ESPN picking up lost affiliates in Florida


ESPN RadioNot long after losing its Orlando and Tampa affiliates (Genesis Communications) to NBC Sports Radio Network,  sports fans in those markets can now listen to ESPN Radio in Tampa on Clear Channel’s WDAE-AM, and on ESPN 580 set to debut in Orlando on 11/12. Currently, ESPN 580 is Cox Media Group’s News-Talk WDBO-AM, simulcasting with its FM 96.5.

ESPN 580 in Orlando will be debuting ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike in the Morning (6-10 a.m. ET), The Herd with Colin Cowherd (10 a.m.-1 p.m.) and SVP & Russillo (1-4 p.m.)

Tampa’s local programming includes Steve Duemig, Rob & Ian and  Rick Stroud and Tom Jones, along with local play-by-play coverage of the NFL’s Buccaneers, MLB’s Rays and Florida Gators on WDAE-AM in Tampa.

“We’re pleased to team with Cox to broadcast ESPN Radio content on WDBO, 580, one of the strongest signals in the southeast, and with Clear Channel to provide ESPN programming on 620 WDAE,” said Traug Keller, ESPN Senior Vice President, Production, Business Divisions. “Our new affiliates in both Tampa and Orlando are a huge step up in signal strength, business acumen and our drive to grow our business with the best in the business.”

Additionally, ESPN 580-AM will partner with ESPN Wide World of Sports on special events and programming opportunities in Orlando, and present ESPN Radio’s national play-by-play coverage, including:  the NBA regular season, playoffs and Finals; MLB regular season, playoffs and World Series; the BCS (with a full slate of regular season college football); the USGA’s U.S. Open; the 2014 FIFA World Cup; and the Open Championship.

RBR-TVBR observation: In speaking with Genesis CEO Bruce Maduri, it almost looks like ESPN may have planned it to end up this way. Maduri could not get the usual cooperation from ESPN in getting his affiliations renewed in Tampa and Orlando. They made it almost impossible to make it work for him in the renewal discussions. That’s how networks roll sometimes when they don’t want to renew with affiliates.