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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

New radio home for the Braves: 680/The Fan & Rock 100.5

The Atlanta Braves are saying goodbye to WGST-AM and Project 9-6-1 after this season and moving its radio home to 680/The Fan and Rock 100.5 in 2010.

This change won’t affect current Braves announcers Jim Powell and Don Sutton. Both are in long-term contracts and will be back in 2010.

“What appeals to us is the fact the Fan is the city’s leading sports station,” said Derek Schiller, Braves executive vice president for marketing and sales. “It gives us a partner who can talk about the Braves 24/7.”

The financial details of the five-year deal were not released, but it’s clear Dickey Broadcasting, which owns the Fan, will be spending far less than Clear Channel did in 2004. Clear Channel owns WGST and Project.

“I think it’s a good move for the Braves,” said Chuck Dowdle, veteran WSB-TV sports reporter. “But it was probably their only option. I know the Cox radio group [including WSB-AM] was no longer interested in them. They were a big money loser for Clear Channel.”

Dan Kearney, vice president and general manager, confirmed that the station did not pursue a deal with the Braves this go around, saying it simply didn’t fit in its current objectives.
Scott Lindy, operations manager at Clear Channel. had not returned a call seeking comment as of 2:50 p.m.

The Braves moving to 680/The Fan and Rock 100.5

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“We’re excited,” said David Dickey, Dickey Broadcasting president who runs 680/The Fan. “We plan to increase the amount of Braves content and add to our lineup of Braves experts.”

The Fan has former Braves pitching coach Leo Mazzone on its morning show and the station uses ESPN’s syndicated baseball expertise extensively. Much of its current on-air talent is better suited for football.

790/The Zone, the Fan’s primary sports rival, talked to the Braves, but the station is inherently limited by its weak night-time AM signal and the fact it didn’t have a natural FM partner.

“You can’t have everything,” said Zone general manager Neil Maziar. “We wish the Braves nothing but great success.”

The Zone, he added, “will continue to cover them with the best baseball guy in Chris Dimino. And [Braves catcher] Brian McCann has been with us for four years,” providing regular updates.

Dickey said the Fan will air pre-game coverage, the game itself and post-game coverage. Rock 100.5 will air the game itself and post-game coverage but not the pre-game show.

Clear Channel’s Project/GST combo doesn’t do nearly as much post-game coverage as its predecessor, WSB-AM, which aired the Braves for about a decade. Expect the Fan to bring more post-game analysis and reaction.

Over the years, Clear Channel moved the Braves around on the FM dial, first on 96rock, then 94.9/The Bull, then back to the 96.1 signal, now known as Project. From a ratings standpoint, the Braves gives both stations a night-time boost but doesn’t provide a significant positive halo effect for the rest of the day.

Clear Channel’s pick-up of the Braves in 2005 was not auspicious timing. The Braves’ 14-year playoff run was just about to end, followed by a three-year streak of no playoffs at all. And now, the economy has tanked.

In past deals, the Braves allowed the radio station to sell ads and simply take in a set amount of money. But given how little money radio stations have to pay for rights, the Braves will share the ad sales and sponsorship responsibilities with 680/The Fan. Radio stations are increasingly ceding these duties to reduce risk.

For instance, the Falcons are now doing in-house sales (with help from Big League Broadcasting, which owns 790/The Zone) while it airs on Dave FM, which simply brokers the time. UGA has outsourced its sales to a third party instead of having WSB-AM do it.

The Dickeys have expressed interest in the past to buy the Braves but it’s unclear if they are in any financial position to do so in the near future.

This announcement comes a day after the Fan said it would pick up the Florida Gators games, replacing the Auburn Tigers.

120 comments Add your comment

Dilly

July 23rd, 2009
9:59 am

If the rock format fails, could we be seeing WCNN-FM in the future? Seeing that it’s all in the family, I’m sure Dickey Broadcasting and Cumulus Media could work out an LMA of the FM station. If that happens, does this kill off 790 The Zone due to The Fan having a night time signal?

Atlanta Radio = Pathetic

July 23rd, 2009
10:03 am

Thank Goodness I can still hear the BRAVES in top-quality digital audio on XM satellite radio and don’t have to worry about losing the broadcast when I drive outside I-285.

Vince

July 23rd, 2009
10:06 am

In order for they to EVER kill the Zone, they would actually need to put some compelling programming on 680…bad programming on an FM signal accomplishes nothing. Just ask Clear Channel Atlanta.

observor

July 23rd, 2009
10:32 am

*YAWN*

So this is the “Big” announcement that they were promoting? Wow, how incredibly exciting. I love how these self hyped radio promotions are always so mundane and underwhelming.

manster

July 23rd, 2009
10:35 am

Still don’t know how Jonn Kincade has a national show, what a pompous A@@. On the other hand, just can’t stand Ryan Stewart over the top yelling! Guess I will have to stick to Clark Howard!

Malted Falcon

July 23rd, 2009
10:53 am

Now put Sutton back on TV and get rid of the abomination, Chip Caray!

Gary

July 23rd, 2009
11:01 am

Wow, Braves programming will be about the best thing on that station. Its funny, even with a stronger signal at night and the wee hours of the morning, the fan overall isn’t that much better in the ratings than 790. We all know that 790 owns them when it comes to revenue and most daytime programming. And please, I love ole Buck, but man that Braves show is atrocious and Buck is way out of his league. Guess ole Lew is trying to get a head start on buying the Braves when they come up for sell again in 2 years. I am a little surprised that Cox (WSB) didn’t want them back.

And really……Florida Gators football was their “big announcement” yesterday? Big Yawn!!

Otto

July 23rd, 2009
11:02 am

No not 100.5. Why must I listen to the Braves on afternoon drivetime radio? Radio in Altanta is bad enough without taking away another radio station to surf to. Can’t they keep it to just AM stations?

Bama Aaron

July 23rd, 2009
11:07 am

Rodney, do you know if the Braves are working on any deals to increase their coverage in neighboring areas? Living in eastern Alabama the coverage is terrible. Only Birmingham station carrying them now is on AM and basically useless unless you’re in town there. And I’m a little too far west to be able to pick up 92.1 out of Carrolton.

Logic Prevails?

July 23rd, 2009
11:19 am

A sports broadcast on a sports station? Whooda thunk it.

Maybe now Rush and Mark Levin won’t be interrupted by the Bravos’ 600 game schedule.

OZ

July 23rd, 2009
11:20 am

At least we won’t have a Braves/RUSH conflict next year! Go RUSH!

observor

July 23rd, 2009
11:21 am

My initial comment was directed to the Florida Gators announcement. For some reason when I clicked on the comments link it brought me to this page.

Now this is actually a significant announcement and move for 680. 680 is clearly the top sports talk station in Atlanta now, and it’s not even close, despite the pathetic zone’s attempt to constantly self promote and hype themselves up as being some juggernaut and standard bearer in the industry.

Hopefully the idiot Shapiro and his gaggle of talentless bafoons will find themselves looking for new jobs/careers before long.

BraveStyle

July 23rd, 2009
11:24 am

Please, just don’t put the annoying John Kincaid anywhere near a braves’ broadcast, pre-game, in-game or postgame, or I will not listen to one second. That pompous jerk needs to get out of radio and sell cars.

DC from Conyers

July 23rd, 2009
11:25 am

Did I miss it, when will this take place? I happen to like Don, Joe, and Chip. Nothing against him but I have a problem with the “Boog”. No history at all with him. I think I would have been a better replacement than he.I really like Leo in the morning show. Buck does a nice baseball show at 6:30. 680 Rocks.

I Worked for Clear Channel

July 23rd, 2009
11:28 am

Everything Clear Channel touches dies. It’s not the Braves’ fault that they couldn’t make money for CC.

CC is killing 96.1, The Bull is a joke, WGST is hopeless. Not to mention CC has virtually the Atlanta market cornered in potentially lucrative Hispanic radio (102.3 isn’t in the same league as 105.7 and 105.3), but treats it like a red-headed stepchild.

God, I miss the days before corporate radio.

marco

July 23rd, 2009
11:33 am

There goes the last reason to ever listen to 640…

Tyler Durden

July 23rd, 2009
11:35 am

Great, whatever. What they need are some new broadcasters. I’m sorry but Chip Caray is incredibly annoying with his run-on sentences and hammy commentary. I loved Mark Lemke as a player, but the guy’s voice is like fingernails on a chalkboard and every other phrase out of his mouth is, “no doubt about it Chip”. Radio broadcasting should be more substance, less slickness. We need an old-time in there, someone who really understands the nuances of the game and also, most importantly, knows when to SHUT UP AND STOP TALKING. You don’t have to fill every moment with drab, inane, commentary. It’s just not necessary.

reality

July 23rd, 2009
11:35 am

Yeah Vince, if only 680 could put on such compelling and great shows as that god awful mid morning show (Fat boy and Wolvey or something like that) or the two live stewpids. Give me a break, those two shows, and that whole 5 hour block, is utterly worthless and terrible radio. It’s some of the worst I’ve ever heard in any market, and they only appeal to the LCD.

Jim

July 23rd, 2009
11:38 am

Why is it that a city the size of Atlanta cannot have an am station that carries more than 10 miles at night? Who cares that the Braves are going to 680 The Fan – unless your standing next to their tower, you won’t hear any of the Braves night games. A total joke.

harry

July 23rd, 2009
11:43 am

hopefully the dickie brothers will buy the team and because they are local they will put the money that ted turner put in so they can get more players

Supes

July 23rd, 2009
11:44 am

I’m a regular 680thefan listener, and I live in north Forsyth Co.

Right now you can get project 961 up here with perfect reception, however 100.5 reception isn’t as good, whatever the reason.

I don’t think this is a good move as far as the FM dial move.

94.9theBull also had excellent reception in the greater metro atlanta area.

At night, unless it’s the summer you can’t hear 680thefan pass 6pm outside ATL. A Fraking joke.

Supes

July 23rd, 2009
11:45 am

Want to add that I do listen to 680thefan online, but that’s only when you are around a PC. In the vehicle pass 6pm (outside of the summer), you can forget it.

Billy

July 23rd, 2009
11:49 am

Have to agree with reality.. 790 is HORRIBLE from 11-4..Mike Bell is one of the best and I love him, but his show is not good with Pollack. The energy is wierd and doesn’t work.

Dr. R

July 23rd, 2009
12:00 pm

I’m tired of having to figure out what new station they’re on every few years. Baseball keeps jerking fans around and I’m weary of it. When I was a kid and for years afterward, they were on WSB all the time. You didn’t have to hunting for them. Now they’re on AM stations you can’t get two miles outside the perimeter, so you have to figure out which FM station might have them this week (when I listen to a game at night in my car on 96 Rock, I start in the morning and get blasted by some loud obnoxious guitar riff.) I think baseball conspired to get teams off strong AM stations that carried a long way just so more folks would have to buy satellite coverage. The Cardinals and Pirates left their longtime flagship stations a few years ago, too, for weaker stations. It stinks, but it’s just another way this great game is mismanaged by short-sighted bookkeepers who can’t preserve any sense of tradition or continuity.

Eric

July 23rd, 2009
12:02 pm

I guess I’ll have to tune into 680 the Fan on occasion now. Just please don’t make me listen to Buck and Kinkaid!

Steak Shapiro

July 23rd, 2009
12:05 pm

I had a great lobster dinner last night while my slave wife was at home. After that, I went for some martinis……I am the most important man in radio.

The Alpha Male

July 23rd, 2009
12:17 pm

The sound you hear is Steak Shapiro digging the “stake” out of his heart. Vaya con Dios, loser.

Steve Barnes

July 23rd, 2009
12:17 pm

I’m an actor now……Really.

Gary

July 23rd, 2009
12:19 pm

observor, you do know the ratings are not that far apart from the two stations right? I also hope you know that the Zone rakes in much more money than the fan. Why? Because of the corporate attitude it shows vs The Fan. The Gator move will lose 680 some listening audience though I am not so sure they will gravitate towards The Zone. The Braves move will do nothing for 680 outside of the perimeter other than p#@( off those long time fans who listened outside of the city because they cannot hear the games on the radio. Again, both stations have competed for nearly 10 years now and each time one of them snags a nice deal with a local or regional sports team everyone cries the end of the other one. Not going to happen. It hasn’t yet and it never will.

Supes, I live up in Forsyth too and can only hear 680 until about 6:30pm, sometimes 7:00pm during the summer. I usually get the Zone until about 7:30pm during the summer.

Sophie Shapiro

July 23rd, 2009
12:20 pm

I hate my father. He is never home.

Dre

July 23rd, 2009
12:21 pm

Wonder if Steak knew Pollack was an inarticulate, stuttering, racially prejudiced, uneducated buffoon before he hired him in the “biggest announcement in Atlanta Sports talk history?” Due diligence people!

David Pollack

July 23rd, 2009
12:25 pm

I go to church and I like to hunt animals.

NewYorkLou

July 23rd, 2009
12:25 pm

Sports talk in Atlanta—a total joke! 680 and 790–filled with a bunch of bozos who like to hear themselves talk and spend more time giving promos to get comps from local businesses—with very little real sports discussion. Come to New York for the real thing—24/7, high quality sports talk radio. Atlanta isn’t even in the league.

[...] of hexation to the test, and I’ll begin with a couple of notes: The Braves announced today they’ll be moving to 680 The Fan and its FM affiliate Rock 100.5 next season, which affects me not one whit. (I’ve got Sirius [...]

Crazy Thursday Linkage

July 23rd, 2009
12:32 pm

[...] to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and TV/radio writer Rodney Ho who reports the Braves are changing their radio flagships next [...]

Beau Bock

July 23rd, 2009
12:36 pm

I love Jerry Glanville

Mitchell

July 23rd, 2009
12:44 pm

Why are there 44 people in this state/ country/ universe who are reading this article in the first place if they aren’t even Braves fans?

44 people voted “No grade! I flip the station when the Braves are on anyway.”

44? Do they just not like baseball on the radio? Do they even like radio? That’s a lot of people who are either impartial to the Braves or just flat out hate them.

Or are very confused. I’m confused. That’s who’s confused… me.

Jim

July 23rd, 2009
12:46 pm

Low power broadcasts after 7pm…this sucks…680’s reception after 7pm is horrible. Hopefully the FM station can hang, if not..I guess no Braves on the radio for me…680 sucks

Malted Falcon

July 23rd, 2009
12:46 pm

Did you see Chip Caray visiting sick children yesterday? I imagine a scene where a sickly young boy says, “Mr. Caray, during the seventh inning of tonight’s game… could you please shut up? You make my ears hurt.”

Kyle

July 23rd, 2009
12:50 pm

Normally 680 makes pretty good moves to stay ahead of 790 which doesn’t take much but to add the Florida Gators to the station is a few major steps back. They might as well have a party for Iran and North Korea or start having Obama press conferences carried live.

KT

July 23rd, 2009
12:54 pm

People who listen to Project 961 want to listen to rock and roll, not a 3 hour ball game with an hour of pregame and post game coverage. That’s 5 hours of talk on a rock station. No wonder they were losing money.

livininatl

July 23rd, 2009
12:57 pm

Would be great if I could pick up 680 after dark!

GeorgiaDuck

July 23rd, 2009
12:57 pm

Rodney,

WSB-AM aired the Braves from 1966-1990 when WGST took over for a few years. The Braves went back to WSB for about ten more years and have been on WGST since 2005. Glad they are going to 680.

Dave

July 23rd, 2009
12:58 pm

There’s the residual effect of not having Colin Cowherd on at night, which is a nice benefit.

Vince Chills

July 23rd, 2009
1:06 pm

Anybody who thinks 680 the Fan is a decent radio station doesn’t follow sports enough. I can’t listen to any of their shows for more than 5 minutes without vomitting. Most of their shows are not informative or entertaining. 790 over the past few years has really dropped several spots due to poor programming. The Pollack-Bell experiment is a total bust, the Stews whom I once liked can’t talk about anything other than hating on the white man and giving total praise to all and any black athletes like Mike Vick, the Brandon and Wolfvey show is a total bust that interns could do a better job at on the regular. The only thing keeping me tuned into 790 is Dominio, Chills and Bell. They need to bring back The bottom line and keep Steaky far from the radio. He is a joke and an embarassment to the jewish community.

Noah

July 23rd, 2009
1:11 pm

umm…Chip Carey doesn’t do Radio so why is everyone saying he has to go.

David C

July 23rd, 2009
1:11 pm

I assume Bobby Cox will not be doing a radio show with TRG

Schmohawk

July 23rd, 2009
1:15 pm

Actually, Chip does radio from time to time. Powell and Sutton are the primary radio guys, but Chip has occasionally filled in.

scottbravesfan

July 23rd, 2009
1:17 pm

Mitchell,

It’s because people in Atlanta are losers and think they are too cool to like sports. They don’t support any of their teams.

Facts

July 23rd, 2009
1:19 pm

At least you can hear 680 well during the day in a 50 + mile radius of Atlanta. You can’t even pick up 790 during the day unless you are within 10 – 15 miles of the perimeter. Talk about a pathetic, half a$$ signal, which is a perfect match for their talent level (outside of Cellini and Domino) and programming.