On the radio: 102.5 switching to sports

Hopkins, McFarland first new talent under WPRT re-format; Cumulus' Citadel buy delayed

The Cromwell Group will switch to an all-sports format for radio station 102.5.

The company set up a Facebook page for 102.5 The Game hours after the re-format was confirmed by a trade website. Radio Insight reported that WPRT — currently branded as The Party — will switch to a sports format and rebrand as The Game in the coming weeks, as tipped off by Cromwell's domain registering spree of late July.

The publication also confirmed the hiring of longtime Nashville sports-talk personality Darren McFarland and former Tennessee Titan Brad Hopkins as hosts of The First Quarter, the station's morning drive-time show. The pair are currently in the midday slot on WNSR 560 AM.

WPRT will be the third all-sports station in the Nashville market, joining WNSR and ratings giant 104.5 The Zone WGFX.

It is expected the Nashville Predators, whose radio home this past season was the Cromwell-owned active-rock station 102.9 The Buzz, will anchor WPRT's lineup.

Citadel, owner of 104.5, is currently in the midst of a merger with Cumulus Media, but the latter is now saying that merger — originally slated for the end of this month — will now be completed by year's end and no sooner than Sept. 15.

The merger provides an interesting wrinkle to the story, as Cumulus and Nashville sports mainstay and 104.5 afternoon show host George Plaster have a contentious history. When Cumulus purchased WWTN from Gaylord Entertainment in 2003, Plaster announced he was leaving for WGFX. Just before he was scheduled to debut, Cumulus enjoined the host and sought to quash his new contract, citing a non-compete clause he signed with WWTN. The company then filed a breach-of-contract suit against Plaster, who countered with a restraint-of-trade suit of his own. In the meantime, WGFX put McFarland and Willie Daunic in drive-time until Plaster returned two months later after a settlement with Gaylord and Cumulus.

Last season, Daunic, who remains Plaster's co-host, hosted pre- and post-game shows for the Predators on Cromwell's airwaves despite being a Citadel employee.