PETE ROSE GOT THROWN OUT in his first at bat as a sports-radio talk-show host. But he didn't set the record for most hits in a career by skulking in the dugout. Now, he has moved to a startup all-sports radio syndicator, SportsFan Radio.
Since March, 1992, Rose has done a two-hour show from a table at his Pete Rose Ballpark Cafe in Boca Raton, Fla., taking listeners' calls and jawing with all the luminaries of liniment, from horseman D. Wayne Lukas to Hall-of-Fame hoopster Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. But ratings were mediocre. The program was dropped in Rose's old stomping ground of Cincinnati when the station there changed formats on Feb. 1. WJNO in West Palm Beach, the first station to carry Rose, dropped him earlier this year.
Rose says his new venue, SportsFan, has 140 stations on board and hopes to have 205 by March. SportsFan CEO Kyle Heinrich said Rose's previous syndicator, Katz Radio, made no real effort to market the show.
Oh, yeah? Bonnie Press, senior vice-president of Katz Radio Group Sales, says the syndicator tried hard but the show was a tough sell. One problem: Some people haven't forgiven Rose for gambling, the activity that got him banned from baseball for life. Carl Desens