Tuesday, July 17, 2012

1620 Loses Schick, But Gains Sharp and Bishop

Yesterday, KOZN-1620 AM announced that Matt Schick won't be replacing Kevin Kugler after all.  The former channel 7 sportscaster is instead leaving "The Zone" to join ESPNU.  Instead, John Bishop from KLIN-1400 AM is moving to Omaha to become the co-host of "Unsportsmanlike Conduct".  (NRG Media owns both KOZN and KLIN.)  In addition, 1620 also announced that Gary Sharp is returning to Nebraska and will co-host a morning show with "Double Nickel" Jason Peter.

I'm personally excited by the return of Gary Sharp, who left Nebraska in 2004 after being removed from the Pinnacle Sports Network broadcasts during Steve Pederson's Reign of Error.  I thought he was the best host they've had on their "Sports Nightly"/"Sports Day Mid-America" broadcasts, and it's great to have him back in Nebraska.  Even better is that the show will start at 7 am...during the morning drive into work. My kids may not appreciate sports talk in the morning during the drive, but I will.

Bishop should be an adequate replacement for Kugler in the afternoon.  Bishop has improved dramatically since a painful first season as the postgame host on the Pinnacle broadcasts in 1996.  He was very good on Sports Nightly and the "Big Red Reaction" show as well as with baseball broadcasts for both Nebraska and Creighton.

According to the Lincoln Journal-Star, Sharp will also do play-by-play and color commentary on game broadcasts, which makes me wonder what else is up at 1180 and 1620 AM as far as additional broadcasts. While rumors periodically appear about the Nighthawks still returning this season, that's now about as likely as winning the Powerball jackpot.  And if I had my preference, I'd take the Powerball jackpot.  But what could 1620 broadcast?  UNO basketball would seem to be the most likely target as they begin their first season of Summit League play.  Sharp also has a background covering Lincoln Stars hockey, and he would be a huge upgrade over Greg Ahlers on UNO hockey broadcasts.  Problem is that I kind of like the game broadcasts on 96.1 FM, and I don't see UNO replacing their sports information director from their broadcasts.  An even bigger problem with UNO hockey broadcasts moving to 1620 would be Terry Leahy, the long-time color commentator recently laid off by 1620.

I'm curious what Schick's role at ESPNU would be.  My instinct would be as a studio host or sideline reporter, but you never know.

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