08/23/2001 11:00PM

Sports radio goes to extreme


Nothing warms the heart of a sports bettor more than the start of football season. And with more than 80 percent of Las Vegans from another part of the country, there are dozens of "home teams" every autumn Saturday and Sunday.

Some Las Vegas sports bars will cater to specific college and NFL teams. Many local radio stations will become the voice of certain football teams. But no one has ever attempted what 1340-KRLV is trying with sports programming this fall.

KRLV will be the Las Vegas flagship station for no fewer than eight colleges and five NFL teams. KRLV already airs the schedule of the NBA Sacramento Kings and baseball's Anaheim Angels.

The station carries additional sports programming such as the Indy Racing League and NASCAR, sports talks shows featuring Lee Pete, Buzz Daley, and Alex Shelton, plus three horse racing shows: the Race Day Las Vegas Show daily at 9 a.m. Pacific; the RDLV Handicapper's Show at 8 a.m. Pacific on weekends; and the RDLV Wrap-Up Show Wednesday through Sunday at 7 p.m. Pacific. KRLV also will air high school football play-by-play on Friday nights.

The eight colleges are Arizona, Arizona State, Florida State, Hawaii, Oklahoma, Southern Cal, Washington, and Wisconsin. The five NFL teams are the Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens, Seattle Seahawks, Tampa Bay Bucs, and Tennessee Titans.

"The concept was to make college football exactly what it is, second only to the NFL," said Rodd William Stowell, a morning talk show host at the station and its operations manager. "We went after teams that fill up each time zone. That's so we can bring games into different day parts. Then we rounded it out with what Las Vegans call the 'get out game,' Hawaii home games at night."

One reason for having five NFL teams is the opportunity to air a majority of the Sunday and Monday night football packages.

"Alex Shelton is the head of Nevada Sports Network, and he programmed and contracted with all these teams," added Stowell. "To air all these games is a technical challenge, to say the least."

Scheduling overlaps will occur with so many teams. This Labor Day weekend for example, KRLV will air these games: On Friday, Giants-Ravens at 10 a.m. Pacific, Bucs-Falcons at 4 p.m., Clark-Foothill at 7 p.m. On Saturday, Miami (Ohio)-Michigan at 10 a.m., Oklahoma-Air Force at 12:30 p.m., San Jose State-USC at 3:30 p.m., Oregon-Wisconsin at 5 p.m. On Sunday, Twins-Angels at 10 a.m., Indy Racing at 1 p.m., Oregon State-Fresno State at 6 p.m.

Every city has sports radio stations. But no radio station in any city would think of airing this much sports programming. That is, except in Las Vegas, where sports betting is legal.

"You can't deny it," concluded Stowell. "It's nice to say we're airing Wisconsin or Oklahoma football because there are so many Badger and Sooner fans in the area. But that's balderdash. The truth is we have defending champion Oklahoma and the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens because this town is run on gaming and sports betting, and people want to hear the games."

Richard Eng is turf editor for the Las Vegas Review-Journal and host of the Race Day Las Vegas Wrap-Up Show.