ESPN Radio Still Looking For Full Time Home In Boston

BSMW has confirmed that despite yesterday’s announcement of the affiliation agreement between ESPN Radio and WEEI, the former is still  actively seeking a full-time outlet to air their complete programming lineup in the Boston area.

I had asked Dan Quinn of the ESPN Communications department whether they were still seeking a full outlet in the Boston market so that they could broadcast their full daily schedule, including Mike and Mike in the Morning, The Herd with Colin Cowherd and The Scott Van Pelt Show. The answer was a very quick “Yes,” but there were no details available beyond that at this time.

Now, that outlet could very well end up being 850 AM. Chad Finn mentioned it again this morning, and stated it in terms that make it seem like it is all but a done deal. The WEEI programming will move from 850 AM to a yet-to-be-determined FM signal, and ESPN Radio will take over the 850 AM signal.  This move would take place sometime after the Red Sox finish their season, so that the broadcast will not change frequencies for the third time this season.

The result could be something like what you see with sports radio KNBR out in the San Francisco Bay Area. They run two stations out there, on AM frequencies 680 and 1050, with 680 being local programming, and 1050 being a mix of ESPN radio, (Mike & Mike and Cowherd) plus Dan Patrick, Jim Rome, and local programming.

By having two stations, WEEI/Entercom can sell twice as much advertising space, (and break their ad time offerings into additional tiers) and have two outlets to use when broadcasting sports events that are scheduled for the same time. They’ll have both the local and national presence, and access to the ESPN “talent.”

I don’t forsee any overlap between WEEI.com and ESPNBoston.com – I think both sites will run independently, though don’t be surprised to hear ESPNBoston writers on the airwaves of the two radio stations.

  • Jerry

    Finally, the bitter rants of D & C in clear FM.

  • Rick Mc

    I am glad that ESPN radio will be back full time, but anything that helps WEEI survive or corner the market on good talent like Reiss pisses me off.

  • Guntfather of Sports Radio

    This does undercut the whole WEEI.com operation a bit doesn’t it? If Wolfie and the Man decide to brand a station 850 ESPN Boston that would drive people to that website.

    • Bruce

      That’s why I kind of think a scenario like the KNBR one above is more likely. I don’t think 850 will become “ESPN Boston.” They might call both stations WEEI.

      • Ricky

        In Baltimore CBS Radio followed this exact mold however. 1300 AM used to be an ESPN affiliate with local shows in PM drive and one in midday if memory holds.

        After flipping 105.7-FM to All Sports as 105.7 the Fan, 1300 moved to a full time ESPN station and remains it to this day. CBS still owns both stations.

        It has been done in other markets and is not as out of this world as it seems on the surface. If you are confident enough in your product to beat ESPN why not take the extra bucks?

      • http://ilbruce.blogspot.com/ Il Bruce

        Any idea why WEEI FM is still carrying FOX overnight programming as on 11/10?

  • Dana

    So this year’s baseball playoffs are not available on a Boston-area radio station. (Except for the Red Sox, of course.)

    • Bruce

      According to yesterday’s release, the MLB playoff games were to be aired on WEEI starting “this week.”

      • Guntfather of Sports Radio

        But there are so many conflicts and Adams that I suspect we only get games on select nights like Saturday or whatever.

  • Jason Coyote

    Thanks for your offering your opinion on the two dueling websites, Bruce.

    Gunt, if Entercom can sell twice the broadcast ads like Bruce suggests, I think the revenues they’d make from that scenario would more than offset any losses of listeners to EEI or readers of the EEI site. The true sports junkies would bookmark both the ESPNB and EEI sites for viewing.

    As much as we want to hate EEI for most of their blowhard hosts, having ESPN personalities on their airwaves will increase the amount of time they feature higher quality programming (depending, of course, on what you think of ESPN).

  • Forbin

    The KNBR situation is pure protection of 680, which is a flamethrower at 50,000 watts. 1050’s ratings are horrible due to the weak signal and all promo efforts being directed at 680. For years it’s been this way which blocks anyone coming into the Bay Area with an ESPN or Fox sports affiliation for a startup. 1050 carries Fox for the overnight. They do simulcast the afternoon drive show on both, so on days of giants/warriors conflicts on 680, they can still make a buck with the afternoon drive of Ralph & Tom on 1050. Horrible ownership though with Cumulus. Probably even worse than Entercomm.

  • Snuffy Smith

    Sounds like typical ‘eei thinking…more bullcrap means better bullcrap. Opens the door for 98.5 to provide focused, entertaining programming.

    On another note, if ‘eei has this stable of “talented” folks contributing to their website why haven’t the surfaced on-air instead of the same old tired acts. Anyone heard enough from Utility Lou yet? Haven’t listen lately, but have any of the Globe writers been on-air/in-studio after the Great Patchup??

    For my money, ESPNBoston.com is a better website that’s easier to navigate and get information from better talent.

  • Bill

    When will Boston get to hear Mike & Mike in the Morning again? I have a 60 min commute every morning and those guys are so much better than listening to D&C go over what Varitek’s mindset was when he let a passed ball go by. Get out of the weeds!

  • Derek

    While ESPN is at how about a station here in RI? Since the score went off the air they have been on 1450 am but its only like 1000 watts and I can’t get it like 15 miles away from the station.

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  • ben

    ‘EEI will save a fortune as the contracts come up for their “talent” in the next few years. Party’s over as they won’t be able to brag about their 10 shares. 3 legit sports stations might be good for Entercom but not for the help.

  • http://www.jonvssports.blogspot.com Jon

    I dunno. Mike and Mike might be better than D and C,but not by much. Cowherd is a trainwreck. I’d rather listen to Dale and Holley interview Brutus Buckeye and Jeremy Jacobs for five hours straight…