June 2, 2008
CARBONDALE, Ill. - Learfield Sports and Withers Broadcasting have reached a five-year agreement making Withers Broadcasting the new home for the Saluki Sports Network, beginning with the 2008 Saluki football season.
With this move, six new radio stations have been added to the Saluki Sports Network, providing fans in the entire Southern Illinois region, as well as Missouri, Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois, more opportunity to hear games over the airwaves. The new Saluki Sports Network will include WVZA 92.7 FM in Carbondale, WRXX 95.3 FM in Centralia, WEBQ 102.3 FM in Eldorado/Harrisburg, WRUL 97.3 FM in Carmi, KYRX 97.3 FM in Cape Girardeau and WMOK 920 AM Metropolis/Paducah. Plans also are under way to retain Mike Reis and the entire football and basketball broadcast teams (Greg Starrick, Gene Green, Joel Sambursky) through this agreement.
Additionally, all six stations will air every Saluki football game (including the spring game, regular season and post season) and men's basketball game (including exhibition, regular season and post season), as well as weekly coaches' shows and a new three-minute daily feature entitled "Saluki Sports Today". In addition, WDDD 810 AM will air all regular-season and post-season women's basketball games, and WFRX 1300 AM or WDDD 810 AM will air all regular-season and post-season baseball games.
"This is exciting news for Saluki fans and radio listeners in the entire Southern Illinois region as we expand our network to a significantly wider audience which will allow more opportunities to hear year-round Saluki Athletics," said Mario Moccia, SIU Athletic Director. "We're delighted to begin a relationship with Withers Broadcasting and recognize the many positive aspects involved in this decision. We certainly want to express our sincere gratitude and appreciation to River Radio for their long-term support as our on-air Saluki Sports partner for nearly 30 years."
"Saluki Sports Network is committed to the history of SIU Athletics, and I'm thrilled to be a part of the tradition that comes with being the flagship," said W. Russell Withers, Jr, owner of Withers Broadcasting. "New general manager Janet Jensen is an alumna of SIU and a proud supporter of Saluki Athletics."
Learfield Sports, SIU's exclusive multimedia rights holder, manages multimedia rights for nearly 50 collegiate institutions and associations. In addition to Southern Illinois, other partner schools include North Carolina, Memphis, Alabama, Indiana, Iowa, Penn State, Purdue, Wisconsin, Stanford, Oklahoma and Northern Iowa.
The company also secures marketing partnerships for the Black Coaches & Administrators (BCA) and provides exclusive sports programming to more than 1,000 radio stations throughout the country. Additionally, Team Services, LLC, a Learfield Sports company, specializes in venue naming rights, marketing research and sales consultation. Dallas-based Learfield Sports is an operating unit of Jefferson City, Mo.-based Learfield Communications, Inc. For more about the company, visit HYPERLINK "http://www.learfieldsports.com" www.learfieldsports.com.