| Louisville Courier Journal
The Kentucky Sports Radio website is under new ownership, according to founder Matt Jones.
Stuart McWhorter, one of the founders of the 247Sports website network, has bought kentuckysportsradio.com, the popular University of Kentucky athletics website, Jones announced Tuesday morning. The site will continue to cover UK sports, Jones wrote in a post announcing the sale, and several notable writers will continue to contribute.
The deal does not impact Jones’ daily KSR radio show, he added, and podcasts on the website will not be affected.
«KSR has been a massive part of my life over these 15 years and watching it grow and develop, while harnessing the careers of our amazing writers and content producers has been one of the greatest joys of my life,» Jones wrote. «But in today’s media landscape, one either grows, adapts and expands or they are left behind in the future. And now is the time for KSR to take the next step.»
Changes will be coming to kentuckysportsradio.com, Jones said, in an effort to modernize it. The site will remain true to its roots, he wrote, but will «also become the most modern, revolutionizing how college athletics are covered in ways that I never could have dreamed.»
Jones did not delve into specific changes readers will see, other than to say the site will «become the model for college sports coverage across America.» He will remain involved with other aspects of its content, and in his radio show later that morning he told listeners that if he hadn’t gone public with the announcement it would be «at least a year» before anyone noticed. He plans to write more, he added.
«I plan on being even more active in the day to day workings of the site than I have been in recent years and am committed to seeing our new venture realize all its possibilities,» Jones wrote.
Changes in sports media prompted Jones to make the move, he said, and he expects more and more outlets to disappear as coronavirus pandemic continues and eventually ends.
«I’ve for a couple years thought we have to figure out kind of what’s next because I want to make KSR not just successful in the past, but I want to make it successful in 10 years, 20 years, 30 years» he told listeners Tuesday. «… I think this deal today will guarantee that everybody listening in 2030 and 40, Kentucky Sports Radio will still be the place to get your UK sports news.»
Love him or hate him, Jones, who has flirted with runs for political office in the past, built KSR into one of the biggest sports media outlets in the state.
An Eastern Kentucky native with degrees from Transylvania University and Duke University’s law school, Jones founded his website in 2005 and radio show in 2010, dedicating coverage to UK athletics and other related topics — including scandals at the University of Louisville, UK’s biggest rival. Jones also hosted a TV show in Lexington called «Hey Kentucky!» from 2016 to 2019.
Jones hasn’t only talked sports, though. For years politics have been frequently discussed on his radio show, which draws an audience that Jones, a Democrat, once estimated voted 80% in favor of President Donald Trump in 2016.
He’s dabbled in politics off the air as well, though any potential political future was not mentioned in his post announcing the sale of the website.
He emceed Kentucky’s famous Fancy Farm political picnic in 2015 and considered seeking the Democratic nomination to run against Sen. Mitch McConnell for U.S. Senate in the 2020 election. He announced in November 2019 that he would not take part in the primary, though, more than two months after he’d formed an exploratory committee for the bid. The nomination went to Amy McGrath, who Jones accused of pressuring WLEX to temporarily take him off of «Hey Kentucky!» while he considered running.
Jones, who opened the KSBar & Grille restaurant in Lexington in 2018, also has written a book about Kentucky politics. «Mitch Please!» was released in 2020 and is critical of McConnell’s impact on the commonwealth. He later said WLEX decided to pull him off the air permanently because of the book.
Reporter Joe Sonka contributed. Lucas Aulbach can be reached at email@example.com, 502-582-4649 or on Twitter @LucasAulbach.