BSMW has confirmed that despite yesterday’s announcement of the affiliation agreement between ESPN Radio and WEEI, the former is still actively seeking a full-time outlet to air their complete programming lineup in the Boston area.
I had asked Dan Quinn of the ESPN Communications department whether they were still seeking a full outlet in the Boston market so that they could broadcast their full daily schedule, including Mike and Mike in the Morning, The Herd with Colin Cowherd and The Scott Van Pelt Show. The answer was a very quick “Yes,” but there were no details available beyond that at this time.
Now, that outlet could very well end up being 850 AM. Chad Finn mentioned it again this morning, and stated it in terms that make it seem like it is all but a done deal. The WEEI programming will move from 850 AM to a yet-to-be-determined FM signal, and ESPN Radio will take over the 850 AM signal. This move would take place sometime after the Red Sox finish their season, so that the broadcast will not change frequencies for the third time this season.
The result could be something like what you see with sports radio KNBR out in the San Francisco Bay Area. They run two stations out there, on AM frequencies 680 and 1050, with 680 being local programming, and 1050 being a mix of ESPN radio, (Mike & Mike and Cowherd) plus Dan Patrick, Jim Rome, and local programming.
By having two stations, WEEI/Entercom can sell twice as much advertising space, (and break their ad time offerings into additional tiers) and have two outlets to use when broadcasting sports events that are scheduled for the same time. They’ll have both the local and national presence, and access to the ESPN “talent.”
I don’t forsee any overlap between WEEI.com and ESPNBoston.com – I think both sites will run independently, though don’t be surprised to hear ESPNBoston writers on the airwaves of the two radio stations.