WHAS, Clear Channel say door still open for U of L

Clear Channel executives Kelly Carls and Earl Jones said Monday night on Joe Elliot's program that the door is still open for U of L and that talks should continue between the two sides.

Clear Channel executives Earl Jones and Kelly Carls presented their side on Joe Elliot's program Monday night of their company's new deal with the University of Kentucky that will give the Lexington-based school priority over the University of Louisville on the radio beginning in 2007.

U of L, who has enjoyed priority on WHAS in event of scheduling conflicts with UK since 1986, had an option to remain top dog on 840 WHAS during the negotiating process, according to Clear Channel's Jones.

"This started when I first got here about 14 months ago, it wasn't something that just happened," Jones said. "Tom Jurich and I had discussions throughout the process and U of L had first option during the negotiation."

However, according to Carls, U of L's marketing agent, Nelligan, rejected Clear Channel's proposals as "unacceptable." Carls said U of L and Nelligan's objections arose because, "they wanted to negotiate only with WHAS."

However, Carls said Clear Channel wanted to take a broader perspective than did U of L. He further noted that there are a large percentage of Kentucky fans inside Jefferson County, where WHAS is located, and a significant majority of Wildcat supporters throughout the state, and in the surrounding region.

"We wanted to take a regional perspective on this and from a regional perspective there are a lot more blue than red fans," Carls said. "And we had to take that into consideration. This was a business decision."

And even though Clear Channel has agreed to give UK priority on it's flagship station, WHAS, Jones said his door would remain open for U of L, albiet in a secondary position to UK.

"From my standpoint, the door is still open for U of L," Jones said. "This isn't a divorce but an opportunity to help benefit both universities. I won't close the door [with U of L]. The dialogue should not end here."

Long-time WHAS afternoon personality Terry Meiners perhaps summed up the current situation best.

"It's a whole new ball game," Meiners told Lachlan McClain. "It used to be that [Clear Channel] paid to broadcast the games. Now, it's the schools and their marketing agents who pay us to broadcast their games. It's the new world order."

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