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Bonneville lands the Nationals (Z104)


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Good news:

- It's with the owner of the top AM station, the 24 hour news and weather WTOP, which will lead to good promotion

- It's FM

- It's an one year deal

- Team sells the ad spots (I don't know, isn't a bit too late to get top dollar)

 

Bad news:

- No rights fee

- The games will broadcast on one of the weakest FM stations, and the worst AM station in the area.

- It's a music station. Little chance of a pre-game show or significant cross-promotion.

 

From DCRTV.org:

Nationals To Z104, WFED - 2/17 -

This just in. All evening and night Nationals baseball games will be heard on Bonneville's hot adult contemporary Z104 - 104.1 FM and 103.9 FM. All daytime games will be heard on Bonneville's federal news talker WFED - 1050 AM. The announcement was made on Bonneville all-newser WTOP's airwaves at 4:04 PM Thursday by Joel Oxley, who heads Bonneville's DC radio cluster, which includes Z104, WFED, WTOP, and WGMS. This is a surprise because it was widely reported that the Nats' play-by-play finalists were Clear Channel's WTEM and Infinity's WJFK-FM. The games will be difficult to hear on the Baltimore area airwaves because of Clear Channel smooth jazzer WSMJ at 104.3, which is adjacent to Z104's 104.1 frequency. Also, the full-powered 104.1 signal originates from southern Prince George's County, and has some weak coverage areas in DC's northern and western suburbs. Z104's 103.9 Frederick area outlet is a relatively low-powered regional signal, as is Silver Spring's WFED, which runs only 1,000-watts by day.

 

From the WashPost:

Nationals Agree to Radio Deal

First Season Games to Be Broadcast by Z104.1

 

By Barry Svrluga

Washington Post Staff Writer

Thursday, February 17, 2005; 5:35 PM

 

The Washington Nationals agreed today to a one-year deal to have the bulk of their games broadcast by WWZZ -- commonly referred to as Z104.1, an FM station that plays modern music -- during their inaugural season.

 

WWZZ is owned by Bonneville International Corp., which also owns WTOP, a regional power. Forty of the Nationals' games -- most of them in the afternoon -- will be carried by another Bonneville property, WFED, found at 1050 AM.

 

The deal, completed this afternoon, comes much later than Nationals officials would have liked. Twice over the past month, apparent agreements with Clear Channel Communications and Infinity Broadcasting -- two powerful conglomerates -- fell apart.

 

The deal will not bring in revenue to the Nationals, a source said. Rather, the team will buy the air time -- terms were unavailable -- and try to recover the money through ad sales. Nationals President Tony Tavares said he preferred a one-year deal now "because I don't think we should get locked into anything."

 

"We're coming into a soft market," Tavares said. "It's soft, in part, because we got going so late on this thing."

 

Tavares said he went with Bonneville in part because of the company's ability to promote the broadcasts across its other stations in the Washington area, including WTOP.

 

The process of selecting broadcasters will begin as early as this afternoon, when officials from the Nationals and Bonneville will meet and begin going through tapes.

 

From Bonneville's press release:

PRESS RELEASE... Z104-FM and Federal News Radio AM 1050 are named Official Radio Stations of The Washington Nationals 2005 Inaugural Season... February 17, 2005 Washington, D.C. Bonneville International Corporation and the Washington Nationals announced today that WWZZ/WWVZ, Z104-FM and Federal News Radio AM 1050 WFED, have been granted the radio broadcast rights for the inaugural season of The Washington Nationals baseball team. Bonneville D.C. Sr. Vice President Joel Oxley commented, “We know that DC area fans have been waiting 30 years for this moment and we are thrilled to be the flagship stations as the national pastime returns to the Nation’s Capital. The combination of Z104 and Federal News Radio will give fans the ultimate coverage from the first pitch to the final out.� "I'd like to welcome the Bonneville International Corporation to the Nationals family," said Washington Nationals President Tony Tavares. "I am confident that Z104-FM and WFED 1050-AM, as well as WTOP, will deliver blanket coverage, both on the field and off, of our historic inaugural season." Z104 Program Director Sammy Simpson commented, “Z104 is thrilled to be the flagship station of the Washington Nationals in 2005! The lifestyle of the Z104 audience and baseball are a perfect match and one that will create a whole new way to hear the game.� Nine spring training games, the April 3 charity game versus New York, and all regular season games will be broadcast on WFED. A total of 122 games will be broadcast on Z104, all being late afternoon and night games with the exception of three holiday games and the season finale. Bonneville International Corporation (BIC), a diversified communication company that currently owns Washington based Z104, WFED, WTOP, WGMS along with radio stations nationwide, KSL Television, Bonneville Satellite Company (satellite service), and Bonneville Communications (advertising company). (2/17/05)

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Z-104, Fed Radio and XM....Nats are not doing well so far.

 

At least they have the radio side done, now TV. I hear 5, 7, and 9 are up there trailed by 4. I hope 4 or 5 gets the broadcast rights. However, knowing the Nats management, they may go to 7 because it has Newschannel 8 on cable.

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WFED-AM at night...only 44 watts!

 

 

These signals will not be easy to sell. Hopefully they can cash in on affiliates joining in.

688717[/snapback]

I live in Wheaton-Glenmont and can't get 1050 at the moment.

 

WGOP 700 Walkersville (news-talk) and 1160 WMET Gaithersburg (business) are the only ones that wouldn't tred on WTOP 1500's powerful signal.

 

It's too easy to pass judgement before they add affiliates in Virginia, West Virginia and central Pennsylvania. But to not get a rights fee for a new team with over 20,000 season ticket holders? Absurd.

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Z-104, Fed Radio and XM....Nats are not doing well so far.

 

At least they have the radio side done, now TV. I hear 5, 7, and 9 are up there trailed by 4. I hope 4 or 5 gets the broadcast rights. However, knowing the Nats management, they may go to 7 because it has Newschannel 8 on cable.

688734[/snapback]

As I've read, none of those broadcast the games. They are bidding to become the official staton for promotional purposes. They'll end up the local UPN or WB affiliate, with the Orioles broadcasting their non-Comcast Sports games on PAX.

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Z-104, Fed Radio and XM....Nats are not doing well so far.

 

At least they have the radio side done, now TV. I hear 5, 7, and 9 are up there trailed by 4. I hope 4 or 5 gets the broadcast rights. However, knowing the Nats management, they may go to 7 because it has Newschannel 8 on cable.

688734[/snapback]

As I've read, none of those broadcast the games. They are bidding to become the official staton for promotional purposes. They'll end up the local UPN or WB affiliate, with the Orioles broadcasting their non-Comcast Sports games on PAX.

688752[/snapback]

Ouch.....If 5 gets the Nats, they go on 20. If anybody else lands them 50 could be the home as well. This is crazy.

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As the average Capital area resident, can you get the games if you tuned in from your home? School? Work? On the road doing errands?

688736[/snapback]

1050, I've never bothered before. Z104 gets iffy on the west side of Potomac, but receptiion is very good until you get too north. Like I said, it's too easy to judge the coverage before they add the Virginia affiliates (Winchester, Fredericksburg/Quantico, Leesburg, Richmond, Harrisonburg, Roanoke, Virginia Beach, Charlestown, Morgantown would be good spots)

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910 in Richmond took the Braves and dumped the O's. They thought the Nats would be a losing cause. The Nats can make money off this deal, I have no doubt. The Marlins and FSN do this with the PAX telecasts. The rays are now doing this with their PAX telecasts and their radio network. The Phils are also doing this on radio with WPHT and WIP.

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WWRC has tower troubles though. FCC has nothing done since the 60's.

 

BTW, here is Bonneville's description of WFED-AM's signal

Listeners are able to hear this new station clearly in Washington, D.C. and much of Montgomery, Arlington, and Fairfax counties from 6am to local sunset; it operates on lower power after sunset

 

Smells like the Braves on WGST/96 Rock and Royals on WHB/Planet 97

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When the Marlins started, WQAM signed them because without baseball they would not get the Dolphins. Remember Wayne owned both.

 

Sunshine was the only RSN active (FSN Florida was effectively off the air) and UPN33 won the broadcast rights for Miami.

 

In 1997, Wayne bought the old FSN and put it online. The Marlins and Panthers moved. He signed the teams long term and sold them. Then he sold the channel back to Rainbow from which he bought them from.

 

WQAM and the Marlins throughout this time stayed together. Sometimes in good relations, other times in litigation.

 

Marlins moved from 1210 WCMQ when it became Radio Unica. They went to WQBA on a handshake deal which they still have to this day.

 

Univision bought WQBA and has since put more into the Marlins and WQBA by getting the Heat on 1140 as well.

 

WQAM is learning that baseball > football.

 

Marlins and FSN are very happy and FSN outsources its over-the-air portion to PAX. Team and FSN split profits there.

 

WQAM runs the team's network again and pays rights.

 

WQAM and the Devil Rays Radio Co. are in a battle royale for Florida Radio Stations willing to air baseball as the Braves have basically bowed out.

 

In Short:

560 WQAM: 1993-Present

1210 WCMQ: 1993-1997/1140 WQBA: 1997-Present

UPN 33: 1993-1998/WAMI 69: 1999-2001/PAX 35: 2002-Present

Sunshine Network: 1993-1997/FSN Florida 1997-Present

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