Dickey Broadcasting launches conservative talk station Xtra 106.3/AM1230 with Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Mark Zinno

Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Mark Zinno. AP/TWITTER
Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Mark Zinno. AP/TWITTER

Credit: AP/TWITTER

Credit: AP/TWITTER

The station will keep the programming that replaces Rush’s show and use Fox News

Dickey Broadcasting has launched a new conservative talk station on its Xtra 106.3 FM signal and AM1230 signal anchored by the current Rush Limbaugh show which is using guest hosts and “best of” moments from the late host’s past.

Limbaugh died of lung cancer in February at age 70.

David Dickey, Xtra owner, said in an interview Tuesday with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that as soon as he heard news/talk 95.5/750 WSB chose to drop Limbaugh’s show after his death, Dickey decided to change Xtra’s format from sports to news/talk.

For many years, Dickey had broadcast ESPN sports programming on the signal, then local sports for four years until last fall, designing Xtra like a minor-league training ground for his primary sports talk station 93.7/680 The Fan. The pandemic forced him to cut costs; so last fall, he let go two of his highest-paid talkers Steak Shapiro and John Kincaid and moved Xtra 106.3′s “Hometown” Brandon Leak and Joe Hamilton to the Fan.

He said he signed a four-year agreement with Limbaugh’s syndication company Premiere Networks that requires them to keep Limbaugh and whatever show the syndicator ultimately chooses to replace him on Xtra 106.3. The show now airs on Xtra in Limbaugh’s usual slot of noon to 3 p.m.

In Atlanta, Limbaugh aired for more than two decades on 640/WGST, then moved to WSB in 2012, where he stayed until he died of cancer. WSB last month moved Erick Erickson to the noon to 3 p.m. slot.

Dickey has also committed to Glenn Beck from 9 a.m. to noon, Guy Benson from 3 to 6 p.m., Buck Sexton from 6 p.m. to midnight and George Noory overnights. (The Limbaugh show will repeat from 9 p.m. to midnight.)

For news updates, Xtra 106.3 will use Fox News and Dickey plans to fashion a live and local morning show. For now, he is using former Mark Zinno on Mondays with plans to hire an entire morning show around Zinno. The other mornings, for now, will feature a Fox News radio show.

Zinno had been let go from Xtra last fall during Dickey’s cost-cutting moves, and as an Army veteran, has been working on the COVID-19 task force for the National Guard.

“I’m excited to be back and excited to work with David again,” Zinno said. “There was never any acrimony between him and me. I’m glad he thinks highly enough of me to look at me to lead this venture.”

Dickey said he loves Kim “The Kimmer” Peterson, who lost his last on-air job at Talk 106.7, which Atlanta-based Cumulus Media sold to an outfit that now plays Christian contemporary music. But he decided to go a different route.

Beck and Fox News had previously been used by IHeartMedia’s news/talk 640/WGST-AM, which switched to a Black Information Network format last year.

The FM signal isn’t all that strong outside of Cobb County and North Fulton, while the AM signal does cover much of the metro area.

David Dickey's Xtra 106.3 FM coverage map.
David Dickey's Xtra 106.3 FM coverage map.

Credit: Radio-locator.com

Credit: Radio-locator.com

Dickey said he plans to build listeners via digital sources as much as the traditional AM/FM routes with billboards and other advertising methods.

WSB has been a dominant news/talk force in Atlanta for many years, usually at the top of the Nielsen ratings. In the most recent Nielsen survey, WSB was No. 1 with a 9.2 share, down from an 11.8 share in January.

Another news/talk station recently launched on AM1690 and is dubbed Freedom 1690. Its hosts include Steve Bannon, former Georgia Rep. Doug Collins, Dave Ramsey and Mark Levin.

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