Nashville's newest sports-talk station launched early Monday morning and, less than two hours later, announced its first major coup.
Cromwell Group operations manager Troy Hanson announced on WPRT 102.5 The Game's First Quarter show that the station will be the local affiliate of ESPN radio starting Nov. 7. Currently, local sports-talk leader WGFX 104.5 The Zone is the ESPN local partner.
ESPN's affiliate deals typically include a 90-day out clause. Nov. 7 is 72 days away, indicating the switch was finalized earlier this month.
During the transition, Hanson said the station will be permitted to broadcast a mid-morning replay of ESPN's Mike & Mike starting in mid-September. In the meantime, the station will re-broadcast Nashville Predators 2010-'11 playoff games from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., leading into WKRN sports anchor Joe Dubin's two-hour show — which will cut back to one hour once the Mike & Mike re-broadcast starts. Former WSMV anchor Aaron Solomon has the drive-time show from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Once the ESPN deal begins, the station will add Colin Cowherd's ESPN show from 9 a.m. to noon during the week.
Hanson also announced the station will be the local affiliate for Auburn football. WPRT already has a deal with Auburn's blood rival Alabama. With an exclusive, 82-game broadcast deal with the Predators, the addition of multiple college football partners gives the new station some flexibility on Saturday programming, basically ensuring a collegiate gridiron broadcast no matter the start time for the Preds games. Hanson also hinted a deal may be in the works for Ole Miss football as well.
From 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., the station will broadcast Robert Wuhl, the Arli$$ and Bull Durham actor. Retired Predators tough guy Wade Belak will host a one-hour show after that.
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