After nearly three years of being a loyal broadcast affiliate, Heartland Newsfeed Radio Network is making a schedule change. As a result, the network will no longer be carrying a Chicago-based nationally-syndicated talk program on Sunday night going forward.
Beyond The Beltway with Bruce DuMont has been a fixture on the Sunday night schedule since February 2020. The program has been airing every Sunday night on tape delay at 9 p.m. Central.
However, ever since the program relocated from the Museum of Broadcast Television to Chicago’s AM 560 The Answer last year, the audio delivery for tape delay broadcasts has been less than optimal.
“As a result of these late audio deliveries, certain episodes never aired,” said Heartland Newsfeed Radio Network general manager Jake Leonard. “This was mainly because the audio deliveries were at 10 p.m. or later.”
Programming and engineering staff tried various methods in getting audio for the tape delay broadcast. However, those attempts would often result in questionable audio quality.
“We have roughly an hour to get the audio from Facebook or YouTube for the tape delay broadcast,” said HNRN broadcast engineer Benji Hardison. “We would do what we could through Adobe Audition or Audacity to make it presentable. Sadly, it would result in a broadcast not optimal to our standards for the tape delay of a syndicated program.”
“When we cannot receive audio files in a timely manner, it makes us look bad as a digital broadcaster,” Leonard said. “After just over a year since the move, the audio delivery times have become later and later. Last week, audio delivery was at 11 p.m., which would be when the tape delay broadcast ends.”
Booking a replacement program for the 9 p.m. Sunday slot
Rather than booking two hours of news and commercials, Leonard started seeking solutions. This would involve securing a two-hour program, whether live or on tape delay, beginning in February.
“There are not very many programs that have a live broadcast at 9 p.m., so our options were quite limited,” said Leonard. “Some programs don’t like to be on tape delay. Finding the right program willing to allow tape delay broadcasts can often be a struggle.”
However, Leonard and the network programming staff chose to look into established radio network partnerships. This is where San Francisco-based Sports Byline USA was brought up.
“We’ve been happy with our broadcast relationship with Sports Byline since we launched the network in 2018,” Leonard said. “When our staff looked at the current network schedule and pinpointed a potential solution, I was somewhat surprised to find a live program we could air at this 9 p.m. time slot.”
SpeedFreaks as the Sunday solution
It did not take long after the discovery that the nationally-syndicated motorsports program SpeedFreaks would be an excellent solution to the network’s current problem.
“We and our listeners enjoy the programming that Sports Byline has provided over the years,” Hardison stated. “As a news and sports talk radio network, several of its programs have filled in crucial spots in our schedule.”
Shows airing on the network include Wrestling Observer Live!, Ring Talk Worldwide, Sports Econ 101, and its namesake syndicated program Sports Byline USA, hosted by network founder Ron Barr.
“An extra bonus was that the show airs for a full two hours,” Hardison added. “We could still plug in our commercial breaks in accordance with their network breaks.”
Due to an existing agreement with Sports Byline USA, there won’t be any additional paperwork involved in carrying the program.
Sneak peak underway, official debut next week
Since Sunday night’s (May 14) audio files did not arrive in a timely manner, the broadcast team would opt to make an executive decision. That decision was quickly greenlit by Leonard.
“We just couldn’t keep waiting for untimely audio deliveries anymore,” Leonard said. “We just opted to give our listeners a sneak peak of what SpeedFreaks has to offer.”
At the time of this story, SpeedFreaks is midway through its sneak peek and will end at 11 p.m.
SpeedFreaks will officially debut on the network on Sunday, May 21 at 9 p.m. Central.
Schedules will be updated on Monday to reflect the change. It will not impact the rest of the existing Sunday night schedule.
About Heartland Newsfeed Radio Network
Heartland Newsfeed Radio Network is an Internet-exclusive news and sports talk network based in Nokomis, Illinois, U.S. Initially founded in 2010 as WWPM MediaNet, its first iteration shut down in June 2013. Its revival and rebrand to its current namesake in 2018 would serve as an extension to the Heartland Newsfeed news brand.
The network’s programming is distributed across two media groups, Heartland Media Group of Central Illinois and Schray Media, and its affiliated news websites. Collectively, with further distribution to TuneIn, Spreaker, Live365, and other streaming platforms, the network’s programming can be heard in 37 countries with future plans to broadcast via satellite to remote portions of the world.
SpeedFreaks is the country’s largest motorsports/lifestyle radio show covering everything from NASCAR to IndyCar, drags to Supercross, off-road to sports cars. Hosted by Kenny Sargent, Crash Gladys, and Statt Mann the show features not only motorsports big-timers in the Freak Nation but also some of the biggest names in music, sports, and entertainment sitting in with the Freaks as well.
About Sports Byline USA Radio Network
Sports Byline USA, owned by Barr Media Group, distributes programming to more than 200 satellite radio stations in the U.S. The network also broadcasts on other platforms such as SiriusXM, iHeart Radio, Stitcher, and Apple Podcasts.
Additionally, Sports Byline USA content is the primary sports programming partner for the American Forces Network.