MSU athletics staying on WJR
(January 20, 2010) Michigan State's relationship with WJR-AM (760) will continue through 2020 after an agreement was reached Tuesday.
WJR became the flagship station in southeastern Michigan for MSU football and basketball at the start of the 2006 football season and 2006-07 basketball season after both parties agreed to a five-year contract in 2005.
MSU president Lou Anna K. Simon, athletic director Mark Hollis and football coach Mark Dantonio joined broadcaster Paul W. Smith and WJR president and general manager Mike Fezzey in the station's Detroit studio Tuesday morning for the announcement of the extension.
Hollis, who secured the initial deal in 2005, said MSU had been in talks with the station for the past six months to extend the contract and said the discussion reached its final stages last week. MSU and WJR were in the fourth year of the original deal.
"WJR is very much a coveted property, and we wanted to ensure that MSU held on to that for as long as possible," Hollis said. "We feel our obligation is to get our message out in Southeast Michigan in the strongest way possible, and WJR is the strongest way to do that."
Although football and basketballbroadcasts are the most visible part of the relationship, MSU and WJR have collaborated on non-sports-related initiatives as well. Hollis said the university plans to increase the amount of programming on the network over the next 10 years.
On his morning show Tuesday, Smith commented on the length of the contract, one that Hollis confirmed was not the norm in the broadcast industry. Contracts typically last five years, sometimes with a yearly rollover option.
"That's a very big deal," Smith said. "Ten years. Radio stations don't make those kinds of commitments very often."
Hollis said he wanted to ensure that continual renewal of the contract would not be an issue so that MSU would not have to worry about losing its home in the Detroit market in the near future. WJR was MSU's flagship station from 1963 to 1976 before becoming the home of University of Michigan sports for three decades.
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