Telesouth Communications Inc
IndustryRadio[1]
PredecessorMississippi Agriculture and News Network[1]
Headquarters6311 Ridgewood Road, ,
US[1]
Area served
Mississippi[1]
Key people
Steve Davenport CEO (2022)
OwnerSteve Davenport[2]
Number of employees
140 (2015)[3]
WebsiteOfficial website

Telesouth Communications Inc, also known as Supertalk Mississippi Media, is an American, commercial radio network based in Jackson, Mississippi. Its stations across Mississippi broadcast either a music format, or conservative news / talk and sport under the Supertalk brand.[1][3]

The network's talk stations carry a mix of syndicated national shows; its programming, and material produced at the individual stations. Sports schedules are matched to teams based in local markets.[4][1][5]

History

In 1979, Steve Davenport was hired to manage the Love Communications owned Mississippi Agriculture and News Network in Jackson, Mississippi. Shortly afterwards it was purchased by Baton Rouge based Interstate Communications and merged with Louisiana Network Inc. Soon, production of news reports and short features for Mississippi radio stations evolved to include longer lifestyle, and sports phone-in programs.[1]

The firm began broadcasting live football and basketball from the University of Southern Mississippi in 1984 and went on to take sports broadcast franchises for the University of Mississippi and University of Southern Mississippi. As well as programming for Mississippi and Louisiana, the South Carolina News Network was also produced from Jackson until 2008.[1][2]

Following disagreement over a $25,000 annual franchise fee for the Ole Miss Rebels Steve Davenport and his business partners the Hanley family of Hazlehurst agreed to purchase Interstate Communications' Mississippi market business, Mississippi Networks Inc, for $300,000 in 1985. Davenport bought out the Hanley's stake in 2008.[2][1]

Amidst financial turmoil in 1988, Telesouth sold its newly acquired Biloxi radio station. However, it went on to buy radio stations, eventually covering all 82 counties of Mississippi.[2]

In 1995, the business name was changed to Telesouth Communications Inc, and in 1997 current flagship WFMN (Flora) and WTCD (Indianola) stations were purchased and converted to pioneer a "Supertalk" conservative talk show format.[1][2][3]

Jackson State Tigers football was added to the sport broadcast roster in 1998, and the Southern Urban News Network was established to produce news features for radio stations in urban markets across Mississippi. The Urban News Network was merged with the firm's Mississippi News Network in 2011.[1]

Telesouth began to divest college sports broadcast franchises from 2011, and to purchase music radio stations. The franchise agreement with Ole Miss had been renewed in 2007 guaranteeing a minimum fee of $27 million over ten years and substantial investment by the broadcaster in facilities at Vaught–Hemingway Stadium, including a $6 million jumbotron. The agreement was taken over by Learfield in 2012. The franchise fee, payable by Telesouth to the University of Mississippi, for its final year of Ole Miss Rebels football was $3 million.[6][2][1][7]

The purchases included Biloxi music stations from Alpha Media in 2018.[1][8]

Between 2013 and 2018, sport, and then feel-good and lifestyle programming, was added to the Supertalk format broadcast on Telesouth's 12 radio stations.[1]

In 2019, the company began video broadcast of Supertalk programming on C Spire cable.[1]

Radio stations

  kHz, Long wave     MHz, FM
License city Format Cl­ass ERP watts
WFMM 97.3 Sumrall[i] Supe­rtalk A 6,000 [9][10][4]
WFMN 97.3 Flora[ii] Supe­rtalk C3 19,500 [11][12][9]
WFTA 101.9 Fulton[iii] Supe­rtalk C2 50,000 [9][5][13]
WKBB 100.9 Mantee Supe­rtalk C2 47,000 [9][14][15]
WLAU 99.3 Heidel­berg[iv] Supe­rtalk C2 50,000 [9][16][17]
WOSM 103.1 Ocean Springs Supe­rtalk C2 50,000 [9][18][19]
WTNM 93.7 Court­land Supe­rtalk C3 11,000 [9][20][21]
WRQO 102.1 Monti­cello[v] Supe­rtalk C2 50,000 [9][22][23]
WTCD 96.9 Indian­ola Supe­rtalk C2 16,500 [9][24][25]
WXRZ 94.3 Corinth Supe­rtalk C3 25,000 [9][26][27]
WZKR 103.3 Colins­ville[vi] Supe­rtalk C3 6,000 [9][28][29]
WMPK 93.5 Summit Supe­rtalk A 6,000 [9][30][31]
WKCU 92.9 Corinth Country D 250 [32][33][34]
1350 D 400
WCNA 95.9 Potts Camp[iii] Mix95.9 (Hits) C3 14,000 [32][35]
WQLJ 105.5 Water Valley Q105 (Hits) A 4,700 [32][36][37]
WOXF 105.1 Oxford A 1,600
WYMX 99.1 Green­wood Max99 (Classic hits) C0 96,000 [32][38]
WLZA 96.1 Eupora Lazer 96.1 (Hits) C2 40,000 [32][39]
WBZL 103.3 Green­wood Possum (Cou­ntry) C3 25,000 [32][40]
WDXO 92.9 Hazle­hurst Jack FM (hits) A 2,700 [32][41][42]
WOEG 1220 D 164
WCPR 97.9 D'Iber­ville CPR Rocks (Rock) C2 50,000 [32][43]
WXYK 105.9 Pasca­goula The Monkey (Top 40) C3 25,000 [32][44]
WGBL 96.7 Gulfport G-96.7 (hip hop) A 4,300 [32][45]
W292GD 106.3 Biloxi Bob FM (Adult hits) D 250 [32][46][47][48]
WANG 1490 C 1,000
WTNI 1640 B 10,000
  1. ^ For Hattiesburg
  2. ^ For Jackson
  3. ^ a b For Tupelo
  4. ^ For Laurel
  5. ^ For Brookhaven
  6. ^ For Meridian

Talk shows

As of 2022, Supertalk's schedule includes:-

Network

National

The J T and Dave Show

J T Williamson and Dave Ingram began to co-host the J T & Dave Show on Supertalk in 2002. Long time producer and occasional on-air contributor was “Scary” Gary O’Cain. Their guests on the show were often prominent Mississippi politicians and the pair addressed controversial topics in the state from a conservative perspective. The daily, three hour shows campaigned for charter schools and to repeal traffic camera legislation. Phone in callers that disagreed with the presenters were characteristically dealt with in a robust manner. Ingram left the show in 2010 and the abrupt nature of his departure prompted speculation on internet forums.[56][57][58][59][60][61]

The show was briefly renamed Air Bubba, then the J T Show, and in a departure from interviewing Mississippi's state politicians in 2016, it hosted British campaigner Nigel Farage. Williamson announced he had been diagnosed with Lymphoma in 2020, and died that year.[62][63][59][64][65]

News networks

As of 2022, Supertalk's general, statewide news service is carried by 48 Mississippi affiliate radio stations. Thirty six broadcast its Agrinews package covering commodity prices and farming topics.[66][67]

College athletes' image rights

Telesouth Communications Inc was one of the defendants in a putative class action lawsuit brought by Steven Clarke and nine other amateur college athletes. They alleged athletic conferences, broadcast networks and licensing agencies (including Telesouth) improperly colluded to exclude them from the market for their image rights, and set those fees they received at zero or lower than what they would otherwise have achieved.[68][69][70][71]

Judge Kevin H Sharp's 2015 decision in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee accepted that college sports was "big business", but concluded the way athletes had been required to surrender their images rights was lawful.[72][68]

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "About Us". Supertalk Mississippi. Archived from the original on April 12, 2022. Retrieved August 12, 2022.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Combest, Casey. "Steve Davenport of TeleSouth Communications from Made In Mississippi on Hark". Hark. Archived from the original on August 13, 2022. Retrieved August 12, 2022.
  3. ^ a b c "Jackson County Chamber Spotlight: SuperTalk 103.1 brings conservative news to coast". gulflive. April 15, 2015. Archived from the original on August 13, 2022. Retrieved August 12, 2022.
  4. ^ a b "Hattiesburg :: 97.3". Supe­rtalk Mississippi. Archived from the original on August 12, 2022. Retrieved August 12, 2022.
  5. ^ a b "Tupelo :: 101.9". Supe­rtalk Mississippi. Archived from the original on June 25, 2022. Retrieved August 12, 2022.
  6. ^ "Ole Miss Extends Contract with TeleSouth; New Media Rights Agreement Worth $27 Million Minimum Over 10 Years". Ole Miss Athletics. August 15, 2007. Archived from the original on August 13, 2022. Retrieved August 13, 2022.
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  35. ^ "WCNA-FM 95.9 MHz - Potts Camp, MS". radio-locator.com. Archived from the original on November 6, 2012. Retrieved August 12, 2022.
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Coordinates: 32°23′51″N 90°08′37″W / 32.3975°N 90.1435°W / 32.3975; -90.1435