As first reported by Robert Feder Tuesday, the Chicago White Sox is expected to land at Cumulus-owned WLS-AM beginning in 2016, moving from its current home from CBS-owned WSCR-AM, The Score (670).
A move to another station was expected, after the rival Chicago Cubs landed a deal with CBS to broadcast their games on WBBM-AM. A clause in the CBS contract can allow the team to shift to WSCR if they lost White Sox rights, as their contract expires in October. However, WSCR was in the running to retain those rights.
Crain’s Chicago is reporting the deal has yet to be finalized; Cumulus CEO Lewis Dickey said his company has yet to sign any contract.
If the deal is struck, this would be the first pro team WLS has landed from the four major sports in a long time. Already, WLS carries popular Notre Dame Football and would give the station programming to air on weekends, which are mainly populated with little-listened to time-broked and syndicated programming.
WLS is currently trying to make-over its image as a conservative talk station into more of a personality-driven mainstream outlet by adding Steve Dahl and Jonathon Brandmeier in the past year. So far, WLS remains at the bottom of the ratings pack.
You can expect WLS to pay less for the White Sox than CBS paid for the Cubs. Since winning the World Series in 2005, the White Sox has made the playoffs only once as the team reverted back to also-ran status in Chicago sports. The last few seasons has seen dwindling attendance at U.S. Cellular Field and declining television ratings, with the White Sox finishing dead last among 27 Major League Baseball teams last season.
No word on if radio play-by-play man Ed Farmer and commentator Darrin Jackson would move to WLS with the White Sox; to no one’s surprise, the duo is ranked as one of the worst announcing teams in baseball.