College Basketball's Radio Dilemma Gets Attention From New York Times
January 14, 2015 at 3:57 AM (PT)
Is college basketball on the way out from terrestrial radio? An article in the NEW YORK TIMES analyzes the difficulty some schools are facing in finding stations willing to clear all of their games over more lucrative Talk and Sports programming, focusing on the NEW YORK and PHILADELPHIA markets.
In the article, DAVE POPKIN, the radio voice of SETON HALL UNIVERSITY, a top-25 team, notes how the PIRATES have bounced from CUMULUS News-Talk WABC-A/NEW YORK, with a 50,000-watt signal blanketing the market, to GREATER MEDIA Oldies WMTR-A/MORRISTOWN, with a much smaller signal difficult for some fans to receive at night, to SALEM News-Talk WNYM-A (AM 970 THE ANSWER)/NEW YORK, which covers the market during the day but powers down and is highly directional at night, leaving some fans struggling to hear the broadcasts. SETON HALL and ST. JOHN'S, the article notes, pay WNYM $5,000 per game for broadcasts, while RUTGERS, heard on CLEAR CHANNEL News-Talk WOR-A/NEW YORK, pays close to $10,000.
Meanwhile, down I-95, VILLANOVA UNIVERSITY, one of the top-ranked teams in the country, is getting broadcasts bounced to stations other than flagship BEASLEY Sports WTEL-A (formerly WIP-A)/PHILADELPHIA because of conflicts, a situation similar to programs like BOSTON COLLEGE and CONNECTICUT.
CBS RADIO Sports WIP/PHILADELPHIA PD SPIKE ESKIN tells the TIMES, "In a major market like we’re in, we don’t talk a lot of college sports at all. For me, I don’t know if in a major market -- with pro teams -- it has a ton of fit.” And CBS RADIO Sports WFAN-A/NEW YORK VP/Programming MARK CHERNOFF said, "We had ST. JOHN'S on for a number of years, and it got to a point that in their 30-plus-game schedule, I was only able to clear sometimes eight to 11 games of their season.”
The article notes that teams are increasingly looking to digital and satellite radio for game coverage, including channels on TUNEIN, but LEARFIELD SPORTS SVP/Affiliate Relations AARON WORSHAM tells the TIMES, "Certainly, there are a lot of different options for a fan base now ... It’s progressed throughout the years, and there are some differences from years past. But I’m still a firm believer in college and radio. Tuning into a station — whether it’s AM or FM, whether it’s on an app or being streamed — live content is unique.”
Read the story here.