryder ("Caesar the Geezer") and Wild Al Kelly, dubbed as shock jocks by sections of the media.

A year later Talk Radio launched a new breakfast show presented by Paul Ross and Carol McGiffin. Former BBC Radio 1 DJ and later Classic FM Breakfast presenter Simon Bates also joined the station along with James Whale, Ian Collins and Mike Dickin.

Talk Radio made their first foray into the world of sports radio rights bidding, by purchasing the rights to broadcast the Football League from BBC Radio Five Live for the 1997/98 season. In addition, the station broadcast their first World Cup from France in 1998, with them bringing in the Sky Sports commentary team of Alan Parry and Andy Gray to commentate on the major matches. Talk Radio also acquired up the rights to broadcast Manchester United’s matches in the Champions League for the 1998/99 season.

Creation of Talksport

On 12 November, 1998 TalkCo Holdings, whose Chairman and Chief Executive was former Sun Editor Kelvin MacKenzie, purchased Talk Radio. This led to a mass clearout of presenters including Nick Abbot, Anna Raeburn, Tommy Boyd and Peter Deeley, with them putting in place a more sports orientated programming schedule, including The Sportszone with Alan Parry, Gary Newbon, Tony Lockwood and Tom Watt.

In late 1999, TalkCo, rebranded as The Wireless Group, announced a relaunch of Talk Radio to become the UK’s first national commercial sports radio station called Talksport. The relaunch occurred at midnight on Monday 17 January 2000 and was accompanied by the station moving from Oxford Streetmarker to a new studio in Hatfields on the South Bankmarker of the River Thames. Now dedicated to sports, the programming lineup was drastically altered, beginning with The Sports Breakfast show, a mid-morning motoring show called The Car Guys, with further sports programming in the afternoon and evening. Almost all the station's talk show presenters were axed at the time, including The Big Boys Breakfast with David Banks and Nick Ferrari, with only Whale , Collins and Mike Dickin surviving. To complement their new format, Talksport purchased the rights to broadcast Manchester United, Arsenal and Newcastle in the UEFA Champions League, the FA Cup, England Internationals, UEFA Cup, England’s Winter cricket Tours to South Africa, Zimbabwemarker, Pakistanmarker and Indiamarker, British and Irish Lions Tours to South Africa and New Zealandmarker and rights to the Super League, Rugby League World Cup, and World Title Boxing Fights.

The new line-up involved a number of presenters and commentators. They included Alan Brazil, Mark Nicholas, Chris Cowdrey, Geoffrey Boycott, Alan Parry, Peter Shilton, Brian Moore, Brough Scott, Tom Watt, Gary Newbon, Ian Darke, Tony Banks and Alvin Martin.

Programming

In 2004, Talksport broadcast their first international football tournament officially. Euro 2004 from Portugal was broadcast live on Talksport with commentary of various matches, including the final, from Jim Proudfoot and Alvin Martin.

Lisa Francesca Nand became the station's first permanent female presenter alongside Ian Collins in May 2006 but left the station in June 2007.

In Summer 2006, the station broadcast the 2006 FIFA World Cup, with live match commentary of all 64 matches in Germany. Commentary was provided by Jim Proudfoot, Chris Cooper, Nigel Pearson, Ian Danter, Tim White and Geoff Peters with punditry from Alvin Martin, Rodney Marsh, Gary Stevens, Jason Cundy and Micky Quinn. To coincide with the event, Talksport presenters using the collective name "Talksport Allstars", released the novelty song "We're England" to the tune from "Tom Hark" by The Piranhas.

In August 2006, former Sky Sports presenter Kelly Dalglish became the first permanent female sports presenter on Monday’s edition of Evening Kick-Off.

In October 2006, Talksport secured national radio broadcast rights to 32 live Premier League matches each Saturday afternoon at 3:00pm for the next three years from August 2007. BBC Radio Five Live won six of the seven available broadcast rights packages of 32 games each from the Premier League; however, Talksport becomes the first national commercial radio station to broadcast live top flight football since the BBC first aired live football commentary of Arsenal v Sheffield United on 22 January, 1927 in the Division One Championship. Talksport's first live commentary match was Bolton 1-3 Newcastle on Saturday 11 August from the Reebok Stadiummarker. Nigel Pearson and Alvin Martin were Talksport's commentary team with Adrian Durham and Alan Brazil presenting Matchday Live.

In April 2007, Talksport were awarded "official broadcaster" status for the first time by the IRB for the 2007 Rugby World Cup in France. The tournament took place in September and October 2007.

In June 2007, it was announced that former Essex Cricket captain Ronnie Irani would become the new co-presenter of The Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast from Tuesday 25 September, replacing Graham Beecroft.

Talksport also share rights with the BBC to broadcast the UEFA Champions League. As of 2009, Talksport coin themselves as the UEFA Champions League station, as they commentate on a number of their matches.

Jeremy Kyle was signed by the station to present a Sunday lunchtime sports show from 21 September 2008.

Russell Brand and Noel Gallagher hosted a football talk show on 19 April 2009.

Controversies

  • April 2002: Tommy Boyd and his production team were sacked from Talksport after a caller's anti-Royal Family views went through on air. Boyd went on record that he did not share the views of the caller.
  • June 2006: Sports Breakfast presenter Alan Brazil got in trouble with Ofcommarker for referring to the Japanese as "the nips" during the 2006 World Cup in Germanymarker.
  • August 2007: Mike Mendoza and Garry Bushell made derogatory comments about gay people, and the station was subsequently censured by regulator Ofcom. Not long after, Bushell was dismissed.
  • May 2008: James Whale was dismissed by Talksport after twice urging listers to vote for Boris Johnson in the 2008 London Mayoral Election. The station was subsequently fined £20,000 by Ofcom in December 2008.
  • November 2008: Controversial presenter Jon Gaunt was fired for repeatedly calling a local councillor a "Nazi". Gaunt has since sought legal action for unfair dismissal, but any potential case has yet to go to court.His campaign has been backed by Liberty activist Shami Chakrabarti, who had previously been one of Gaunt's pet hates.
  • November 2008: Rod Lucas was dropped by Talksport and claimed they "no plans to use him in the immediate future" after the membership list of the BNP which was leaked on a Google blog named him as one of its members. The station clarified that this wasn't a sacking as Lucas was only a temporary member of staff. The presenter himself claimed that his membership of the party was part of a covert research project.


Staff and Management

Sports









Talk





Newsreaders

Talksport's news bulletins are provided by Sky News Radio:



Traffic and Travel



Station management

Scott Taunton was previously the Business Development Director at UTV, responsible for radio and new media. A native of Australia, he has been working in the UK for a decade and took over from Kelvin MacKenzie as Chief Executive of Talksport in July 2005.

Moz Dee is Talksport's Programme Director replacing Bill Ridley in March 2008 who won the Programmer of the Year Award at the 2007 Commercial Radio Awards. Matt Smith as Programme Controller.

Peter Gee is Talksport's Head of Creative. Nicholas Pike is head of The Weekend Sports Breakfast. George Cummins is Head of Current Affairs. Ben Fletcher is Head of Security. James Dodd is PA to the Programme Director, Moz Dee. Dennis Morris is Head of Outside Broadcasts and Johnathan Norman is Head of Music. Steve Morgan is Director of Traffic and Travel for the station.

References

  1. Russell Brand returning to radio
  2. http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2009/jan/20/john-gaunt-sue-talksport
  3. http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2008/nov/19/talksport


External links




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