A daylong roster of local and syndicated talk radio will be hitting the airwaves Monday when WENJ-AM 1450 gets a new format and new call letters.
The schedule of WPG Talk Radio 1450 will feature local talk radio host Harry Hurley being joined on the airwaves by national talk radio broadcasters Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity, among others. The station had been broadcasting sports programming as ESPN-1450. South Jersey sports fans can still listen to WENJ-FM 97.3, which is retaining its current ESPN format.
Both stations are owned by Townsquare Media LLC, the Connecticut-based media corporation that also owns area radio stations Cat Country 107.3, Lite-Rock 96.9 and SoJo 104.9.
"The idea is that we are going to have a healthy blend of live and local (programming) that people enjoy and some of the biggest names in the country," said Hurley, who was named senior programming consultant for WPG. "Glenn Beck is not in this market. Sean Hannity is not in this market. People are going to notice."
The change brings an all-talk format back to 1450 AM, which is based in Northfield, and returns classic radio call letters to the Atlantic City area. The WPG call letters were originally used by a municipal radio station operated by Atlantic City out of Boardwalk Hall in the 1920s and 1930s. The letters stand for "The World's Playground." The are also similar to the call letters for WFPG-FM 96.9.
"We just love the idea of going back and reclaiming the heritage of WPG ... for a new generation," said Hurley, who added he did not think listeners would be confused by the similarity in the two station's call letters.
Hurley, 52, said Friday he will announce the changes on air during his show Monday morning. The new schedule continues Hurley's "Hurley in the Morning" talk show from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. weekdays. The rest of the weekday schedule includes Beck from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Hannity from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., conservative commentator Mark Levin from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., John Batchelor's news magazine from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. and "Red Eye Radio" from 1 a.m. to 6 a.m. "Red Eye Radio" is hosted by Eric Harley and Garry McNamara. Harley talks about issues pertaining to truckers - who are avid listeners of late-night radio - while conservative radio host McNamara talks about political issues, Hurley said.
The station is planning another local program from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays, but is not yet ready to announce a host, according to Hurley.
Hurley said the station has been working on the format change since he returned to WENJ-1450 AM in July.
"We have been working on this pretty hard. We couldn't start any sooner. We are excited that we are going to be starting this two weeks before election day," said Hurley, who has been involved in radio for 21 years.
In addition to the new hosts, the station will continue broadcasting local high school sports, WPG Program Director Chris Coleman said Friday.
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