New Radio Deal

As first seen in Mike Vogel’s blog and later announced by the team, the Washington Capitals have left the hockey-hating SportsTalk980 and signed a deal with Bonneville International Corporation. The Caps will be heard on Talk Radio 3WT at 107.7 FM, 1500 AM, and 820 AM. Bonneville is the parent company of WTOP, which aired the Caps some years back.Old Radio
Bonneville has shuffled many stations and frequencies in the last three years with the latest to come this September. It was announced this week that Bonneville’s partnership with the Washington Post for Washington Post Radio, WTWP, will end on September 20th.

“The new station will feature local and syndicated talk shows to replace programming provided by The Post. WWWT, dubbed “Talk Radio 3WT,” will begin airing Sept. 20. WWWT will be simulcast on the same frequencies on which Washington Post Radio now airs: 1500 AM, 107.7 FM and 820 AM.”

The press release from the Washington Capitals states that the two-year deal will call for all 82 games to be broadcast, including pre- and postgame shows. The station will also air a weekly one-hour Capitals magazine show on Saturday nights at 6 p.m as well as cross promotions on sister station WTOP (103.5 FM and 103.9 FM).

“The addition of another premier professional sports franchise on our radio station makes us the leading provider of play-by-play sports in Washington on one of the most far-reaching signals in the area,” said Bonneville D.C. senior vice president Joel Oxley. “The combination of compelling talk during the day, and play-by-play sports at night and on the weekend delivers a powerful programming lineup for 3WT.”

“We are excited to partner with Bonneville and bring our games to such powerful signals,” Capitals chairman and majority owner Ted Leonsis said. “This agreement will allow Capitals fans throughout the region to hear our games, and the promotional elements will help us reach new fans as well.”

This is excellent news for Caps’ fans, as the 1500 frequency is a whopping 50,000 watts and can be heard at a considerable distance from Verizon Center, especially at night.
Don’t expect any tears to be shed from the so-called Sports Reporters.

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14 Responses to New Radio Deal

  1. Todd says:

    I’m curious which came first: The Ted/Czabe debate, or the negotiations in changing radio affiliation.

  2. SovSport says:

    That’s great news. I can now listen to away games in my car. Even in Baltimore.

  3. Gustafsson says:

    Indeed, this is great news. 1500AM is a freaking blow-torch. I couldn’t get 980 driving home from the game, much less at home in Burke.
    I remember listening to some some Caps/Islanders playoff games at my Grandparents house some 40 minutes outside of Philly when they were on 1500 back in the day.

  4. SovSport says:

    I was losing the 980 signal around Greenebelt!

  5. J.P. says:

    I definitely could get WTOP on certain nights all the way up in Syracuse, NY.
    I can’t even get 980 driving down K Street some nights. Great news (though isn’t fellow hockey-hater Tony K. on 1500 in the mornings?).

  6. Gustafsson says:

    “(though isn‚Äôt fellow hockey-hater Tony K. on 1500 in the mornings?)”
    You are correct, JP. However, Mr. Tony won’t be on until his MNF gig is done, so we have a break from the hate.
    From DCRTV.com:

    “8/28 – DCRTV hears that, come 9/20, when Bonneville launches 3WT in place of Washington Post Radio, David Burd will be hosting from 5:30 AM to 10 AM. At 8 AM, the new talker will shift to “The Tony Kornhesier Show Starring David Burd.” Jessica Doyle, who hosts early mornings with Burd, will join the existing ensemble, which includes Victoria Jones. The 5:30 AM to 8 AM segment will take on more of the morning zoo flavor of Burd’s old Washington Post Radio Saturday morning show, we’re told…..”

  7. TG says:

    I wonder if Ted is paying 1500 to broadcast the games (and if so, it’s got to be significantly more than he paid 980), or if he’s actually going to get paid for the rights.

  8. OrderedChaos says:

    TG, the way I think it worked for 980 was that the Caps paid for a “broadcast window” for each game, but the team kept any advertising revenue during that window. Not sure if it’ll be a similar deal for 1500 or not.

  9. norske says:

    If Ted’s doing this because he is paying 1500 a lower rate, or because 1500’s signal is significantly stronger than 980’s signal and much, much stronger than 570’s signal, or for other, business-related reasons, then it is the smart thing to do. If he’s doing it because he had a squabble with Czaban, then it is a kneejerk,stupid thing to do.
    For example, last season the Caps had a deal with WTEM providing for at least one guest appearance by a member of the team each week on both the Brian Mitchell Show and the John Thompson Show. I doubt there could be any similar deal with 1500, given their planned schedule of political talk shows. Giving that up because the hosts of one show are jerks would be stupid. Giving that up because there are other tangible business advantages to making the change would be smart.
    BTW, why are people so convinced that Tony K. hates hockey? I have listened to him regularly for years, and yeah, he make jokes about poor attendance and TV ratings, but no more than the rest of the MSM. And he loves Ovechkin, and gave him props on his show all the time, and has often said that playoff hockey is the most exciting experience in all of sports. Yeah, real hatred there.

  10. OrderedChaos says:

    Excellent points Norske. First, I have to believe that 1500’s greatly increased signal strength is a major factor, and hopefully they have a good business deal as well. I doubt the Czaban squabble was the cause for this switch.
    As for Kornheiser, I don’t think he *hates* hockey, but I’d rather have him ignore the sport than make uninformed & dismissive comments about it (which seems to be his M.O.).

  11. Gustafsson says:

    Norske,
    While they may not have the number of interviews with Capitals personnel on 980 this year as they did last year, there should be better promotion of the team this year. From the press release:

    “A variety of promotional elements will air on Talk Radio 3WT and Bonneville sister station WTOP (103.5 FM and 103.9 FM), including commercials, community relations and public service announcements, game promotions and station identification reads.”

    WTOP laughs at the ratings of all the other stations. And while we may not hear more in depth coverage (not that you get that out of John Thompson’s mouth… but you do with Smokin’ Al Koken) there will be a much larger pool to target promotions, etc. Also, with that being said, you don’t need to go to 980 for more in depth anyway. You can just visit us, Off Wing, and Japers’. 😉

  12. norske says:

    I actually stopped listening to the Sports Reporters long ago, so I voted with my radio dial on that show. I definitely don’t look to that station for good hockey coverage, so please don’t look at anything I said as a defense of them. (You can take my comments as a defense of Kornheiser, though, since I’ve always liked him. Not because of anything he has to say about hockey, though. Just in general.)
    Yes, getting some promotion on WTOP would be a great thing, and something that, I admit, I missed in reading the story the first time. I’ll miss all the interviews, though.

  13. odessasteps says:

    I know most everyone hates Andy and Steve for their “anti-Cap stance,” but remember there are people at 980 who love hockey and will likely be sorry to lose it from the station.

  14. Caps Take Radio Contract To Bonneville…

    From Caps PR: The Washington Capitals and Bonneville International Corporation have reached a two-year agreement that will put broadcasts of……

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