May 11, 2005
CHICAGO, Ill. - The University of Illinois Division of Intercollegiate Athletics has entered into a three-year agreement with News Talk 560 WIND AM, Chicago to provide Chicagoland coverage of Illinois football and men's basketball games as well as the popular coaches shows through the Illini Sports Radio Network. This new contract with the Illini Sports Radio and News Talk 560 WIND begins July 1.
"News Talk 560 WIND is a strong station in the Chicago marketplace; it offers excellent signal coverage for our fans throughout the entire listening area, and it will provide clearances for all of our football and men's basketball games, along with our statewide coaches' call-in shows," said Ron Guenther, director of athletics. "WIND-AM provides an excellent, family-oriented format for Illinois fans and alumni in the Chicago market and we're excited about our new partnership."
"This new relationship with the Illini Sports Radio Network offers benefits to both parties," said David Santrella, general manager of Salem Communications radio stations in Chicago and Milwaukee. The Illini gain 100 percent clearance for all football and men's basketball games. For our part, News Talk 560 WIND strengthens its position this premier association, and gives alumni another reason to tune into our station."
The Illini Sports Network produces all football and men's basketball broadcasts, including post-season games, with former Anaheim Angels announcer Brian Barnhart providing play-by-play for both sports. Hall of Fame running back Jim Grabowski provides color analysis during football season, and former Flyin' Illini point guard Stephen Bardo of WBBM-TV adds expert analysis during the men's basketball broadcasts. Longtime Champaign-Urbana News Gazette Sports Editor Loren Tate and veteran radio and television broadcaster Steve Kelly also provide analysis, pre-game, halftime and post-game coverage.
"We have many dedicated Illinois alumni in Chicago," said Lou Margaglione, President-Elect of the Chicago Illini Club. "To have a reliable station that will carry all of our games and statewide coaches shows is great news for our Chicago alumni and we're excited about WIND and its commitment to Illinois."
Illini Sports Network programming previously had been heard in Chicago on WSCR-AM 670 and its sister station, WCKG-FM 105.9. During the past decade, Illini Sports Network broadcasts have been heard on WSCR-AM 670, WJJD-AM 1160 or ESPN-AM 1000.
"We've had a wonderful relationship with WSCR-AM 670, especially the station management team of Paul Agase, Drew Hayes and Mitch Rosen," said Dave Johnson, assistant athletic Director/Executive Producer of the Illini Sports Network. "We've been a part of WSCR-AM 670 programming for nearly the entire lifespan of the station. However, WIND-AM 560 produced a more comprehensive bid in terms of clearances of our games and coaches shows and we are delighted to move on to a new partnership."
The Illini Sports Network is owned and operated internally by the UI Division of Intercollegiate Athletics and WIND-AM 560 was granted the broadcast rights in the Chicago market by the UI Purchasing Division. Illinois will makes its Chicagoland debut on WIND-AM 560 with the "Ron Zook Show" during the last week of August and the football season opener Saturday, Sept. 3 vs. Rutgers at Memorial Stadium.
WIND-AM 560 is owned and operated by Salem Communications Corporation (NASDAQ: SALM), the leading U.S. radio broadcaster focused on Christian and family-themed programming. Upon the close of all announced transactions, the company will own 105 radio stations, including 67 stations in 24 of the top 25 markets. In addition to its radio properties, Salem owns Salem Radio Network(R), which syndicates talk, news and music programming to approximately 1,900 affiliates; Salem Radio Representatives(TM), a national radio advertising sales force; Salem Web Network(TM), a leading Internet provider of Christian content and online streaming; and Salem Publishing(TM), a leading publisher of Christian-themed magazines. Additional information is available online at www.salem.cc.