'Corner' on the market
June 11, 2008 · Updated 4:48 PM
"You could call Jim Portune a radio talk-show host if you wanted.But Portune, who runs KITZ-AM's Saturday morning Coaches' Corner sports show, more likely would call himself a facilitator of the two hours of air time. Or maybe even a student.I'm just a local guy, having fun, says Portune, a Bremerton-based entrepreneur who's been at the helm of the venerable West Sound-oriented sports show, which can be heard from 8-10 a.m. Saturday mornings at 1400 on the AM dial, for more than a year and a half. I try to tell people that they can do it, too. The show is open for anyone to come in and assist.Co-hosts have run the gamut from the original Coaches' Corner hosts, Lanny Dowell and John Sitton, to high school kids plugging their sport or activity, or just interested in logging a little on-air time.I want to give you and your sport your 15 minutes of fame, Portune says. We do a weekly bowling report. We talk about darts, shuffleboard, anything.Portune, who not only plans and executes the show but sells advertising time, says Coaches' Corner can be an educational experience. At least it has been for him.I've mainly been a basketball guy, but I'm learning a lot about all the other sports we've got in Kitsap County, he said. I never knew anything about destruction derby, for instance, until I had the (Kitsap Destruction Derby Association) on the show.Portune was selling ads for the station when the show's then-host, Kevin Chambers, moved from mornings to evenings. Portune received the title of sports director and was charged with keeping the show going. He said he first approached Dowell - whose name is etched deeply in Bremerton's prep sports history - and Sitton - the veteran Central Kitsap High school basketball coach and the school's current athletic director - about hosting.They couldn't do it, he says. They're doing other things. So I had two options. I could keep trying to find somebody else, or I could just jump on the air and do it.Portune chose the latter option, despite a total lack of on-air background.I fell back on my Toastmasters experience, he says of the nationwide club that helps members hone their public speaking ability.After more than a year of a lickety-split one-hour format, the show expanded to two hours last March 1. Portune says the added time has allowed him to keep all the regular features - including rundowns of recent results during the prep sports seasons - while giving more time to guest interviews and adding new wrinkles, particularly with co-hosts.Currently, KITZ - which is owned by the Bellevue-based Talk America Network - is slated to do live broadcasts of South Kitsap High School football games this fall. The way things stand, the only way listeners will hear Central Kitsap or Olympic on the air is when they play the Wolves, and Class 2A Klahowya is completely out of luck.At least for the time being. Portune says he's working to expand the station's live broadcasting schedule to include not just more high school coverage, but Olympic College games and matches, as well.It's an uphill battle, he says of efforts to find the on-air talent to do the broadcasts and, even more important, sell the air time. The new owners still are figuring out what they want to have on there. "