It's hard to believe that the sports radio format almost died before it had a chance to get off the ground. In 1981, Scott Rasmussen, the son of ESPN founder Bill Rasmussen, tried to launch a national sports radio network called Enterprise Radio. At its peak, 74 stations across the country picked up weeknight and overnight sports talk programming. In fact, current New York Yankees voice John Sterling was one of the first hosts on the network and Kevin Harlan and Sean McDonough were among the network's interns. However, due to a lack of advertiser support and consequently, a lack of funding, Enterprise died after a short nine months.
The sports radio format was resurrected in 1987 by Jeff Smulyan and his Emmis Communications at a former country station, WHN 1050 AM in New York and rebranded as WFAN. Greg Gumbel and Jim Lampley were among the station's original hosts. The 'FAN languished at 1050 AM, lost a ton of money and almost flipped formats. However, the station got new life when it changed frequencies to a stronger 660 AM, brought on Don Imus as its morning drive host and changed its focus from national to strictly local sports and the format took off.no comments