News from the Tennessee Valley Sports

Finebaum joins WJOX radio station

BIRMINGHAM (AP) — Paul Finebaum is switching to another Birmingham radio station.

The sports talk show host said Thursday he is leaving WERC-AM to join all-sports station WJOX-FM. His three-year deal with Clear Channel Communications, which paid about $350,000 plus bonuses, expired Friday.

Finebaum could go on the air at WJOX as early as Monday.

Finebaum's show airs from 2-6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

It also is carried on some 20 other stations, mostly in Alabama, under the banner of the Paul Finebaum Radio Network. Finebaum said he expects those affiliates to stay with him.

"It has been an excruciating decision for a lot of reasons, and for one in particular — the fact that I've been at ERC for 13 years," Finebaum told The Birmingham News in a story Friday. "While there are always ups and downs in any situation, it has been, for the most part, a great run."

Finebaum said he has agreed in principle on a three-year deal with Citadel Broadcasting, which owns WJOX. He would not disclose financial terms but said "the potential is much higher."

He said the chance to broadcast his show on an all-sports FM station was a big reason for the move.

"I think they've done a really good job of branding themselves as the premier sports station," Finebaum said of WJOX. "We may have had what some people consider to be the premier sports show, but we weren't on a premier sports station."

WERC is a news-oriented station other than Finebaum's afternoon show. His show was named one of the 12 best sports-talk shows in the country by Sports Illustrated in 2004.

An AM station since 1992, WJOX began broadcasting on the 100.5 FM frequency in November. Its former AM 690 signal is now used by WSPZ-AM, a second all-sports station that Citadel started less than two weeks ago.

Finebaum said Clear Channel raised its offer to him as late as Thursday evening, but that he had already made up his mind to leave.

"We made a great effort at him," said Doug Hamand, Clear Channel's regional vice president of programming. "He is not only a co-worker of mine, but he is one of my personal friends.

"Is my heart broken tonight? Yeah. It's a big loss for us at Clear Channel. Paul is a great guy and we are going to miss him immensely."

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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