It’s frustrating that all the major news involving the Cubs these days is either about Wrigley Field, the rooftops, television contracts and Old Style, but that’s just the way things are as the Cubs continue this never-ending-but-hopefully-ending-somewhat-soon rebuilding project. And the latest major news is that the Cubs could be moving down your radio dial in 2015.
Ed Sherman is reporting that WBBM-AM 780 has become the favorite to become the new radio home of Chicago Cubs baseball.
The CBS-owned outlet is using all of its local stations in a synergistic bid to land the rights to the Cubs, beginning with the 2015 season, according to team and industry sources. If the team goes with WBBM, it would end its long relationship with WGN-AM 720, which dates back to 1925.
The Cubs wouldn’t comment on the situation. However a team source said, “We believe there is a very good market for Cubs rights.”
It was WGN’s decision to put the Cubs’ rights on the market after it exercised an option to reopen its contract with the team last fall. Broadcast sources say WGN is losing significant money on the Cubs broadcasts, with listeners and advertisers tuning out a ballclub that has lost 197 games in the last two years. The station still will air Cubs games in 2014.
This would basically give CBS-owned radio stations a large chunk of the city’s sports radio market, as the White Sox are on The Score and the Bears are already on WBBM. What Sherman doesn’t mention, though, is how WBBM will handle those Sundays in September — and maybe October eventually — when both the Cubs and Bears are playing at the same time. I guess WBBM will cross that bridge when they get to it.
All I know is that, if you’re reading this right now, odds are you’ve never heard a Cubs game on any radio station other than WGN. So that will be weird?
But you know what would be weirder?
As Sherman goes on to write, the White Sox radio deal with The Score expires following the 2016 season. Well, should they not come to a new agreement with The Score — maybe CBS decides one baseball team is enough for them — the Sox could end up having their games on, yep, WGN.
The future is a strange and scary place.
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