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Radio talk show to cover the local scene

Bobby Heiken has no expectations of knocking Jim Rome off the airwaves, but he strongly believes a local radio sports talk show can be successful in the Rogue Valley.

Heiken, director of sports operations at KTMT-AM 580 and ESPN Radio, will launch his new venture next Monday at Applebee's restaurant in Medford.

The program will run from noon to — p.m. each weekday and will take the place of the final hour of the Tony Kornheiser show.

Heiken, 27, will bring in local sports personalities each day, interview them for a portion of the hour-long episodeand then open up the airwaves to callers.

"This area is so big on its local sports - I think this has the potential to be a real popular show," says Heiken, a 1993 graduate of Mount Shasta (Calif.) High School and a 1997 graduate of Southern Oregon University. "We're going to bring in a lot of coaches and athletes, but we're going to be flexible and do some other things as well."

As part of the variety, Heiken plans to use Thursdays as outdoor days, when he'll interview fishermen, hunters and other outdoor enthusiasts. The outdoor show probably won't make its debut for a couple weeks, Heiken said.

The new show is part of a fresh philosophy from Mapleton Communications, a Los Angeles-based media group that bought six local radio stations - including the local ESPN affiliate - late last year.

Mapleton Communications President Adam Nathenson wants his new stations to implement more of a local flavor, Heiken says.

Heiken joined Mapleton Communications on Jan. 2 following a 41/2-year stint with the Ashland Daily Tidings, including the last nine months as sports editor.

Although new to radio, Heiken has been doing play-by-play at Ashland High basketball games this season, briefly served as the play-by-play man for Southern Oregon Heat football games last spring and has served as the public address announcer at SOU hoop games for the past several years.

"I enjoyed being a reporter, but when this opportunity came up, I couldn't pass it up," Heiken says. "I needed something to recharge my batteries, and this has definitely done that."

Part of Heiken's duties include giving 90-second local sports updates twice hourly from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. during weekdays.

Heiken finds himself working between 55 and 60 hours per week counting his basketball play-by-play and public address duties, along with periodic appearances on Rogue Valley Sports Talk, a Cable Access TV show at SOU. But that's not much different from his days as a sports reporter. And he's having more fun at his new venture.

"I'm able to rest during the afternoon," he says. "I'm becoming a professional napper.

THE PROSPECT HIGH

boys basketball team will forfeit its remaining three games following the suspension of three varsity players last weekend.

The Cougars were scheduled to play home games against Butte Falls today and Paisley Friday and then conclude their season Saturday at North Lake.

Prospect Athletic Director Don Alexander said the players "were involved in some illegal activities" when the team stayed overnight at a Klamath Falls motel room last Friday. Alexander declined to name the players.

Prospect will continue to play out its junior varsity schedule, Alexander said.

NORTH MEDFORD

High senior Jenny Brown has been chosen one of 20 finalists for the Johnny Carpenter Award, which goes to the top male and female high school athletes in the state.

Brown won the singles title at the Class 4A state tennis championships last spring and helped the Black Tornado to the team crown.

Brown also won a state Class 2A cross country championship while competing for St. Mary's in 2000.

Boys finalist include Joe Newton, a standout football, basketball and track athlete at Roseburg, and Lauren Jesperson, a star runner for the Klamath Union cross country and track teams.

Awards will be announced at a Feb. 24 ceremony in Portland.

Reach reporter at 776-4469, or e-mail