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KKOB To Remain Home of Lobos

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The University of New Mexico’s flagship athletic programs – men’s basketball and football – will remain on the Lobos’ longtime flagship station for at least three more years.

On Friday, Pat Frisch, AM operations director for Albuquerque’s Cumulus-owned stations, told theJournal that KKOB (770 AM) has signed a new three-year agreement to keep Learfield Sports Properties as a partner. Learfield, based in Jefferson City, Mo., owns the broadcast rights for UNM men’s and women’s basketball and football games.

“That will keep men’s basketball and football on 770, and women’s basketball on The Sports Animal at 610 AM,” Frisch said. “It’s for the 2015, ’16 and ’17-18 school years.

“We started the negotiations in February. Learfield owns some pretty big teams, so they want radio stations with a lot of wattage. We have 50,000 watts, which is something they really like.”

Frisch has been with the station for 17 years, but said the Lobo football and basketball games have been aired on KKOB “for about 50 years.”

Learfield negotiates with UNM for the Lobo product, then with radio stations to sell the broadcasts. Frisch said Learfield also hires the broadcasters, but he said he assumes the broadcast teams will remain the same this year.

Robert Portnoy does play-by-play for both men’s basketball and football. Hunter Greene was the analyst for basketball and DonTrell Moore for football last year.

“Clearly, there’s a long history with KKOB broadcasting Lobo games,” said UNM athletic director Paul Krebs. “While we’re not involved directly in the negotiation process, I’m very happy to continue to be on 770. It’s a good relationship, and one I hope continues.”

Frisch said part of the appeal for Learfield is having a station that reaches so many areas that directly helps Lobo sports.

“We have the strongest station in (the) Southwest at night, when most games are played, and 770 covers 17 states,” Frisch said. “The biggest sports thing in town is New Mexico Lobo sports. It’s the greatest thing you can have in this market when it comes to sports. And it helps UNM as a recruiting tool, because we reach so many states.”

“I think that’s a very fair statement,” Krebs said. “They have such a large coverage area. And anytime you can get your brand and message out to a large population base, it’s a good thing.”

Joe O’Neill, president of KQTM-FM (101.7 The Team), said he was surprised Learfield didn’t reach out to his station, which is a 24-hour ESPN sports affiliate. The Team has broadcast Lobo baseball the past seven seasons and plans to again next season.

“As New Mexico’s highest-rated sports station, it makes sense that we would be a viable option,” O’Neill said. “But KKOB’s strength of signal and having familiarity (for fans) are factors. However, with the advent of streaming applications and the incredibly high use of smartphones, that strength of signal has never been less important. Quite frankly, we feel Lobos sports – and Lobo fans – would benefit from being on a dedicated sports station, especially one on FM. We’re a 24-hour sports station, and KKOB is a 24-hour news/talk station. It would seem to make sense that a sports listener would be more likely to buy tickets and support the teams.”

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Parker Hillis Named Brand Manager of Sports Radio 610

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Goodbye snow and hello heat! Parker Hillis is headed to Houston. Audacy has announced that he will be the new brand manager for Sports Radio 610.

“Parker is a rising star,” Sarah Frazier, Senior Vice President and Market Manager of Audacy in Houston, said in a press release. “He has impressed us since day one with his innovative ideas, focus on talent coaching and work ethic. We’re thrilled to have him join our Audacy team.”

Hillis comes to the market from Denver. He has spent the last three years with Bonneville’s 104.3 The Fan. He started as the station’s executive producer before rising to APD earlier this year.

In announcing his exit from The Fan on his Facebook page, Hillis thanked Fan PD Raj Sharan for preparing him for this opportunity.

“His leadership and guidance set the stage for me to continue to grow and develop in this industry, one that I absolutely love,” Hillis wrote. “This is a special place, one that I am honored to have been a part of and so sad to leave.”

Sports Radio 610 began the process to find a new brand manager in February when Armen Williams announced he was leaving the role. Williams also came to Houston from Denver. He started his own business outside the radio industry.

“I’m excited to join the Sports Radio 610 team in Houston,” said Hillis. “The opportunity to direct and grow an already incredible Audacy brand is truly an honor.”

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Iowa Adds WCKG As Chicago Radio Affiliate

“The Hawkeyes open their season at home on September 3 against FCS power South Dakota State.”

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Iowa City, home of the University of Iowa, sits just over three and a half hours from Chicago. It makes sense to assume plenty of alumni move to the Windy City after school and that other Iowa fans live in the metro area as well. That is why the Hawkeyes have struck a deal with WCKG to become their radio affiliate in Chicago.

The station, which is heard on 1530 AM, will air the entire season of Iowa football.

“Iowa Football’s storied history, continued success, and loyal fan base and alumni network throughout Chicagoland made this move a no-brainer for WCKG,” WCKG Sports Director Jon Zaghloul said in a press release. “I’m excited to bring the Hawkeyes to Chicago, and can’t wait to start airing games this Fall. It’s a huge acquisition for our brand, and, more importantly, our devoted listeners.” 

The Hawkeyes open their season at home on September 3 against FCS power South Dakota State. Gary Dolphin has called all of the school’s sports on radio since 1996. Ed Podolak is his partner in the booth during football season.

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Dave Rothenberg Can’t Stand Hearing Kenny Albert Mispronounce ‘Raleigh’

“I would think a true professional, like somebody that cares about their craft, would get that kind of feedback and welcome it.”

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Dave Rothenberg has a tiny bone to pick with Kenny Albert, and it’s over the way Kenny pronounces the Carolina Hurricanes’ home city.

Talking on his show on ESPN New York on Tuesday, Rothenberg, who spent three years working in Raleigh on 99.9 The Fan, said he wished someone would get in Albert’s ear and correct the way he’s been saying it adding that it has made him wish one of the top play-by-play voices in hockey wouldn’t be on the call for the playoff series between the Canes and New York Rangers.

“I would think a true professional, like somebody that cares about their craft, would get that kind of feedback and welcome it,” Rothenberg said.

Albert has been pronouncing the city’s name as “RAW-lee”. It is properly pronounced “RAH-lee”.

Co-host Rick DiPietro and the rest of the show crew thought Albert would take offense to the correction, especially since it’s such a minor thing, but Rothenberg thought that was ridiculous.

“See, no one can deal with tough love anymore,” Rothenberg said.

The New York Rangers and Carolina Hurricanes series shifts back to Raleigh on Thursday for Game 5. The series is tied 2-2.

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