Nationals Announce 3-Year Radio Broadcast Deal
Friday, January 20, 2006
The Washington Nationals officially announced a three-year deal yesterday with Bonneville International Corp. that will put the team's games on two of Bonneville's stations, WTWP-AM (1500) and -FM (107.7). Those stations, formerly home of all-news WTOP, will be known as Washington Post Radio starting March 30.
The deal represents a significant upgrade for the Nationals, who were heard on two weaker stations owned by Bonneville in their inaugural season last year, WFED-AM and Z104-FM, and fans complained of spotty reception. The AM station at 1500 is one of the most powerful in the area. The games will also be carried on 104.3-FM in Leesburg.
The stations will carry all 162 regular season games and a minimum of 10 preseason games each year.
"We get broader distribution," Nationals President Tony Tavares said last night. "Honestly, if you listen to our fan base, in some ways they were more concerned that they didn't get radio than TV last year."
Sources said yesterday that Bonneville will pay an undisclosed rights fee to the team and will control most of the commercial inventory during the games. Last year, the Nationals paid Bonneville for airtime and kept most of the revenue from ad sales.
"We're excited," said Joel Oxley, senior vice president of Bonneville. "The Nationals had a great first season and they're established now."
Newcomer Dave Jageler, who broadcast games for Red Sox Class AAA affiliate Pawtucket last year, will join Charlie Slowes, a holdover from the Nationals' inaugural season, as the broadcast team, though there is still a possibility Slowes could do some TV work. Jageler, 34, replaces Dave Shea, who wasn't re-hired after last year.
Slowes, 44, returns for a ninth major league season. He spent seven seasons with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and called Washington Bullets games from 1986 to '97.