iHeartMedia Flips 97.3 Now Milwaukee To Sports

Radio Now 97.3 The Game WRNW Milwaukee Big 920 WOKYiHeartMedia has exited a three-way Top 40 battle and created a new FM Sports one in Milwaukee as “97.3 Now” WRNW has become “97.3 The Game“.

Utilizing the branding “Sports Talk That Rocks”, the station will bring the majority of the local programming of “Big 920” WOKY over to FM including The Crossover with Dan Needles and Ted Davis from 10am-12pm and the regionally syndicated Mike Heller Show from 2-6pm. Former WOKY 12-3pm host Drew Olson moves to mornings from 6-10am with Kevin ‘KB’ Brandt, while The Double Team with Fox Sports Wisconsin anchor Dario Melendez and Bob Brainerd take the 12-2pm slot. Fox Sports Radio network programming will fill the schedule on nights and weekends along with University of Wisconsin and national NFL play-by-play.

OnMiwaukee.com reports that Steve Czaben is likely to join the station at the end of his non-compete. Czaben, who hosts afternoons on Urban One Sports “980 The Team” WTEM Washington, also had a daily sports segment on the “Bob & Brian Show” on Saga Rock “102.9 The Hog” WHQG until abruptly departing in October.

The move to Sports brings WRNW in direct competition on a full powered FM with Good Karma Brands recently launched94.5 ESPN-FM” WKTI plus Entercom’s “105.7 The Fan” 1250 WSSP/105.7 W289CB. In the October Nielsen Audio ratings WSSP held a 1.9 share while iHeart’s “Big 920” WOKY held a 0.4 and Good Karma’s 540 WAUK was not subscribed.

WRNW exits the three way CHR battle with a 2.6 share in that October ratings period. Entercom’s “103.7 Kiss-FM” WXSS held a 4.7 share, while Saga’s “Energy 106.9” WNRG-FM registered a 1.5 share.

HeartMedia Milwaukee announced today the debut of the new 97.3 The Game, Sports Talk That Rocks, effective immediately.

97.3 The Game will broadcast the latest local and national sports news and feature some of the most recognized and respected names and voices in Milwaukee sports. The program lineup will include Drew Olson, former Brewers beat writer and Milwaukee radio host; Ted Davis, the voice of the Milwaukee Bucks; Dan Needles, Sports Director at WISN-TV; Dario Melendez from Fox Sports Wisconsin; Bob Brainerd from Spectrum Sports; Kevin Brandt (KB), longtime Milwaukee morning show personality; and Mike Heller, veteran Wisconsin broadcaster and a voice of Wisconsin Badger sports.

“Sports talk in Milwaukee is about to change,” said Tim Scott, Program Director for 97.3 The Game and The BIG 1070 AM in Madison. “Milwaukee is more than just a great sports town and 97.3 The Game will reflect that.”

97.3 THE GAME will be Milwaukee’s exclusive FM home for University of Wisconsin Badgers sports play by play as well as the NFL postseason and Super Bowl 53.

97.3 The Game will be paired with sister station The Big 920 AM which will feature Mike Lucas in the Morning, national sports hosts Dan Patrick, Colin Cowherd, Rich Eisen and FOX Sports Radio. The Big 920 AM will also continue to be the home for the Milwaukee Admirals, NFL, NCAA tournament, High School sports and NASCAR. University of Wisconsin sports will be featured on both 97.3 The Game and The Big 920 AM including football, men’s basketball, and hockey.

Fans can listen to 97.3 The Game at www.thegamemke.com, as well as on iHeartRadio.com and the iHeartRadio mobile app, iHeartMedia’s all-in-one music streaming and digital radio service.

Full Programming Lineup:
Drew and KB 6 a.m. – 10 a.m.
The Crossover with Dan Needles and Ted Davis 10 a.m. – Noon
The Double Team with Dario Melendez and Bob Brainerd Noon – 2 p.m.
The Mike Heller Show 2 p.m. – 6 p.m.

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  1. Eric Jon Magnuson says

    RAMP now reports that Now’s Brett Andrews, Rahny Taylor, and Dave Michaels all remain with iHeart–with Mr. Andrews continuing his work at co-owned WRIT. Also, it’s ironic that both 94.5 and 97.3 made similar flips–as those two stations are the FMs that were part of Milwaukee’s longtime AM/FM/TV combos (Journal’s WTMJ and Hearst’s WISN, respectively).

    1. StogieGuy says

      That”s an awful lot of sports talk in Milwaukee now. Personally, I think this move may have been a reactionary mistake that will result in multiple underperforming sports talk stations. IHM would have been better off putting WISN on the FM side and either simulcasting with the AM or flipping that to sports. WISN’s ratings have potential for upward growth, given that their nighttime signal is just terrible south and west of Milwaukee. More than half of Mark Belling’s (#1) PM drive show is after the pattern change at this time of year! Why IHM didn’t do that is beyond me – it would have cost a lot less money and resulted in more ratings and $$.

      1. Eric Jon Magnuson says

        I think that iHeart is really banking on Czabe (even though there’s also a counter-rumor floating around that he’d be heading for Good Karma instead)–or wanted to have a better FM home for Badger broadcasts. Still, it does indeed look like overkill for Sports, especially on FM–even if you assume that 540 doesn’t continue in some variant of the format. Perhaps iHeart is also expecting to pick up more PxP rights–or thinking that Good Karma will continue to be a non-subscriber to Nielsen Audio ratings.

  2. Eric Jon Magnuson says

    And now, Learfield and iHeart have announced that the Badger broadcasts that had been on WRIT are sliding over to 97.3–although they’ll still be simulcast on 920. Since the launch, it looks like the games had been on all three stations, in an interim move.


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