The Chicago White Sox have found a new radio home – just in time for spring training. After Cumulus Media rejected its play-by-play contract with the MLB franchise as part of its Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceeding, Tribune talker WGN Chicago (720) has signed a multi-year contract to be the team’s new radio flagship. White Sox games will air on WGN beginning with the team’s first game of the 2018 Cactus League season on Friday, Feb. 23 at 2:05 pm CT.
The deal includes all 162 White Sox regular season and postseason games, as well as select spring training games. The partnership with WGN Radio will complement Tribune’s White Sox television partnership with WGN-TV.
Former Sox pitcher Ed Farmer (play-by-play) and former outfielder Darrin Jackson (analyst) will return for their 10th season in the radio booth.
WGN Radio station manager Todd Manley called it “an honor to join the White Sox family,” declaring, “Summer starts today on WGN Radio.” White Sox senior VP of sales and marketing Brooks Boyer called the agreement “a fantastic win” for Sox fans. “We are thrilled to team up with an iconic media organization in Chicago, delivering the hustle and passion of White Sox games to WGN Radio listeners throughout the city and Midwest,” Boyer said.
In addition to play-by-play rights, the deal includes pre- and postgame programming and a weekly year-round show that features team news, highlights and interviews with players and coaches.
The change in radio flagships comes after Cumulus received U.S. Bankruptcy Court approval to end its contracts with the White Sox and the Chicago Bulls in an effort to excise itself from multiple money-losing contracts as part of its Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization. The Bulls have moved to Entercom sports “The Score” WSCR (670).
Sources familiar with developments told the Chicago Business Journal WGN got the White Sox relatively cheap because time was short and the team didn’t have a strong recent track record on the field.
White Sox games were broadcast on WGN Radio from 1927-1943 with legendary voices in the booth, including 1983 Ford C. Frick Award winner Jack Brickhouse, 1979 Ford C. Frick Award recipient Bob Elson and legendary Chicago radio broadcaster Quin Ryan calling the games. But the new deal marks the first exclusive broadcast rights agreement between the team and WGN Radio. It also marks the return of Major League Baseball to WGN. Chicago media reporter Robert Feder notes the station ended its historic affiliation with the Chicago Cubs in 2014. The Cubs now air on WSCR.