The Atlanta Falcons, after eight years, has dropped 92.9/Dave-FM as its radio partner and is moving to Star 94 and 790/The Zone. Those two stations will simulcast Falcons games starting this upcoming season.
CBS Atlanta will also pick up the pre-season games and special weekly Falcons shows which had been on NBC affiliate WXIA-TV.
Financial terms for the four-year deal were not disclosed though given how much more popular the NFL is now, it’s likely a richer deal than what CBS Radio signed in 2003 for radio rights.
The Zone has been providing exclusive sports content for CBS Atlanta over the past year.
For the past two years, the Zone was already a partner with the Falcons, helping CBS (which owns Dave FM) with sales.
Others reportedly in the running for the Falcons included Dave FM, 680/The Fan (owned by Dickey Broadcasting) and Clear Channel Atlanta, which owns 640/WGST-AM and Project 9-6-1, among others.
The Falcons first aired on radio in 1966 on what was then 790/WQXI-AM and stayed there for a decade.
According to CBS Atlanta, which broke the story, “fans will still hear the familiar voices of Falcons broadcasters Wes Durham (play-by-play) and former Falcons quarterback Dave Archer (color analyst) calling all of the Falcons action on both stations.”
Given 790/The Zone’s limited coverage area, Star 94, with its 100,000 watt signal,will fill in the gaps. While the NFL has a sizable female audience, football is still a heavily male-oriented sport. Star 94 draws 70 percent females. It’s a bit of a mismatch. But this affects pop station Star only on Sunday afternoons for 20 weeks or so out of the year (including pre-season games, not counting playoffs) and maybe a stray Monday or two. This is not like the Braves, which takes Rock 100.5 out of music commission 160-plus days out of the year.
By Rodney Ho, email@example.com, AJCRadioTV blog