05/08/2006 11:02 AM ET
Red Sox, Entercom reach long-term radio broadcast agreement
Club will return to WRKO Radio 680 AM
BOSTON -- The Boston Red Sox and Entercom Communications today agreed to a 10-year agreement to return the club's games to WRKO Radio 680 AM. Red Sox President/CEO Larry Lucchino and Entercom President/CEO David Field made the announcement. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"We are pleased that we can move our radio broadcasts to a 50,000-watt station with an excellent signal pattern, one that was the radio home of the Red Sox for twelve years," Lucchino said. "Entercom and WEEI have been great partners, and we are happy that this relationship will continue."
WRKO broadcast Red Sox games starting 1983 through 1994. A limited series of special games will also be broadcast on WEEI (850 AM).
"This is a great day for the Red Sox, Entercom, and especially the fans," Field said. "With the games on WRKO and more time for sports talk on WEEI, the fans are the big winners here."
The Red Sox also have an option (but not an obligation) down the road to acquire a minority interest in WRKO. Further business details were not disclosed.
"We had a long, vigorous, competitive series of negotiations," Lucchino said, "And we thank Peter Smythe and Greater Media, as well as Joel Hollander of CBS Radio (WBZ AM) for the honorable way in which they and their companies aggressively pursued these radio rights. We also thank our negotiating team, led by Chief Operating Officer Mike Dee, Vice President/Broadcasting Chuck Steedman, and Chief Legal Officer Lucinda Treat. They and their team committed hours, energy, and great creativity to this project on behalf of the club and our fans."
"We look forward to building a stronger network of affiliated stations throughout New England to further enhance fans ability to enjoy our broadcasts," Dee said. "By changing stations, but staying with Entercom, our fans can maintain continuity with some of the key network affiliates, such as WEEI FM in Providence, RI, which just joined the network in the last year, as well as other key stations in Worcester, Springfield, and the entire region.
"We are also intrigued by the near future of AM digital radio, which will create greater options and provide technological improvements in fidelity."
Entercom has held the club's radio broadcasting rights 12 years (starting 1995 through 2006), during which the games were presented on WEEI AM.
"Baseball on the radio still has the charm it has had since the days of Rooney, Hoey, Hussey, and Gowdy," Lucchino said. "New England has enjoyed baseball on the radio for 80 years; it's now our responsibility to extend that quality into the future."
Red Sox games have been on the air since 1926, when Gus Rooney had the call of Opening Day on WNAC AM. Fred Hoey and Gerry Harrison took over the next year, Hoey lasting till 1938. Tom Hussey was then the voice of Red Sox on the radio for 16 years, as the games aired on WAAB AM, back to WNAC AM, then to WHDH AM (starting 1947). Jim Britt was with him for 11 years.
Hall of Famer Curt Gowdy joined the broadcast in 1951 and continued through 1965, all on WHDH AM. Ned Martin joined Gowdy in 1961 and remained a broadcaster through 1992. Meanwhile, Ken Coleman joined WHDH AM in 1966 and remained through 1974, then returned from 1979-1989.
When the broadcasts switched to WRKO in 1983, Joe Castiglione became the lead announcer, with Jerry Trupiano joining him 10 years later.
The history of Red Sox English broadcasts in Boston on the radio follows:
1926 WNAC AM (Opening Day)
1927-38 WNAC AM
1939-42 WAAB AM
1942-46 WNAC AM
1947-75 WHDH AM
1976-77 WMEX AM
1978-82 WITS AM
1983-94 WRKO AM
1995-2006 WEEI AM