Published on Thursday, 21 June 2012 10:49
At the start of next year, CBS Radio and CBS Sports will be launching a new 24 hour a day sports radio network, featuring a line-up of sports talkers and reporters from across the country, including Chicago. The new "CBS Sports Radio Network" could become the largest sports radio network in the country, eclipsing ESPN and FOX Sports Radio. Cumulus Media will serve as the new network's exclusive distributor and sales partner.
The CBS Sports Radio Network will debut its 24/7 sports-talk lineup on January 3, 2013. The network will feature live, original programming for weekdays and weekends, featuring some of the best from CBS and Cumulus-owned sports stations nationwide. Chicago's WSCR-AM will be a key contributor to the new network. Other programming will come from CBS Radio stations nationwide, including New York's WFAN-AM, Dallas' KRLD-FM, Philadelphia's WIP-FM, Boston's WBZ-FM, and many others.
All stations on the network will benefit by being able to share high-profile personalities, big name sports guests, and prominent sport-specific experts. This is especially so in regards to the NFL and NCAA sports, which CBS Sports is affiliated with. The elements that makes local sports radio so popular, including listener calls and fan interaction, will still be part of the national network, as well.
Affiliates can air the entire 24/7 CBS Sports Radio lineup, or pick and choose shows, keeping some local programming mixed in. Stations can also stream both the national and local broadcasts on their websites.
Prior to the launch of the national network, beginning on September 4th, CBS Sports Radio updates will be heard on all CBS & Cumulus sports stations, delivering national sports headlines, news, and scores hourly.
In today's announcement, Les Moonves, President and CEO of CBS Corporation, said: "As one of the leading media companies in the world, and a dominant force in sports programming, we look forward to bringing to bear the full resources of CBS and capitalizing on an exciting new growth opportunity for the company. CBS Sports and CBS Radio have been widely recognized for their outstanding contributions to sports broadcasting. This next step in their evolution will serve an ever-expanding audience of sports fans from coast to coast."
Dan Mason, President and CEO of CBS Radio, added: "This is a great day for CBS Radio and sports fans nationwide. For more than two decades we have owned local sports radio and appreciate great talent and programming that resonates with listeners and elicits passionate dialogue and debate. We are bullish our expertise and prior achievements will allow us to successfully complement our existing businesses while expanding into what until now has been a largely unchallenged sector of the radio business."
While this is a huge announcement for CBS Radio, fans of WSCR-AM/670 The Score will not see major changes and should not fear this news. What fans will notice in the coming months is bigger guests and the hourly national updates. Beyond that, there are no changes planned for the Score's regular line-up due to the new network and the station will remain mainly live & local and geared toward Chicago sports fans. WSCR-AM will also remain the flagship home for Chicago White Sox broadcasts. No jobs should be lost locally from today's big news.
Chicagoans who now live in other markets may get the opportunity to hear some of their favorite Chicago sports talk hosts or reporters on their local station, though, which should please them.
Cumulus Media, the second largest radio broadcaster in the country, will serve as the network's exclusive syndicator and sales partner to secure affiliate agreements and ad sales with radio stations nationwide through Cumulus Media Networks. In addition, Cumulus will make CBS Sports Radio programming available on 67 of its owned stations (that does not currently include its two Chicago station, though).
Lew Dickey, Chairman, President and CEO of Cumulus Media, said in today's statement "We are pleased to partner with CBS to deliver the leading entrant into the sports radio market. CBS Sports Radio is an exciting opportunity for us to offer compelling sports content to listeners nationwide, and unique sports marketing opportunities for our advertisers."
Sean McManus, Chairman of CBS Sports, said today: "In this era of growing multimedia platforms, the addition of a national radio network to CBS Sports' broadcast, cable and digital properties allows us to extend the storied CBS Sports brand to radio listeners across the country. We are pleased CBS Sports Radio will allow fans to consume CBS Sports content on a different platform from some of the most recognizable and respected broadcasters in the industry."
UPDATE: Just to avoid any confusion, which there appears to be... please read the above article carefully. This is NOT about a new sports radio station coming to Chicago. Nowhere in the article does it suggest that. This is about a new NATIONAL radio network, which will feature contributions from Chicago's WSCR-AM, among many others.