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Helmut Schmidt, Published March 16 2012

Former Rock 102 switches to conservative talk

FARGO – A Fargo-Moorhead radio station is preparing to swap out Rush for Rush Limbaugh.

Classic rock station Rock 102 is being rechristened 101.9 FM TALK, the metro area’s newest talk station on the FM dial, its owner announced Friday.

The station will showcase conservative commentary, said talk show host Tom Becka, who is also the station’s program director.

Becka said he was “just very excited about what this is going to offer to the people of Fargo-Moorhead and excited about the new adventure.”

He said all Rock 102 personnel have been reassigned to other duties, and no one lost their jobs due to the format switch.

The daytime lineup at 101.9 Talk FM will include:

E Becka, known for his libertarian political views, will be on the air 6 to 9 a.m. Monday through Friday.

E Brian Kilmeade, host of “Fox and Friends,” will air from 9 to 11 a.m.

E Rush Limbaugh from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

E Sean Hannity from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Three syndicated shows – with hosts J.D. Hayworth, Jason Lewis and Michael Savage – will fill out the weeknight schedule.

Becka said the switch from AM to FM for talk radio is happening across the nation. It makes for the second news-talk station for Radio Fargo-Moorhead, the ownership cluster that also owns KFGO 790 AM.

In the metro area, The Flag 1100 AM has featured largely conservative personalities and has been running Rush Limbaugh’s show. Calls and emails to representatives of Great Plains Integrated Marketing seeking comment were not returned on Friday. GPIM is the parent company of The Flag.

The new FM talk station is not the first in the area. That distinction belongs to KVMI Real Radio 96.7, which followed that format from 1999 into the early 2000s, according to WDAY 970 AM talk radio host Jay Thomas, who worked at the station.

WDAY-AM, like The Forum, is owned by Forum Communications Co.

Becka praised Radio Fargo-Moorhead owner Jim Ingstad and chief operating officer Nancy Odney as “very progressive, very forward thinking” in making the move to FM talk.

Becka was most recently the afternoon drive talk host for KFAB in Omaha, but lost that position when Clear Channel sought to cut costs in October.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Helmut Schmidt at (701) 241-5583