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WSCR is new Illini radio partner in Chicago

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Here's my initial story on Illinois changing its Chicago radio outlet, followed by the news release from the university confirming the switch, with comments from athletic director Mike Thomas and Illinois' broadcast partners. . . . 


Illini basketball will move to the Score in the fall. Football games will remain on WIND-AM (560) in 2013 and move to WSCR in 2014 after the Score completes its contract to carry Northern Illinois football.

lllinois basketball and football games are moving to WSCR-AM (670), sources said Tuesday.

Illinois athletic director Mike Thomas and his staff, who want to raise the school's profile in Chicago, are excited about the move. Not only will Illini games be carried by a station with a stronger signal, the Score's high profile is expected to be an excellent fit for Illinois' teams.

''This is something ­Illini sports really needed,'' said a source close to the athletic department. ''It's important to have a radio partner comparable to Northwestern on WGN.''

Learfield Sports, which oversees Illinois' broadcast operations, negotiated the deal, which brings Illini sports back to WSCR for the first time since 2004-05.

NOTE: Illinois State forward Jon Ekey is transferring to Illinois. The 6-7 redshirt junior from Independence, Mo., who averaged 6.4 points and 4.2 rebounds for the Redbirds last season, will be eligible to play immediately because he earned his bachelor's degree at ISU. 


And here are excerpts from  the UofI news release. . .  

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (April 17, 2013) - University of Illinois Director of Athletics Mike Thomas announced Wednesday that Learfield Sports' Fighting Illini Sports Properties has secured WSCR 670 The Score as the newest radio affiliate on the statewide Illini Sports Network. 


Terms of the new relationship with CBS Radio-owned 670 AM call for the station to carry Illini basketball starting with the 2013-14 athletic season and football in 2014. The multi-year agreement encompasses football and men's basketball.  Additionally, WSCR 670 The Score will broadcast Illinois' coaches' shows for men's basketball and football concurrent with the respective schedule.  While a new alignment has been formed with 670 AM, long-time radio affiliate WIND-AM 560 will continue to carry football games and coaches' shows throughout 2013 to listeners in the Chicago market.


The Illini Sports Network is overseen by Fighting Illini Sports Properties, the multimedia rights holder for University of Illinois Athletics and a property of Learfield Sports.  The collegiate marketer negotiated the affiliate relationship with the 50,000-watt, all sports clear channel station on behalf of the university.


"This is very exciting news for Fighting Illini fans throughout the Midwest," Thomas said. "The signal strength and coverage area of WSCR 670 The Score is tremendous, giving our fans the very best ability to listen to Fighting Illini football and basketball. WSCR 670 The Score has an outstanding reputation as an all-sports station in the Chicago market, which is a great asset in spreading the Fighting Illini brand through the region. We appreciate our relationship with WIND-AM 560 over the past several years, and through the upcoming football season. It's been a great partnership. We look forward to working with WSCR 670 The Score in any way possible as our agreement begins with the 2013-14 men's basketball season."


Rod Zimmerman, senior vice president and market manager for CBS Radio in Chicago added, "We're extremely proud to carry the Fighting Illini in the coming years, and we look forward to delivering the game action and coaches' shows to our listening audience in the Chicago area and beyond to help extend the brand over the airwaves.  We're also pleased that we're able to continue to clear DePaul Blue Demons' games on WSCR when not conflicting with an Illini game."


"WSCR has incredible reach not just in the Chicago market, but much of the U.S. and parts of Canada, and we're pleased to be able to bring the Fighting Illini to its listening audience," said Fighting Illini Sports Properties' General Manager Chris Andrews. "We wanted to tap into 670's strong signal strength and reputation as an exceptional AM station to reach as many Illinois fans as possible."


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Herb Gould started with the Sun-Times in 1977 and has covered several teams, including the Blackhawks. He is a long-time beat reporter covering the Fighting Illini and the Big Ten for the Sun-Times.


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This page contains a single entry by Herb Gould published on April 17, 2013 8:47 AM.

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