Washington Capitals game broadcasts will begin appearing on 104.7 FM this week, returning the team to the FM dial just past the season’s midway point.
After its previous partnership with sports-talker 106.7 The Fan was not renewed this fall, the team announced an unusual plan in which games would appear on WFED 1500 AM — unless they conflicted with other programming, in which case they would be carried exclusively through online streams. That led to some complaints, both to the team and to members of the media, about the difficulty of listening to at least some games on terrestrial radio.
The team thus crafted a deal with iHeartRadio’s 104.7, a low-power FM station that hasn’t been programmed yet, and has been carrying HOT 99.5’s top 40 programming. The new deal begins immediately; Monday’s home Caps game against the Hurricanes will be carried on 104.7, while the Wizards-Hornets NBA game will appear on 1500 AM.
“We knew at the beginning of the season that [not being on FM radio] wasn’t ideal for us,” John Walton, the team’s senior director of radio broadcasting (and play-by-play voice), said in an interview. “We were always looking for other options.”
Walton said he hopes the partnership with iHeartRadio will expand in the offseason, eventually including more features than just game broadcasts. But this deal was about the team’s immediate desire to find an FM partner. Every game through the end of the postseason will now appear on 104.7, as well as Caps Radio 24/7, the team’s 24-hour streaming channel. Game broadcasts also will continue to appear on WFED’s powerful AM signal when there aren’t conflicts on that station. Walton said that 104.7 ‘s signal should be available everywhere inside the Beltway, which should help commuters who have been unable to listen to games.
“Our fans told us they want to be able to find the games on FM when they’re in their cars,” Walton said. “This is something that will definitely help.”
Walton said the game broadcasts on Caps Radio 24/7 have typically drawn between 5,000 and 10,000 listeners, which wouldn’t count others who might be listening through NHL.com.