COLTS' NEW RADIO DEAL HAS SOME IN CITY UPSET AT IRSAY'S MOVE
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).