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|talkSPORT Station History
From Talk Radio UK to talkSPORT
January: talkSPORT get their highest RAJAR radio figures to date. According to official figures from Radio Joint Audience Research, talkSPORT had an audience of 2.4m in the final three months of 2001 - up 11.7% on the previous year. talkSPORT's market share also grew by to 1.6%.
Football commentator and 605 presenter Steve Bower leaves the station in order to join Manchester United’s official television channel, MUTV, to become their main football commentator. Sportswatch presenter Gigi Salmon soon follows Bower onto television, becoming a presenter on Chelsea TV.
February: Having covered live darts and poker in the past, talkSPORT air live wrestling on Saturday February 9th. However, the SWAT Revival event comes with a difference – it is being promoted by talkSPORT presenter Tommy Boyd as part of his Talk Wrestling show.
Monday February 25th sees the launch of non-stop sports radio station TEAMtalk 252, a direct competitor to talkSPORT. Jon Meek and George Riley host The Full Sports Breakfast, with former talkSPORT presenters Jamie Broadbent and James H Reeve also part of the stations weekday line-up.
March: Formula 1 racing driver Eddie Irvine wins a High Court battle with talkSPORT after the station used a doctored photograph of him in an advertising brochure, with him being awarded £3,000 by the High Court.
April: On Thursday 11th April, the sackings of Tommy Boyd and his production team of Zack Daunt-Jones and Peter Reed are announced to the press. According to a talkSPORT spokesperson, the decision to fire them was put down to their “failure to block the remarks of a caller from going out on air,” despite the call in question, from a man threatening to shoot the Royal Family hours after the death of the Queen Mother, only receiving one complaint to the Radio Authority, after Boyd had distanced himself and the station from the views of the caller. Iain Meadows, going under the name of Mark Green, is the initial replacement for Boyd.
May: It is announced that weekday overnight presenter Ian Collins will replace Tommy Boyd in the weekend evening slot, with him presenting a new programme entitled Ian Collins: Unbranded. Friday May 31st sees the final ever Ian Collins and the Creatures of the Night to be broadcast, with the programme having been the longest running show in the history of Talk Radio/talkSPORT. Mark Green and the Creatures of the Night is to take over the weekday 1:00am-5:00am slot.
Alan Parry does his last radio football commentary to date, with him commentating alongside Alvin Martin on Arsenal’s 2-0 FA Cup Final win over Chelsea at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. Parry would not commentate on the 2002 World Cup for talkSPORT, instead presenting a Sunday evening phone-in entitled Alan Parry’s World Cup, with the Sky Sports commentator joining 1548am Capital Gold London as their main football anchorman at the start of the 2002/03 season.
talkSPORT announce details of their unofficial 2002 World Cup coverage, flagging up the fact that they are unable to broadcast live from the stadia in Korea and Japan, with them taking out full page advertisements in national newspapers containing the tag line “It’s unauthorised. It’s unofficial. And it’s brilliant.” Jim Proudfoot and Alvin Martin are to be talkSPORT’s main commentary team from the talkSPORT Towers in London, with talkSPORT’s Chief Football Correspondent Jon Driscoll the stations unofficial reporter and commentator on secondary matches and Dom McGuinness as their Man In Japan. talkSPORT also announce plans for the 2002 Today programme – a World Cup review and reaction show presented by Football First anchorman Adrian Durham with a top team of studio guests, being broadcast after all the days games had ended.
June: talkSPORT provide live and unofficial full match commentary on all of England and the Republic of Ireland matches, as well as other major 2002 World Cup games, including England’s 1-0 win over Argentina, with commentary from Jim Proudfoot and Alvin Martin.
On Sunday June 30th, talkSPORT cover their first World Cup Final, Brazil’s 2-0 win over Germany in Yokohama, with Alan Brazil and Mike Parry broadcasting the No Nonsense Sports Breakfast from a Brazilian bar and Jim Proudfoot and Alvin Martin doing commentary from talkSPORT studios in London. The talkSPORT schedule for that days is as follows:
6:00am Fisherman's Blues with Keith Arthur 8:00am The No Nonsene Sports Breakfast with Alan Brazil & Mike Parry 12:00pm 2002 World Cup Final: Brazil v Germany with Jim Proudfoot & Alvin Martin 3:00pm 2002 Today with Adrian Durham, Steve Hodge & Raphael Honigstein 6:00pm Alan Parry’s World Cup 8:00pm Steve Norris 10:00pm Ian Collins: Unbranded 1:00am Joe Holland .
July: Monday July 3rd is a sad day for talkSPORT, as it is announced that former Sound Advice presenter Gary Jacobs had died. He was 55. James Whale pays tribute to his friend at the beginning of his show.
With former TEAMtalk Media Group owner Bill Wilson having to sell the group to UK Betting, and with the betting organisation sacking nearly a third of the stations staff, nearly leading to a strike the previous month, UK Betting are left with no option but to close down sports radio station TEAMtalk 252. Former talkSPORT presenter James H Reeve presents the final sign off on Wednesday 31st July.
August: talkSPORT decide to swap timeslots for the presenters of the stations weekday afternoon and drivetime shows. Paul Hawksbee and Andy Jacobs self-titled show is placed in the 1:00pm-4:00pm slot, with Afternoon Sportzone presenter Richard Kaufman being moved in the other direction, with him presenting a show simply titled The Sportzone in the 4:00pm-7:00pm slot.
More schedule changes are made, this time to the stations weekend schedule. Former Two Mac, Sky Sports Rob McCaffrey returns to the station to present Sunday evening football phone-in 605. McCaffrey would also present Football First Early Kick-Off alongside Paul Walsh. Chris Cooper and Micky Quinn replace Ian St John and Graham Beecroft on Sunday between 2:00pm-6:00pm with a Football First.
Former Sportswatch presenter Jon Driscoll leaves the station in order to become a freelance football reporter, primarily for BBC Radio Five Live. Dom McGuinness replaces him as talkSPORT's Chief Football Reporter.
September: talkSPORT provide live coverage on the 34th Ryder Cup golf tournament from The Belfry in Staffordshire. Rupert Bell, Robert Lee and John Hawksworth commentate on Europe’s famous victory over the USA, with top US golf writer Bob Bubka reporting for the station.
talkSPORT give former Republic of Ireland Tony Cascarino his first job in the broadcasting, as he is chosen to present a new-look Sunday Sports Breakfast, alongside Sunday People Sports Editor Lee Clayton.
October: talkSPORT announce that they have offloaded rights to England’s winter tour of Australia, including rights for the famous Ashes test match series, with them selling the rights to BBC Radio Four and BBC Five Live Sports Extra. On doing this, they recoup £400,000 of £500,000 they spent on these exclusive rights originally back in 1999. The station say there decision is down to the fact that main commentator Geoffrey Boycott would be unable to commentate, due to him contracting throat cancer, however many newspapers allege this decision was made due to them not being able to find enough interest from advertisers to be able to fund the broadcasting of the tour.
November: Despite not being able to cover the series with live commentary, talkSPORT reporters Mike Bovill and former England captain Tony Greig go to Australia to provide reports on The Ashes test series.
December: talkSPORT management announce plans for the stations first ever music show. An easy listening music show entitled Champagne & Roses with Gerald Harper, would be broadcast between 8:00pm-10:00pm on Saturday nights, with the show replacing the wrestling show introduced by Tommy Boyd time in this timeslot, Talk Wrestling with Alex Shane.
2003: Schedule Changes, Sponsorships & the Great Radio Listening Figures Debate
January: Siemens Mobile sign up to a sponsorship deal worth in excess of £250,000 with talkSPORT, in order for them to sponsor the Richard Kaufman drivetime show and to become the stations official mobile phone partner. Click here to read talkSPORT Station History for 2003.