Online reports surfaced late last night that the Chicago Cubs have finalized a deal with CBS Radio’s WBBM-AM 780 (which also simulcasts on WCFS-FM 105.9). This will mark the final season the Cubs will air on WGN-AM 720.
WGN President and General Manager Jimmy de Castro confirmed the news to Chicago media critic Robert Feder last night. de Castro explained the reality of the situation between the Cubs and WGN and how a new deal was not economically possible.
The news has been acknowledged on air during WGN’s 5 a.m. “news hour” during the Steve Cochran show. WGN bosses de Castro and Vice President of Creative Content Todd Manley will join Cochran’s show this morning at 9:10 to discuss the issue further.
WGN is going on the offense with this news, hoping to educate listeners why the station could not come to an agreement with the Cubs to continue broadcasting games beyond this season. While I don’t fault WGN for opting out of their current deal with the team, you can expect many uneducated people will accuse the station of simply being cheap.
The Chicago Sun-Times Gordon Wittenmyer mentions the new Cubs radio deal will include WSCR AM/670 The Score, which currently broadcasts the Chicago White Sox. While I don’t expect The Score to share game broadcasts with WBBM, I expect there to be added Cubs promotion along with specialized Cubs programming (similar to “White Sox Weekly” that airs each Saturday on The Score, or WBBM’s “Bears All Access”).
The Score’s deal with the White Sox runs through the 2015 season. It will be interesting to observe if CBS Radio’s new relationship with the Cubs has any impact towards the White Sox, especially when that deal comes time for renewal.