As was reported first in the Boston Globe a few weeks ago, WEEI AM 850 is getting back its ESPN Radio affiliation, it was announced today. WEEI will also carry ESPN Radio's overnight programming replacing Fox Sports Radio starting Monday, November 2nd.
WEEI became ESPN Radio's Boston affiliate in January 1992 when the radio network launched with a weekend-only schedule. After 13 years, the WEEI-ESPN partnership ended in July 2005 when now-defunct WAMG AM 890/ESPN 890 acquired the rights to carry the national radio network's product in the Boston market. WEEI switched its overnight and weekend slots previously filled by ESPN Radio to Fox Sports Radio. But after a shaky four-year run, ESPN 890 signed off for good last month leaving ESPN without any clearance in the nation's 10th largest radio market.(BRW 9/10).
Today's announcement about the new WEEI-ESPN Radio agreement follows September 14's launch of ESPN's new hyper-local http://www.espnboston.com/ site. But don't expect any WEEI's local content or stream to be appear on ESPNBoston.com. According to the media reports, ESPN Radio is expected to take over WEEI's current AM 850 frequency with its 24-hour national sports format as Entercom's local sports powerhouse migrates to the FM band later this fall.
MLB playoffs are expected to air on WEEI this month, but between local sports talk programming, Red Sox, Monday and Sunday football, Boston College football and Celtics broadcasts filling out WEEI's busy schedule don't expect to hear many postseason games on AM850 between now and the start of the World Series. Even the Celtics preseason games are being shifted over to sister station talker WRKO AM 680 this Friday and Sunday because of conflicts with Red Sox.
Here's the official release from Entercom Boston :
For Immediate Release:
WEEI, ESPN RADIO Announce Affiliation Agreement
October 7, 2009 (Boston, Bristol, Conn.) —The WEEI Sports Radio Network and ESPN Radio, the nation’s largest sports radio network, will join forces to bring ESPN’s national programming and personalities to New England’s top rated sports radio station. The Boston- and Bristol-based broadcasters announced an affiliation agreement that will bring ESPN weekend and overnight programming to WEEI 850 AM, as well as a variety of play by play programming, including the Major League Baseball playoffs, the NBA and NBA playoffs and the College Bowl Championship Series, highlighted by the 2010 BCS National Championship Game in January. MLB playoff programming will begin this week.
Staring November 2, 2009, WEEI will syndicate ESPN’s overnight programming including AllNight with Jason Smith (1-5 a.m. ET Monday through Friday), as well as select weekend programming in and around its local coverage.
As part of the agreement, Adam Schefter, ESPN’s NFL Insider, will join Dennis and Callahan every Friday during the NFL Season beginning this week, and Peter Gammons, ESPN’s veteran Major League Baseball insider, will join The Big Show with Glenn Ordway every week during the upcoming baseball playoffs and once a week next season. A slew of ESPN personalities will also be joining WEEI shows on a regular basis, throughout the week and the weekend.“This partnership is a win for everyone, especially our listeners,” said Julie Kahn, Entercom New England VP and Market Manager. “As WEEI’s footprint grows across the New England on the airwaves and across the nation online, ESPN brings invaluable national content and insight.”
Added Traug Keller, Sr. VP, Production, Business Divisions, “The recent success of the Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics and Bruins make this an exciting time to be entering the Boston market on one of the nation’s premier sports stations. Combining ESPN Radio’s content and personalities with WEEI’s local reputation is a win-win for both parties, as well as for the area’s passionate fans.”Jason Wolfe, Entercom New England’s VP of AM Programming said, “This newly formed partnership will continue to solidify WEEI as the region’s foremost authority for sports coverage. Adding Peter and Adam, who we’ve enjoyed regular relationships with in the past, in addition to the many incredibly talented hosts and commentators that ESPN has in its stable, creates must listen radio for our audience.”
About EntercomEntercom Communications Corp. (NYSE: ETM) is one of the five largest radio broadcasting companies in the United States, with a nationwide portfolio of 110 stations in 23 markets, including San Francisco, Boston, Seattle, Denver, Portland, Sacramento and Kansas City. Known for developing unique and highly successful, locally programmed stations, Entercom is home to some of radio’s most distinguished brands and compelling personalities. The company is also the radio broadcast partner of the Boston Red Sox, Boston Celtics, Kansas City Royals, New Orleans Saints and Buffalo Sabres. For more information, please visit www.entercom.com.
About ESPN RadioESPN Radio is the country's largest sports radio network, providing more than 9,000 hours of talk and event content annually to more than 750 stations, including more than 350 full-time affiliates and owned stations in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas and Pittsburgh. ESPN Radio event programming features the NBA (and The Finals), MLB (and the World Series) and college football’s BCS (and regular-season schedule). Weekday studio programming includes: Mike and Mike in the Morning (Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic), 6-10 a.m. ET; The Herd with Colin Cowherd, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.; The Scott Van Pelt Show (2-4 p.m.); The Doug Gottlieb Show (4-7 p.m.).