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KHTK and The Bee, Friends Again

In case you haven't noticed, The Bee and Sports 1140 KHTK settled their differences. Bee sports writers are again appearing on KHTK programming. I heard Jason Jones (the Raiders beat writer) Friday; I suspect others will ebb and flow as well.

Bee sports editor Bill Bradley told me via email there will be at least one regular program hosted by a local writer: Martin McNeal is getting his own show. Yep, Talking Smack with Marty Mac will be coming to you live... at 8 am Sunday mornings. (Nice hedge by KHTK there. Gary Gelfand's horse-racing show has a better timeslot.)

For those of you interested in what kept Bee writers off KHTK so long? Well, the contract between the two parties was due to come up for renewal. There was a sticking point of some sort; very possibly regarding Marty Mac's show, a source told me. These negotiations were coming as Grant Napear spent a week talking incredible smack about McNeal (stemming from that Jason Hart debacle), Sam Amick (he called him a 'liar' during a Kings broadcast), and Bradley. Basically, Napear ripped everyone from The Bee's sports desk. I'm told Bee executive editor Rick Rodriguez stepped in and ended negotiations on the spot.

Things festered until very recently -- which meant no Sam Amick on local radio during the last three months of the Kings' season, no Sam Amick on local radio during the draft, no Sam Amick on local radio during the height of trade season. I don't need to tell you Amick covers the Kings better than any TV or radio personality locally; you know that. And it's not likely missing Amick and McNeal and the spare Ailene Voisin appearance hurt KHTK in the ratings. But something did, be it ESPN's new station or the general 'Kings suck' malaise. KHTK's advantage is its local coverage. When your drive-time host craps on the best local reporters and those reporters stop appearing, your advantage shrinks. KHTK will need every dog it can herd to fight off ESPN, including Amick and McNeal. And The Bee certainly prefers KHTK to ESPN; it's the difference between 30 seconds of air time about that crazy Ron Artest and 10 minutes on Francisco Garcia's development under Reggie Theus. When the locals cooperate, it's better for us locals.

So I'm glad The Bee and KHTK are working together again. I'll even try to listen to Mac's show. (But 8 am? Jesus... literally. I gotta go to church, man!)