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Univision To Launch New Sports Radio Network, Coming To WRTO-AM in 2017

Univision Communications announced on Monday the formation of a new, national radio network set to debut early next year, named Univision Deportes Radio. The Chicago radio home for Univision Deportes Radio will be Univision-owned WRTO-AM 1200.

WRTO-AM is currently the Chicago radio home of the nationally syndicated talk format named Univision America. When the new Univision Deportes Radio network launches on a still undetermined date in the first quarter of 2017, the Univision America programming will disappear from the station, making it all-sports, all day.

Sports on WRTO-AM is not necessarily anything new. The station already broadcasts Spanish-language games for the Chicago Bears, the Chicago Bulls, the Chicago Blackhawks, and the Chicago White Sox. Chicago Cubs games have been heard on WRTO-AM in the past, as well.

Programming details for the new Univision Deportes Radio network have not yet been revealed, nor have any specific plans for WRTO-AM, but it is certain to be heavy on national and international soccer/futbol. Univision Deportes' television network, which launched in 2012, is among the biggest networks in North America for soccer games and coverage.

The announcement about Univision Deportes Radio says the network "will bring listeners the best in live sports commentary, live games, original content, and programming."

Along with the Spanish-language sports programming on the radio network, Univision Deportes Radio will offer digital streams of select games and content, as well as podcasts.

When Univision Deportes Radio launches in the next few months, the network will initially be available in 10 markets. In addition to Chicago's WRTO-AM, Univision Deportes Radio will be heard on WADO-AM in New York, KTNQ-AM in Los Angeles, KFLC-AM in Dallas, KLAT-AM in Houston, WQBA-AM in Miami, KHOV-FM in (suburban) Phoenix, KLSQ-AM in Las Vegas, KCOR-AM in San Antonio, and KGBT-AM in McAllen/Brownsville/Harlingen (TX). Most of these stations, like WRTO-AM, are currently Univision America stations that will be flipping to all-sports.

Juan Carlos Rodriguez, President of Univision Deportes, stated: "The launch of Univision Deportes Radio marks yet another milestone in the growth and evolution of our brand across all major media platforms. Our fans enjoy the award-winning soccer coverage Univision Deportes regularly provides throughout the year on broadcast, cable and digital platforms. We look forward to delivering the same high-quality soccer content on radio but also to enhancing listeners' experiences by adding an expanded all-sports approach."

John Eck, Chief Local Media Officer for Univision Communications Inc., added: "Univision's radio stations are among the most-listened to in the country—growing its audience by double-digits since last year. We're thrilled to expand our collaboration with Univision Deportes to continue to leverage the power of our Local Media to reach fanaticos like never before."

Univision Deportes Radio will be a head-on competitor against ESPN Deportes Radio, which has been broadcasting nationally since 2005. ESPN Deportes Radio no longer has a Chicago outlet (WLIT-HD2/W248BB, the former ESPN Deportes 97.5 flipped to a mostly regional Mexican music format on February 1st), but remains in the north suburbs on WKRS-AM 1220.

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