In what was clearly a vain effort to try and spin news that he was losing western radio affiliates in Minot (KCJB) and Bismarck (KFYR), liberal talker Joel Heitkamp announced a plan to “expand” his show to Fargo-based AM740. That station is owned by the same company as KFGO, which is where Heitkamp’s show is based, but currently runs sports programming on the KFAN network. But it largely broadcasts to the same market Heitkamp already covers on KFGO, making the claim that this is an expansion a little ridiculous.
Also, the news that Heitkamp would be bumping popular sports talker Paul Allen from his morning slot wasn’t met with happiness by Fargo sports fans, as social media postings attest. And, in addition to angering fans, it may have landed Heitkamp in some hot water too.
Insiders in the Fargo radio market tell me that Heitkamp can’t just preempt Paul Allen or else AM740 may risk losing their affiliation with the popular KFAN network. Which is no doubt why readers tell me Heitkamp was suddenly quiet about his “expansion” plans today. In an interesting twist, the KFAN network is owned by Clear Channel which also owns KFYR and KCJB which Heitkamp has been busy trashing for dropping him.
It seems he finds himself between a rock and a hard place.
What’s more, all of this turmoil is happening as a company named Midwest Media is attempting to buy KFGO and a group of other stations. KFGO losing their reach into western North Dakota through syndication to KFYR and KCJB will inevitably mean a serious drop in ad revenues. That drop, one would think, would put Midwest Media’s purchase of KFGO et. al. into jeopardy.
Put simply, Heitkamp and KFGO seem to be in a lot of hot water. And a lot of it is owing to Heitkamp’s hubris, it seems.