It’s a simple as guaranteeing advertisers the audience you’ve promised them. But this made a bit of news in Sheboygan, WI: When the Green Bay Packers play the Chicago Bears 1/23, WHBL-AM in that city won’t be able to hear Packers’ play-by-play announcer Wayne Larrivee make his famous call of, “And … there … is … your … dagger!”
That’s because NFL rules say the station is barred from carrying the local broadcast of the NFC championship game by the Green Bay Packers Radio Network. Only the Packers flagship stations in Green Bay and Milwaukee will be allowed to air the call from Larrivee and color commentator Larry McCarren. WHBL and 46 other stations on the Packers radio network in Wisconsin and parts of the Midwest will be airing the Westwood One national broadcast of the game, with announcers Kevin Harlan, Randy Cross and Mark Malone.
“That’s the way it has to be,” Kelly Meyer, WHBL PD, told the Sheboygan Press. “It’s just goofy. You know, we carry the Packer radio network all year through the early part of the playoffs, and the championship game and Super Bowl, you’re not allowed to. It’s kind of bizarre. But those are the rules, and they give exclusive rights to Westwood One.”
WHBL won’t be able to air the Packers network pregame show; instead it will be using the Westwood One pregame show, which will start at 1 p.m.
By NFL rule, only each team’s flagship station can carry local broadcasts during the conference championships or Super Bowl, with the exception of the Packers. Because the Packers’ flagship station is in Milwaukee, broadcasts are allowed in the Milwaukee and Green Bay markets.
RBR-TVBR observation: This is the way sports network radio works, of course. The highly-rated championship and playoff games of most sports are given exclusivity to the radio networks, which aggregate a large audience and big ad dollars for themselves, the NFL, NCAA, MLB, etc. The national advertisers are not so interested in the regional or local sports networks like the Green Bay Packers Radio Network who carry the early games of the season. However, when that network’s team takes it to the championship level, the broadcast rights take a turn.