For the past decade, “The Jim Engster Show” has been Baton Rouge public radio’s place for local political and cultural discussion. Starting in November, the show will have a new home, a larger reach and, perhaps, an edgier tone.
Engster, who has interviewed local and national personalities in the 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. slot on WRKF-FM, 89.3, will shift to 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays on Guaranty Broadcasting’s WBRP-FM, Talk 107.3, beginning Nov. 3, the former station announced Monday morning. The show also will be made available to the Louisiana Radio Network, which has 63 stations in Louisiana and parts of Mississippi.
This is familiar territory for Engster, who had an LRN show called “Louisiana Live” from 1998 to 2003. He also is co-owner, president and general manager of the network. He said the prospects of a statewide audience in an afternoon drive time slot made the change appealing.
There are no local news-talk shows during that time in Baton Rouge, Engster said.
“As far as the kind of show we’re doing, the field is clear at this time and place,” Engster said Monday. “Afternoon drive is a very desirable piece of real estate in radio. It’s a move that I had to make.”
A graduate of LSU’s journalism program in 1981, Engster has spent his radio career in Baton Rouge. He began as news and sports director at WLUX before becoming a reporter at the then-named Louisiana Network in 1983, and was promoted to news/sports director in 1987. His WRKF show began in 2004, and he has interviewed former President Bill Clinton, eight Louisiana governors and a variety of other guests, both famous and obscure.
That will continue, but Engster said being on commercial radio will allow a more free-wheeling style, such as using musical themes to humorously skewer politicians and other public figures. Unlike much of talk radio, the show will not favor a political side.
“I’ll ask pointed questions of people who are liberal, conservative and otherwise,” he said.
Engster’s last show on WRKF will be Oct. 31, the station announced Monday. David Gordon, WRKF president and general manager, said he doesn’t know what will replace the show.