850 AM To Switch To ESPN Radio on October 5th

In a long-rumored (Chad Finn reported it earlier this summer, it had been rumored well before then) move, Entercom Boston announced this afternoon that programming on 850 AM will switch to all ESPN radio beginning on October 5th. The station will carry the full lineup of ESPN Radio programming.

Also announced was a tighter integration with ESPNBoston.com, the audio stream for WEEI 93.7 FM will be available through ESPNBoston.com and ESPNBoston’s video player will power WEEI’s video player with content from ESPN.

The full release:

Tuesday, Sept. 18

Entercom and ESPN Radio Join Forces to

Launch “ESPN on WEEI” 850 AM

WEEI to provide the best in local and national sports talk and play-by-play

ESPN 850BOSTON, MA – Entercom Boston and ESPN Radio today announced that starting on Friday, October 5, WEEI will split its AM/FM simulcast and begin broadcasting ESPN Radio on 850 AM. “ESPN on WEEI” will air ESPN’s entire national lineup, including the entire upcoming Major League Baseball postseason schedule, the NBA, and college football and college basketball. ESPN Radio on 850 AM will debut with Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic, of “Mike and Mike in the Morning,” broadcasting live from Foxboro’s Gillette Stadium beginning at 6 a.m. ET on October 5.

WEEI’s legendary local lineup of “Dennis and Callahan,” “Mut and Merloni,” “The Big Show with Glenn Ordway and Michal Holley,” and “Planet Mikey with Mike Adams” will now be broadcast solely on the 93.7 FM frequency. In addition, 93.7 FM will be the exclusive home of Red Sox baseball, Celtics basketball, Patriots’ Monday and Friday, NFL football and the NFL playoffs.

As part of this expanded partnership, listeners will be able to access 93.7 WEEI’s live audio stream through the popular ESPNBoston.com website. At the same time, ESPNBoston.com’s video channel will now power WEEI.com’s video player with the most up-to-date ESPN video content.

“Since 1991, WEEI has been the gold standard in sports radio. This strategic alliance with ESPN allows WEEI to deliver to the most passionate sports fans in America the very best in local sports talk and play-by-play on WEEI FM and the very best in national sports talk and play-by-play with ESPN on WEEI AM,” said Jeff Brown, Entercom Vice President and Market Manager. “WEEI 850 AM is a proven sports brand. Joining forces with ESPN provides advertisers an additional touch point to connect with a highly valuable and sought after consumer.”

“We’re pleased to team with Boston’s preeminent sports radio outlet and one of the nation’s best radio broadcasting companies in Entercom to bring the number one national network into New England,” said Traug Keller, ESPN Senior Vice President, Production Business Divisions. “This move coupled with the existing presence of ESPNBoston.com provides Boston’s passionate fans the best of ESPN’s national and local coverage and analysis.”

“We are excited to be expanding our partnership with ESPN in such a meaningful way,” said Entercom President and CEO David Field. “Combining Boston’s leading sports station, WEEI-FM, and the new ESPN on WEEI 850 AM, together with our ability to cross promote content through our existing mobile and digital platforms, gives passionate Boston sports fans the very best in local and national sports content.”

Beginning Friday, October 5, the new ESPN on WEEI 850 AM ESPN lineup will be:

  • 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. “Mike & Mike in the Morning”
  • 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. “The Herd with Colin Cowherd”
  • 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. “The Scott Van Pelt Show”
  • 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. “ESPN Today”
  • 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. “Hill and Schlereth” / ESPN Play-by-Play
  • 10 p.m. to 12 a.m. “SportsCenter Tonight”
  • 12 a.m. to 6 a.m. “SportsCenter All Night”
  • Will

    How is this good for WEEI?

    • http://www.facebook.com/anthrocoon Bob Nelson

      makes money –ESPN ad money. If most people are on the FM, why not make some $ off the AM? Though some people may choose ESPN shows, or playoff play by play, from the AM. That’s OK. Entercom owns both…btw what does 93.7 run overnight? Do they still run ESPN, in what would be a simulcast with the AM? Or reruns of Big Show, etc.?

    • JonB

      Maybe not great for EEI’s local ratings but it’s good for Entercom’s bottom line, which is what really matters. I’m sure there’s some kind of agreement in place where Entercom will be receiving a nice share of the advertising revenues from ESPN 850. Plus it will divert some listeners away from 98.5 and ESPN finally gets back into a major sports market where it can promote its endless other products on TV, mobile, online, etc. Win-win for both sides.

    • spqr

      I agree. This just gives me another option to NOT listen to WEEI, especially in the afternoon. I’d much rather listen to SVP and Russillo than Ordway

  • AL

    what’s going on w 1440AM

    • http://bostonsportsmedia.com/ Bruce Allen

      I don’t think anything is changing there.

  • GRBSPR

    Media hacks love talking about themselves in press releases using such flowery language. “Legendary.” LOL

  • latetodinner

    I am wondering if this move is the first in a series that will eventually see Entercom sell itself to ESPN/Disney and become their radio arm. It would give Entercom the capital to fully battle CBS radio.

    As for what this directly gives WEEI or more importantly Entercom is LEVERAGE especially when it comes to negotiating the Sox rights. I also wonder if they will make a run at the Pats rights when they are up. Is so being part of the ESPN family is better than being an independent.

    • Rick Mc

      ESPN/Disney already has a radio arm. ESPN owns stations in a few markets and has some Disney stations. More importantly though, it sold all its other stations a while ago. I don’t think it would want to get back into the industry.

      • latetodinner

        Rick,

        I know they have some stations and that they have moved in and out of Radio. Buying Entercom would be making a statement. it would be different than trying to set up a network from scratch. it is similar to buying ABC. It would make a lot of sense for them.

        • Rick Mc

          Disney decided radio wasn’t a core asset and now six years later it would want to get back in when the industry has done nothing but tank? It would make no sense. And why Entercom when it was almost delisted a few years ago?

        • latetodinner

          They can buy Entercom for a song. They have a national network and rebranding it would give it instant value. The world has changed in 6 years. They were in radio heavy with their kid network. This would be more similar to what they do on TV…more diversification….it is more about controlling the brand and expanding ESPN while also controlling an avenue for their music library that is not kid directed.

        • Rick Mc

          THEY ALREADY HAVE DISNEY AND ESPN STATIONS. Why would they want to buy talkers, modern rock stations and all the other crap Entercom has? What would Disney do with all the extra stations it would buy? They can buy it for a song because Entercom isn’t doing well. They don’t need stations to broadcast ESPN Radio – it is already the largest sports network. Find me one market where ESPN or Disney is needed and Entercom has an asset that would be a good fit for either ESPN or Disney?

          Just admit you didn’t know what you were talking about when you brought up the subject and stop arguing a point about which you don’t even have the basic facts.

        • latetodinner

          Boston

        • Rick Mc

          ESPN is already in Boston. Your claim was that they needed Entercom to get ESPN and Disney into markets, which they don’t. And if you really think that ESPN needs to own its affiliate in Boston, what would it do with the two WAAF signals, ‘RKO, 93.7, and whatever else it has?

          Just give up. You didn’t know that ABC had been sold just six years ago, and you didn’t know that they still have Disney. Just admit you were wrong from the get go and stop making up more BS.

        • latetodinner

          Look Rick…I understand the market. I know what Disney has done in Radio. I have dealt with their national ad people occasionally. From what I understand they want to be a player in radio. They are in sports and were for a while in kids. They see the real profits in pop and talk. They have failed each time they have tried to enter Boston…ESPN Radio on 1520, Disney radio (both in Boston and Providence was a flop). Buying Entercom gives them a mature established network. I only speculated because of the deal they made with Entercom. They are back dooring Boston. I have thought for years WEEI would have been the perfect affiliate for them except they want their national programming and Boston is unique in that so far no one has been able to make national programing work here. It probably won’t happen but it is interesting speculation. Entercom is in trouble but they have good real estate. A lot of people think their problems are management. Disney has good management everywhere. Its problem is bad real estate. Seems to me like an eventual match. You are probably right…it won’t happen but it is not far fetched.

        • Rick Mc

          “were for a while in kids.”

          Disney already owns most of its affiliates. Is there another fact you would like to get wrong?

          It is far fetched because you haven’t explained why Disney would want all the extra stations it would get. Disney is in Boston on a fairly typical signal for Radio Disney. Why does it need to own the station and all the other stuff that would come with it? If Radio Disney would do better than something else in the market, any station could flip or Disney would buy a better signal.

        • APimpNamedDaveR

          @e9c87e3c9a77a6a0d9690599592753ad:disqus : If Disney were interested in acquiring Entercom, my guess is it wouldn’t be because of any perceived value in the Entercom assets themselves. I think they’d view it as a promotional tool for ABC/ESPN/the rest of the Disney media assets. Entercom’s non-sports assets are in pretty serious media markets, Boston being one of them. The calculus for Disney becomes: can we run Entercom’s assets (and use them as a captive advertising/promotional platform), presumably at loss, and still come out ahead vs. the cost of straight-out purchasing comparable promotion in those markets?

          On the whole, though, I agree with you: I strongly doubt Disney has any interest in acquiring an unprofitable non-core asset, which is what Entercom would be.

        • Rick Mc

          Why do they need to own the stations to promote the ESPN brand when they are already the largest sports radio network? And what value would all the extra stations in the markets have for Disney? Entercom averages nearly 5 stations per market. Even assuming that in each of those markets Disney does not have an O&O for both Radio Disney and ESPN, it would have 3 stations for which it would not have programming ready to go. Why would Disney want to separately program 70+ stations after it decided 6 years ago it didn’t want to be in radio except for its big brands?

        • APimpNamedDaveR

          @e9c87e3c9a77a6a0d9690599592753ad:disqus : Like I said — I agree with you. I don’t see Disney being interested.

          I’m just saying that if it turns out they are interested, the advertising angle may be why.

        • Rick Mc

          What advertising? They already control most of the advertising from what I understand. Are you talking about promotion for TV? Those are embedded in the programming. Also, I believe ESPN requires that M&M be carried by affiliates and they help to promote they network.

  • bomber

    Any mention of improving EEI’s signals both AM&FM.

    • Rick Mc

      The answer to that question is almost always no. Wouldn’t they have done it already? Radio signals are strictly regulated so that signals nearby and in other areas are not disturbed.

    • APimpNamedDaveR

      That’s actually really difficult to do. You can improve your signal in three ways: You can boost your transmission power, or move your antenna to a better position (or both), or change the “footprint” of your existing signal (for FM) via changes to your antenna. The problem: all of them require approval from the FCC, which can be a laborious and time-consuming process. If there’s an opportunity there for them, I’m sure they’re pursuing it, but it could take a long time. Given that both 850 and 93.7 are longstanding licenses in this market, though, it’s very probable that both are already operating at or very near the boundaries of what the FCC is willing to approve for them.

  • JonB

    Interesting that I didn’t hear any mention of this on the WEEI airwaves today. Usually these “big” announcements are constantly hyped up on the air in the days preceding the news release (e.g. WEEI moving to FM last year). Not this time. I’m guessing the on-air talent at EEI isn’t too thrilled.

    I think the writing is on the wall for Ordway – he’s become increasingly irrelevant & overpaid, even after the pay cut – I see no way Entercom brass brings him back when his contract is up at the end of the year. The station desperately needs an infusion of younger, “hipper” talent to pair opposite Holley to remain competitive going forward. Ordway is a dinosaur and doesn’t carry the same lukewarm fanbase that D&C does.

    I could see Ordway going the way of Dale Arnold where he’s relegated to a weekend show on EEI, maybe with some Pats pre and/or post game duties thrown in. Wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up living out his last radio days doing Sunday nights on some nondescript talk station either, a la Andelman’s 96.9 WTKK exile.

  • etak

    Yaaayyyyy! /Finally/.

  • Mountain drew

    Espn on all day and nite, you got to be kidding, I won’t be listening

    • Rick Mc

      The Radio isn’t as bad as tv. Mike & Mike do a lot of interviews of writers and a few personalities. Their schtick is boring, but you can get some national news. Cowherd sucks, but Van Pelt is good. There isn’t a lot of the Around the Horn or Skip Bayless/Steven a Smith yelling. The focus is on interviews and scores for the most part.

  • http://twitter.com/mikey_c Mikey C.

    I didn’t realize Mut and Merloni were legendary – thanks press release!