SBD/February 9, 2011/Media

Back To A Familiar Nest: Orioles Return To WBAL-AM As Part Of Multiyear Deal

Orioles returning to WBAL after four seasons on WJZ-FM
The Orioles and WBAL-AM have signed a multiyear deal that makes WBAL the team's flagship radio station. WBAL will broadcast all 162 Orioles games during the '11 regular season, as well as select Spring Training games. Joe Angel and Fred Manfra will return as radio announcers (Orioles). In Baltimore, Ryan Sharrow noted WBAL will broadcast "at least 10 spring training games." The Orioles moved to WJZ-FM "before the start of the 2007 season ... after 19 years with WBAL." WJZ "had been involved in talks with the Orioles' to renew the deal" before the team went back to WBAL. WBAL GM & VP Ed Kiernan noted that the team's return to the station "will mark 41 out of the Orioles' 57 [seasons] their games have been broadcast on the 50,000-watt network." WBAL is also the flagship station for Ravens games, and Kiernan said that it was "too early to determine if some of the Orioles and Ravens games will overlap once football season begins in August." But Kiernan noted that Ravens games "also are broadcast on WBAL's sister station" WIYY-FM (BIZJOURNALS.com, 2/8).

MENDING FENCES: In Baltimore, Dan Connolly writes the "three-year contract, which comes after the club shopped its radio rights for several months, is somewhat surprising considering the rocky parting between the Orioles and WBAL after the 2006 season as well as the trend among professional sports franchises to switch from high-wattage AM stations to multi-platform FM clusters." The "prevailing thought" was that the Orioles would stay with WJZ "when their four-year deal expired" at the conclusion of last season. Orioles Owner Peter Angelos and WJZ officials "engaged in several rounds of negotiations but were unable to hammer out a deal." Orioles Dir of Communications Greg Bader said of WBAL, "The signal strength, the coverage they provide, their news-reporting abilities are all exemplary. They were a great partner of ours for many years, and we are confident they will be a great partner of ours this year and for years to come." Connolly notes WBAL will have "pre- and post-game shows, but additional baseball programming has not been determined" (Baltimore SUN, 2/9).
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