Sports junkies get ready - the area's first 24-hour sports radio network is coming.

Local station KKEE - 1230 on your AM radio dial - will be converting to an all-sports format beginning Monday morning.

It's "all happening pretty fast," said KAST sports director Matt Richert, who will host a daily, hour-long sports talk show Monday through Friday, in addition to the nationally-syndicated shows which will air daily.

Station management had talked about an all-sports lineup in the past, Richert said, but only recently put the wheels in motion.

New general manager Paul Mitchell, from Victorville, Calif., has been a "major proponent" of the all-sports programming, he said.

KKEE was a country music station, then recently converted to an oldies music format. Oldies music can still be heard on other local New Northwest Broadcast stations.

ESPN Radio programming scheduleCurrent ESPN Radio programming:

• "The Herd," with Colin Cowherd, 7-10 a.m.

• "The Dan Patrick Show," 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

• "SportsBash," 1-4 p.m.

• "Pardon the Interruption," ESPN Radio's version of the popular sports show which runs daily on ESPN television.

• "GameNight," 4:30-10 p.m.

ESPN Radio also carries "AllNight with Todd Wright," and the "Mike & Mike in the Morning" show."I'd say there's a greater niche for sports talk," said Richert, reporting that the station will include "day-to-day ESPN programming, plus locally produced sports talk shows" and athletic events.

"Lots of games," said Richert. Listeners could potentially hear Monday Night Football broadcasts, plus the World Series, Super Bowl, NBA Playoffs and ESPN's "Sunday Night Baseball."

The station will also air various local high school baseball playoff games next month, and may eventually become home to the Beavers, Ducks, Seahawks, Blazers and Mariners.

For those who need a sports fix - morning, day and night - the all-sports network should fulfill that need.

Among other shows, the station plans to pick up the "Jim Rome Show," which is broadcast by ESPN; "The Herd," a sports talk show hosted by KGW News Channel 8's Colin Cowherd, which was recently picked up nationally.

"Obviously people are familiar with Jim Rome," Richert said. "He has an audience, and Colin Cowherd has name recognition being from Portland.

"Then on the heels of Colin Cowherd's show, we'll have Dan Patrick," the popular ESPN sportscaster who hosts a radio show of his own.

Richert's "Sports Talk" show, which previously ran from 8 to 9 a.m. Fridays on KAST, will become a daily show on KKEE, Monday through Friday, from 6 to 7 a.m.

"Sports Wrap," a half-hour show Saturdays at 10:30 a.m., will continue to run at its current time.

The station may eventually bring on other voices for local programming, but for now, "you're stuck with me, whether you like me or not," Richert said.

Currently, "I'm essentially trying to squeeze a large amount of sports into three-minute segments," said Richert, whose Coastwatch sports updates run at 25 and 50 minutes after the hour every morning on KAST.

Now, with an hour-long show every day, "I'll have a chance to go more in-depth," he said.

The bottom line behind the local sports programming will - as always - be whether the local interest and support is there, in the form of advertising.

Richert is still concerned about the future of local sporting events being broadcast.

"This is a great area and the people here love sports, but it's a constant battle to find enough interest," to support local play-by-play broadcasts, he said.

With KKEE switching to an all-sports format, those feelings may change with an all-day, all-night sports network.

"For people looking for "Monday Night Football," the Super Bowl, "Sunday Night Baseball" or the popular talk shows - bam, it's right there."

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