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Falcons, 92.9 The Game Reach Deal

Jason Barrett

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In an expected move, 92.9/The Game will become the official flagship station for the Atlanta Falcons.

The station was already an affiliate for the Falcons this past season.

While program director Terry Foxx declined to comment on the terms, a reliable source told me it was a three-year deal that will run through early 2018.  Foxx said the team plans to keep Wes Durham and Dave Archer as play-by-play broadcasters for the Falcons.

“We’re just happy to be able to have this great partnership,” Foxx said.

Back in 2011, Lincoln Financial had signed the Falcons to a four-year deal that engaged both its sports/talk station 790/The Zone and sister FM pop station Star 94.

But last year, after the Zone dumped all its local programming, Lincoln decided to make the Game an affiliate.

The move was essentially mutually beneficial for all parties.

For the Falcons, they need radio hosts pumping up the team and the Zone was no longer able to do that. This also gave Lincoln the ability to stop airing football games on Star 94, which chases after suburban moms, not male football fans. And the Game needed the team to bolster its credibility given its relatively new status and modest ratings.

The gambit worked for the Game. Ratings have improved significantly since the fall despite the fact the team failed to make the playoffs and finished 6-10. The Game has been beating the Fan for four consecutive months.

As a result, it came as no surprise the Game chose to stick with the Falcons. The only other logical option for the Falcons was 680/The Fan, which has a modest FM stick 93.7 that simulcasts the Fan. But 92.9/The Game has a more powerful FM signal that covers the entire metro Atlanta area.

My source said the Game paid significantly more than Lincoln had in its previous deal and wonders how the station could possibly make enough money from sponsors and advertising to cover costs. Presumably, CBS Radio, which owns the Game, decided the Falcons were a valuable enough “loss leader” to help draw people to the Game, even when the Falcons aren’t on air, using the “halo effect.” It also gives people who otherwise might not listen to the Game an excuse to check it out and hopefully stick around for its daily programming.

“From a revenue standpoint, it’s a challenge but there’s intrinsic value you can’t measure,” said Dave Mezsaros, a former general manager at Z93 and market manager at Cox Atlanta. He also worked at 790/The Zone for a few years before left radio a year ago. “When we were at WSB, we had the Braves for 10 years. We were willing to pay premiums to broadcast games because of the overall prestige. It opens up advertising opportunities that you otherwise might never get.”

David Dickey, who runs 680/the Fan, texted me this: “As I’ve said in the past… we do NOT do bad business deals.”

The Game has also been the Atlanta Hawks radio partner since August, 2013 and thanks in part to the rising fortunes of NBA’s hottest team had its best ratings book since its debut in October, 2012. And this month, the Hawks have been even better, riding a 17-game winning streak. Expect the Game’s monthly ratings to go up even more in January, once the numbers come out in two weeks.

When 92.9 was a rock station, it aired Falcons football games from 2004 through 2011. The Falcons at the time needed an FM stick and worked with the Zone as well to provide content while games weren’t going on.  But now 92.9 can promote and talk Falcons as much as it wants since it’s a 24/7 sports talk station.

Among the other valuable franchises in town, the Atlanta Braves and Georgia Tech football and basketball work with the Fan and UGA basketball and football is heard on News 95.5 and AM 750.

Credit to the AJC who originally published this article

Sports Radio News

Kayla Anderson Added to 104.5 The Zone Morning Show

Anderson will begin hosting Wednesday morning. She has previously worked as a sports anchor, reporter, and digital contributor to WKRN-TV in Nashville.

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Kayla Anderson has been added to the 104.5 The Zone morning show, newly titled Ramon, Kayla, and Will, joining Ramon Foster and Will Boling on the Nashville station.

Anderson will begin hosting Wednesday morning. She has previously worked as a sports anchor, reporter, and digital contributor on WKRN-TV in Nashville. A graduate of Washington State University, she has also worked at television stations in Spokane, Missoula, Tucson, and Columbus in addition to her time in Nashville.

Anderson said on Twitter she is “so excited to join this group!”

Boling had been the interim host of the morning show after the August departure of Jason Martin.

Ramon, Kayla, and Will will be heard from 6:00 AM-10:00 AM each weekday morning.

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Sports Radio News

Derek Wolfe Joining 104.3 The Fan as ‘The Drive’ Co-Host

I am so insanely pumped to talk with you every afternoon on The Fan. We had a special connection when I was playing for the Broncos that’s only going to grow stronger every day on The Drive.”

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Former NFL defensive lineman Derek Wolfe is joining 104.3 The Fan in Denver as co-host with Darren “DMac” Mckee on The Drive With Derek Wolfe and DMac.

Wolfe announced his retirement from the NFL earlier this year after signing a one-day contract to retire with the Denver Broncos. He was the franchise’s top pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, spending eight seasons with the team, including a win in Super Bowl 50.

“To the listeners in Denver, ‘The Fan Wolfe-pack,’ I am so insanely pumped to talk with you every afternoon on The Fan. We had a special connection when I was playing for the Broncos that’s only going to grow stronger every day on The Drive,” said Wolfe. “DMac and I are going to fight sometimes, maybe we’ll fight a lot of the time, but we’ll always be working together to entertain you. I’ve always kept it 100 with you, and that’s not going to change one bit.” 

“Derek is one of the most popular players in Broncos history, with the iconic image of his sack celebration in Super Bowl 50 forever etched in Denver sports lore,” said 104.3 The Fan program director Raj Sharan. “What’s so exciting about adding Derek is his connection with the audience goes far beyond his production on the field. He’s never been afraid to mince words and is unapologetically authentic. Those characteristics drew Denver sports fans to fall in love with Derek, and we’re thrilled to help Derek build on that relationship everyday as he entertains his ‘Fan Wolfe-pack!’” 

Wolfe enters a role previously occupied by former Bronco Tyler Polumbus, who departed the station in September. The Drive with Derek Wolfe and DMac will be heard weekday afternoons from 2:00 PM-6:00 PM.

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Sports Radio News

Chick Hearn Headlines Radio Hall of Fame Legends Inductees

Amongst other accolades, he is credited with broadcast 3,338 consecutive Lakers game from November 21, 1965 to December 16, 2001.

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Chick Hearn

The Museum of Broadcast Communications announced today the selection of 10 new Legends inductees into the Radio Hall of Fame for 2022. This distinction honors those in the industry who have contributed greatly to it and have since passed away.

Chick Hearn, the longtime voice of the Los Angeles Lakers, will be amongst those inducted in Chicago next month. Hearn was the voice of the Lakers for 41 years (1961-2002). Amongst other accolades, he is credited with broadcast 3,338 consecutive Lakers game from November 21, 1965 to December 16, 2001.  

The full list of those to be inducted as part of the Legends class are:

  • MrDoug Banks– Nationally syndicated on-air personality;
  • MrJames Brown– Legendary singer, to be inducted as a radio station owner of WJBE Knoxville, TN;
  • MrBob Coburn– Host of the syndicated Rockline show;
  • Mr. Chick Hearn– Play-by-play announcer/voice of the Los Angeles Lakers;
  • MsBernice Judis– Owner and General Manager, WNEW-AM, 1930’s–1950’s;
  • MrSid Mark– Host of syndicated program, Sounds of Sinatra show for 60+ years;
  • Mr. Bobby O’Jay– On-air personality, WDIA-AM/Memphis;
  • MrPervis Spann– On-air personality, WVON-AM/Chicago;
  • Mr. James Thompson– Group W Broadcasting President and President of the Broadcasters Foundation;
  • Ms. Rosalie Trombley– Music Director of CKLW-AM/Detroit in the 1960’s–1970’s.

“The Radio Hall of Fame is dedicated to recognizing the individuals who have made the greatest impact on our 100+ year old industry,” Kraig T. Kitchin, Co-Chairman, Radio Hall of Fame said. “I’m thrilled to see the Nominating Committee confirm the induction of these 10 individuals who each made such an impact on our industry in their time.”    

The Radio Hall of Fame will recognize its 2022 class of inductees, including the class announced in July, during a ceremony on Tuesday, November 1st.

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