News-Talk WJR AM 760 and Michigan State University have reached an agreement that will move coverage of MSU football and men's basketball to WJR starting with the 2006-07 seasons. The agreement is for 5 years.
Spartans' sports were heard for years during the 1960s and 70s on WJR before the station agreed to become the flagship for University of Michigan sports in 1977. The Wolverines are left looking for a new flagship station for next fall - much to the surprise of everyone.
MSU press release:
Michigan State University and News/Talk 760 WJR radio today announced a five-year agreement that, in the words of MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon, “represents a mutually beneficial partnership with the Great Voice of the Great Lakes.”
WJR will become the flagship radio station for MSU, effective in the 2006-07 seasons, Simon and Michael Fezzey, president and general manager of News/Talk 760 WJR, announced at MSU. WJR will bring live coverage of Spartan football and men’s basketball games produced and distributed by MSU. In addition, WJR will broadcast weekly in-season call-in shows with Spartan head basketball coach Tom Izzo and head football coach John L. Smith.
Fezzey emphasized that “the collective clout” of WJR and MSU throughout the state and beyond will serve listeners in “historic” ways.He added that WJR was MSU’s flagship station from 1963 to 1976.
“MSU developed an exciting partnership plan with WJR that proved beneficial to both. Combining assets to reach and serve people is at the heart of our respective missions,” he said. “And we are impressed that almost 90 percent of MSU’s undergraduate students come from the state of Michigan. There is great momentum here—in athletics, academics and research—as MSU celebrates its sesquicentennial.We look forward to being a part of it all.”
“MSU’s relationship with WJR in recent years has been a valued one and athletics now becomes part of that relationship,” Simon said. “Our faculty have been regular guests on Paul W. Smith’s, Frank Beckmann’s, Warren Pierce’s and Mitch Albom’s shows. I am personally aware of the impressive reach and breadth of WJR ‘talk’ through my own appearances. Expanding this relationship is a prime example of the Team MSU concept—one area negotiating to benefit the entire university.
“As we tell our story to the state, region and nation—and as that story continues to build momentum with students, alumni, donors, policy makers and others—we really can say this is a partnership of a Great Voice and a Great Choice.”
Ron Mason, Spartan athletics director, said WJR also has the rights to broadcast additional MSU athletic programming, and that MSU and WJR will pursue “creative and substantial opportunities” to host events that leverage MSU’s total-university assets. “We pursued a relationship that would optimally reach, inform and serve the thousands of fans and supporters of MSU; that was our consistent aim,” Mason said. “This will be MSU outreach at its qualitative and quantitative best."