CBS Sports will ring in the new year with a national sports talk radio network.
With an assist from Cumulus Media, CBS Sports Radio will bow on Jan. 2, 2013 and have a presence in nine of the top 10 markets. The national 24/7 service -- at launch, it is expected to reach nearly 10 million listeners, almost 90% of them in the top 50 DMAs -- will serve as a platform for commentary and analysis from CBS Radio, CBS Sports, CBS Sports Network and CBSSports.com personalities. CBS's 22-owned radio stations will also be part of the roster.
In addition to making CBS Sports Radio programming available on 67 of its stations, Cumulus Media will function as the network's exclusive syndicator to secure affiliate agreements and rep to garner ad sales with radio stations nationwide through Cumulus Media Networks. Financial terms of the relationship were not disclosed.
Ahead of the national debut, hourly CBS Sports updates, comprising headlines, breaking news and scores from the day's major events and stories, will become available to affiliates, starting Sept. 4. Affiliates, who don't feature the national network's round-the-clock schedule, will be able to regionalize their lineup by choosing from select programs currently featured on CBS Radio Cumulus sports stations.
There will also be online streaming of network broadcasts.
News of the CBS Sports Radio comes less than two weeks after NBC Sports announced a deal with distributor Dial Global for NBC Sports Radio Network that will provide stations with both national and regional sports content, beginning in September. Listeners may hear hourly sports updates, long-form shows and features hosted by national NBC Sports voices, Comcast SportsNet regional sports networks on-air personalities, or NBC affiliate sportscasters, depending upon location. Programming and commentator have yet to be detailed.
Dan Mason, president and CEO of CBS Radio, in an interview, said the service represents an expansion of the company's strength with sports locally.
"This is a great opportunity. ESPN is doing it, but this is a sector that is essentially unchallenged," he said. "We're going to work hand-in-hand with CBS Sports and bring their talent to the national network. It's going to be a great promotional platform for CBS Radio and CBS Sports."
Asked about the potential of CBS and CBS Sports Network on-air personalities Jim Rome and Tim Brando being part of the CBS Sports Radio's roster at some point down the road, Mason replied: "The different talent have different deals. That's on a case-by-case basis. We're going to sit down with [CBS Sports chairman] Sean McManus and talk about the talent that could be a fit."
CBS Sports Network currently simulcasts The Tim Brando Show that originates on Yahoo! Sports Radio, while The Jim Rome Show is syndicated by Premier Radio Networks. The provocative sports personality's Rome premieres on the cable network weekdays at 6 p.m.
Mason, who says that event coverage could become part of the network over the long term, anticipates that Cumulus will add a number of CBS Sports Radio affiliates before the hourly reports kick in come early September and prior to the 24/7 network launches next year.
"Cumulus will be in the market soon," said Mason, noting that stations "can take as much of the program they want," whether the hourly updates, daypart programming or the 24/7 service.
The following CBS Radio stations will add various components of CBS Sports Radio programming to their lineup:
WFAN-AM (New York)
WJFK-FM (Washington, D.C.)
The following CBS Radio stations will broadcast CBS Sports Radio programming as their 24/7 lineup when the network debuts on Jan. 2, 2013:
KYDZ-AM (Las Vegas)
The following Cumulus radio stations in the Top 100 markets will broadcast CBS Sports Radio programming:
KNBR-AM (San Francisco)
KTCT-AM (San Francisco)
WBBL-FM (Grand Rapids)
WWLS-A/F (Oklahoma City)
WMTI-FM (New Orleans)
KARN-AM (Little Rock)
WWBU -FM (Roanoke)
WBGG-AM (Des Moines)
WNKT-FM/WYMB-AM (Columbia, S.C.)
WXSM-AM (Tri Cities)
KCSF-AM (Colorado Springs)