COLTS' NEW RADIO DEAL HAS SOME IN CITY UPSET AT IRSAY'S MOVE
Published January 12, 1998
The Colts will replace WIBC-AM as its radio flagship for WFBQ and WNDE, according to Robin Miller of the INDIANAPOLIS STAR-NEWS. Colts Exec Dir of Business Development Ray Compton said the deal was not signed "yet," but that the team had "verbally accepted another offer." Compton added the new deal enables the team to market their own advertising and programming. WIBC was the original flagship of the Colts in '84, but lost the rights to WFBQ and WNDE in '92, before "regaining them" in '95. WIBC Owner Jeff Smulyan, who has "lobbied long and hard to keep" the Colts in Indianapolis, was "seething" after the decision. Smulyan: "My understanding is that the offers were identical, and it's incomprehensible they could have offered more than we did. ... Where's the loyalty?" Compton said it was "as tough a decision as he's ever made." Although terms were not disclosed, Miller reported that WIBC paid $1M for rights fees in '97, and that Compton is "hopeful" that figure "can double by selling in-house advertising" (STAR- NEWS, 1/9). Miller writes today under the header, "Colts And Irsay Hit All-Time Low With Radio Deal." He calls the move "an appalling breach of trust, friendship and community relations" from team Owner Jim Irsay to Smulyan after Smulyan "gave Irsay invaluable support in reworking his stadium lease with the city" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR-NEWS, 1/12).