The broadcast rights for the University of Washington made an interesting turn on Thursday afternoon. Washington IMG sports Marketing announced that KOMO Newsradio AM 1000 and 97.7 FM had reclaimed the broadcast rights from previous rights holder Sports Radio KJR which had been the flagship station since 2002.
This is a significant blow to KJR as they had Husky football and basketball to fall back on after the Sonics left for Oklahoma City back in 2008. They did a solid job in covering the team with the Husky Honks show with Dave Softy Mahler, Dick Baird, and Hugh Millen. These guys brought an energy to the pre and post game shows that will be very hard for KOMO to match.
However, there were some things with the coverage by KJR that at times could make a listener shake his or her head. For example, the Stanford pre-game show back in 2012 before a Thursday night game at Century Link Field. The intent while in good fun by the two Cougar hosts Ian Furness and Jason Puckett is something that you can’t have happen on a flagship station on a game day.
The other mistake that I think KJR is going to get regret is the relationship Dawgman.com, and the airtime that they have given them especially on Saturdays in the summertime. The combination of that relationship, the extreme amount of focus on the Seahawks, and stunts like the Stanford pre game show among other things may not have helped the cause of KJR.
Also, the lack of a viable FM station for KJR also hurt them in case. With the way start times can fluctuate a flagship station needs to have a strong FM reach to get to those Husky fans that can’t always make it to Husky Stadium. Thus, looking at the deal from a Washington perspective the move to KOMO makes even more sense.
At the end of the day, with Bob Rondeau still doing the play by play which is the most important part of the radio broadcast it will still have that sense of tradition with him telling the story to Washington fans. Moreover, no matter what station carries the games its the play by play announcer, the coaches, and the players making big plays is what makes college football on radio so great.
There are too many options on satellite radio in this day and age for people to sit around and listen to long pre and post game show broadcasts like the Husky Honks. So, as long as there is a weekly Husky Honks show on KJR then speaking for myself that is enough for me. Husky Football and KOMO have been synonymous with each other for years and the time is right with Chris Petersen taking over as head coach to go back to the roots of Washington Football. Those roots are to have Bon Rondeau calling the game on KOMO.