IMG College announced the addition of 13 new affiliates for West Virginia University sports radio broadcasts. The new stations bring the total affiliate network for the new Mountaineer Sports Network from IMG to 35.
IMG College and WVU signed an $86.5 million deal last month awarding the North Carolina-based company WVU’s so-called Tier 3 multimedia rights, which include radio sports broadcasts, reports The Charleston Daily Mail.
Joining the network Monday were: WCEF-FM in Ripley; WNMP-FM in Marlinton; WVHU-AM in Huntington; WVMR-AM and WVMR-FM in Dunmore; WVRC-AM and WVRC-FM in Spencer; and WWVA-AM and WBBD-AM in Wheeling, WV.
The company also signed four out-of-state radio stations: WCHG-FM in Hot Springs, VA.; WCBC-AM and WCBC-FM in Cumberland, MD.; and WVLS-FM in Monterey, VA.
“We are very excited to welcome this large group of station affiliates to the still-growing Mountaineer Sports Network from IMG,” said Chris Ferris, vice president of broadcasting for IMG College.
Most of the stations will air football and men’s basketball games and pre-game shows, along with their respective coaches’ shows and a daily “Mountaineer Minute” report.
However, WVMR-AM, WVMR-FM, WVLS-FM, WCHG-FM, and WNMP-FM, which are non-commercial stations, will carry only football broadcasts.
According to IMG, the broadcasts on these non-commercial stations will be underwritten through corporate support.
West Virginia Radio Corp., which used to distribute WVU radio programming and is currently pursuing a lawsuit against WVU and IMG regarding the handling of the multimedia rights bid process, has not signed on to the network.
West Virginia Radio Corp. is owned by Morgantown, WV businessman John Raese. The company announced last month it isn’t bidding on a 12-year contract for multimedia rights to some West Virginia University athletic events and sued to try to stop both IMG and West Virginia Media Holdings from participating in bidding.
WVU rebid the contract, because a review by the state AG’s office found “significant errors and sloppiness” in how a previous deal was formed.
Five companies, including IMG and West Virginia Radio Corp., participated in a pre-bid conference in May that also included Nelligan Sports Marketing, Learfield Communications and FOX Run Group. Proposals were due 6/12.
West Virginia Radio host Hoppy Kercheval said on the Friday edition of his statewide MetroNews Talkline radio show that the company would not join the network so long as it was pursuing legal action against WVU and IMG.
IMG spokesman Andrew Giangola said last week the company has reached out to West Virginia Radio, providing various options to the company in an effort to partner with their stations.
“The door remains open,” Giangola told the Daily Mail Thursday.