SBD/April 26, 2012/Media

ESPN Radio Formally Announces Move Of N.Y. Station To FM Dial

ESPN Radio today announced it will move its N.Y. station “to 98.7 FM, replacing the long-time R&B powerhouse KISS-FM,” according to Neil Best of NEWSDAY. The move from the AM dial will begin Monday. ESPN had been “looking for an FM home for its ratings-challenged New York outlet for several years.” ESPN did not buy the channel from Emmis Communications but “rather struck a deal to rent it for 12 years.” The “hope is that a spot on the more popular FM band -- and a clearer signal -- will help the 10 1/2-year old station better complete with long-time market leader WFAN.” ESPN Radio will “continue to be heard on 1050 AM until September, when it will become an all-Spanish sports station under the ESPN Deportes banner.” ESPN intends to “bid aggressively for Yankees rights after the team’s deal with CBS Radio expires following the current season.” CBS’ deal with the Mets expires after ’13 and it is “possible CBS will seek to keep the Yankees and move them from WCBS to WFAN” (NEWSDAY.com, 4/26). ESPN Senior VP/Production & Business Divisions Traug Keller said, "Opportunities like this don't come along too often and it's tremendous that we were able to conclude a deal that will enhance our mission of serving sports fans in not just English but Spanish as well" (ESPNNY.com, 4/26). In N.Y., Bob Raissman reports host Stephen A. Smith will "move from his nightside gig to the 1 p.m.-3 p.m. slot joining Ryan Ruocco." Sources said that Smith is "close to signing a deal." Tennis analyst Patrick McEnroe is also "expected to join 1050’s team to bolster the station’s weekend roster" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 4/26).
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