New midday hosts at 790/The Zone: Tony Barnhart and Wes Durham

By Rodney Ho, originally filed Sept. 2, 2010

As rumored last week, 790/The Zone (recently folded into Lincoln Financial Media) has announced new mid-day hosts after Brandon Adams left the building: football experts Tony Barnhart and Wes Durham.

Their show debuts Friday, Sept. 3, and will air from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., cutting an hour from "Mayhem in the AM."

"There's a strong appetite from our audience for both Tony and Wes, who are arguably the preeminent college football voices in our own backyard." said Neal Maziar, station manager, in a quote post-cleared by Saltzman. "To expand them from experts who are providing analysis only a couple of days a week each to creating a daily show and giving our audience something they've wanted for so long was a no brainer."

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Andrew Saltzman, the Zone's longtime general manager,said Lincoln Financial and its financial wherewithal helped enable the station to afford to hire Durham and Barnhart on a full-time basis.

In internal research with listeners, "nobody scores higher than Tony and Wes," he said.

Senior Vice President Rick Mack, Saltzman's new boss who also oversees top 40 station Star 94, "made this happen because he believes in the brand."

Brandon's former on-air partner Jeff Woolverton will continue to be a sideline reporter on Georgia Tech radio network and will work with 790thezone.com. He will also do fill-in work.

Barnhart and Durham have been long-time contributors to the Zone, hosting a weekly college football radio show.

Barnhart writes the Mr. College Football blog on ajc.com. He also contributes to CBS's "College Football Today" and the "Tony Barnhart Show" on CBS College Sports South.

Durham has done play-by-play for Georgia Tech football since 1995 and the Atlanta Falcons since 2004.

To accommodate their busy schedules during the football season, Barnhart will be off on Tuesdays to tape his CBS show while Durham will not work the full three hours that day. The station will use fill-ins during their absence.

Barnhart said the show will naturally focus on college football  during the season but it won't preclude them from talking pro football or other sports as well. He said he keeps track of other sports just by his very nature so talking about golf or baseball won't be a stretch.