Local radio listeners will have another option for their Arizona Wildcats basketball pre- and postgame needs.
Brad Allis and John Schuster, who were not asked back to 1290-AM (KCUB) after last season, will pop up on KFFN 1490-AM (ESPNTucson) starting Thursday with Arizona Game Day.
The pregame show will last an hour, starting two hours before tip-off. So, the show debuts at 5 p.m. Thursday in advance of the top-ranked Cats game at UCLA, which begins at 7 p.m. on ESPN.
The two-hour postgame show will begin just minutes after the end of the game, allowing them to get a half-hour jump or so on the 1290 postgame show, which has to wrap-up courtside with coach Sean Miller’s interview and final thoughts before throwing it back to the studio.
Schuster and Allis, who helps run WildcatSportsReport.com and has been a contributor to TucsonCitizen.com, spent about a decade together on the pre- and postgame shows for Arizona football and basketball, building a loyal following.
“I am still getting emails and tweets about it, as is the old station,” Allis said of 1290′s decision to not bring back him and Schuster. “I thought we were well-liked, but the outpouring of support was even more than I knew.”
KCUB brought in two basketball Wildcats of the 1990s — Kelvin Eafon and Corey Williams — for its pregame show to work with host Rob Lantz. Eafon, who gained greater fame as a touchdown-scoring running back on UA’s 12-1 team in 1998, is active in coaching youth and travel-ball teams. Williams, always sharp, is available only part time because of his duties as a game analyst for the Fox and ESPN networks.
KCUB has a three-hour pregame show in an unusual format. The first hour is taped and then replayed twice. The last of the replays will compete with the live call-in Arizona Game Day.
On the down side, 1490 does not stream its feed on the internet; KCUB does. One more thing: there will be no pre- and post-game shows this Sunday on 1490 when Arizona plays at USC because of station conflicts with NFL games.
(Side note: I know all of the people involved here to some degree — and probably will be an occasional guest on Arizona Game Day — and am hoping both shows benefit from the competition. I’ll celebrate any sports media jobs that become available in town. The winners here will be the listeners, who have a choice.)
Allis and Schuster don’t have a player’s perspective, but they have displayed their analytic skills and have a long first-hand knowledge from covering Arizona athletics — in Schuster’s case back to the days of Pop McKale (we kid, we kid). Their friendship is evident in their on-air banter, which was part of the reason they were well-liked.
“There were a lot of folks who took a lot of time to contact folks at the U of A and at the radio station,” Schuster said of the support they received. “That outpouring was touching and surprising at the same time, and I think it played a significant role in ESPNTucson seeing value in what we can do.”