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Chicago Cubs Make Move To WBBM Official

Chicago Cubs CBS Newsradio 780 WBBM 105.9 WCFS Chicago 720 WGN TribuneUpdate 6/5: The Chicago Cubs and CBS Radio have made their deal official.

The multi-year deal with CBS will see the games broadcast on 780 WBBM with Pat Hughes and Ron Coomer remaining as announcers. The deal also includes promotional initiatives through CBS’ seven stations in the Chicago market and their digital and social platforms. The team and CBS will create and produce live music events at Wrigley Field.

CBS will also air a weekly Cubs Corner program on one of its stations.

INSTANT INSIGHT: CBS notes that WBBM will be the Cubs flagship and not simulcaster 105.9 WCFS. At the press conference CBS notes that the News programming will remain on the FM during games.

CBS RADIO and the Chicago Cubs announced today that WBBM Newsradio 780AM has been named as the team’s new flagship radio station beginning with the 2015 season. Chicago’s all-news station will broadcast regular and postseason games, and select pre-season contests with Pat Hughes and Ron Coomer calling all game day action.

The broadcast rights agreement is part of a multi-year sports and entertainment partnership that also includes several promotional initiatives across all seven of CBS RADIO’s local Chicago stations and the Company’s digital and social platforms. Additionally, the two parties will work jointly to create and produce live music events to be hosted at Wrigley Field.

“CBS RADIO is a recognized leader in producing and promoting sports, live event and music broadcasts in local markets across the country,” said Crane Kenney, President of Business Operations, Chicago Cubs. “We are excited to partner with CBS RADIO to broadcast Cubs baseball and develop unique activities and events that will entertain the millions of Cubs fans and visitors who come to Wrigley Field each year.”

“CBS RADIO is honored to serve as the broadcast home of the Chicago Cubs,” said Dan Mason, President and CEO, CBS RADIO. “This storied franchise is among the most well-known clubs in all of sports and we’re pleased to establish this relationship with a team that has such a loyal fan base in Chicago and across this country.

“This partnership also capitalizes on the expertise of our local stations to create one-of-a-kind events utilizing the inherent synergies of music and sports. Being able to interact with fans both in and out of the ballpark provides us a unique opportunity to connect with the community and grow our relationships with local businesses and national brands.”

Added Rod Zimmerman, Senior Vice President and Market Manager, CBS RADIO Chicago, “This is truly an historic day in Chicago radio. It is a rare opportunity that broadcast rights to such exclusive content like the Chicago Cubs become available. We are all beyond excited to move forward with this partnership that will bring Cubs baseball to a new level of engagement with fans throughout Chicago and the nation.”

Among additional Cubs programming will be “Cubs Corner,” a one-hour weekly show broadcast during the season featuring game highlights and a preview of upcoming matchups, as well as interviews with players, coaches and Cubs management. The show will air at select times throughout the remainder of the year.

Original Report 6/4: A broadcast partnership dating back to 1925 will come to an end this October.

The Chicago Cubs have set a press conference for Thursday morning to announce they will move their radio broadcasts in 2015 to CBS News simulcast 780 WBBM/105.9 WCFS.

WGN exercised an opt-out in their contract last year following declining ratings and loss of revenue while the Cubs have been mired in a long-term rebuilding. The Chicago Tribune reports that WGN was paying $10 per year for the Cubs broadcasts and refused to match CBS’ offer. Tribune Company owned both WGN and The Cubs from 1981 until 2008.

Robert Feder adds that the Cubs rights could then shift to Sports “670 The Score” WSCR in 2016 should CBS lose the rights to continue broadcasting the White Sox on that station.

The Cubs will join the NFL’s Chicago Bears on 780 WBBM and 105.9 WCFS.

Profile photo of Lance Venta
Lance Venta is the Owner and Publisher of RadioInsight.com and a consultant for RadioBB Networks specializing in integration of radio and the internet. Lance has two decades of experience tracking the audio industry and its use of digital platforms.

6 Comments

  1. Profile photo of raccoonradio


    Should that say $10M per year? $10, heck I could afford that 🙂

  2. Profile photo of raccoonradio


    “Baseball time is back again, you can hear the games on WGN/
    So stomp your feet and clap your hands, Chicago Cubs got the greatest fans”–Steve Goodman

  3. Profile photo of joseph_gallant


    Even if the White Sox stay with CBS Radio Chicago, they won’t stay on WSCR-670.

    The Cubs will head to WSCR for one reason: It would be the perfect marriage of the most popular baseball team in the Midwest and the most popular sports radio station in the Midwest.

    Imagine the promotional possibilities: “The biggest name in Chicago Sports, the Cubs, join the biggest name in Chicago sports radio, 670 The Score!”.

    • Profile photo of Nathan Obral


      I unilaterally disagree with you for one specific reason.

      The Mets lasted on WFAN for 12 years after CBS Radio acquired the Yankees rights for WCBS. That’s right, CBS’ top sports ‘brand’ in WFAN had the other baseball team in NYC (no offense, Lance 😉 and still would have the Mets today… had the rights for both the Yankees and Mets not become completely cost-prohibitive.

      Which is a scenario that is not going to happen in Chicago. Book on The Score reupping with the White Sox when those rights come up for renewal.

  4. Profile photo of Dr. Akbar


    Holy cow!

  5. Profile photo of keithe4


    For the record, the Cubs will air only on WBBM 780, with the all-news format remaining on WCFS 105.9. The simulcast will be broken during game times.

    When the Bears and Cubs both play at the same time — 7 or 8 days in August and September — the Bears will air on 780, while the Cubs will be on 105.9. There are some reports that 105.9 will be all-news 24/7 no matter what, and the Cubs will air on another CBS-owned FM station during Bears games.

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