Wolves games to WCCO, Wild to KFAN

  • Article by: NEAL JUSTIN and MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune staff writers
  • Updated: April 6, 2011 - 9:31 AM

The deals, announced Tuesday, amount to a swap -- with each radio station losing a local pro team but gaining another.

The sports shuffle on Twin Cities radio continued Tuesday, with WCCO and KFAN swapping teams. WCCO Radio will sign a four-year deal to broadcast Timberwolves games while the Wild will move to KFAN under a three-year contract. Both deals will start next season.

The announcement comes less than a month after WCCO lost all Gophers sports to 1500 ESPN and KFAN.

"Sometimes fresh is good," said Timberwolves president Chris Wright. "We really, really like the fact that the reach of WCCO is incredible. As we grow our franchise, we see ourselves more and more [as] a regional team."

Except for a two-year experiment with BOB (106 FM), the Wolves had been at KFAN since the team was formed. Wright said Alan Horton will remain as the play-by-play announcer.

The Wild has been with WCCO since the franchise's inception in 2000. The radio team of Bob Kurtz, Tom Reid and Kevin Falness will remain in place.

"Adding a strong franchise like the Minnesota Wild is the perfect complement to our existing relationships with the Minnesota Vikings and University of Minnesota," said Michael Crusham, the Minneapolis president of Clear Channel Radio, which owns KFAN.

The two teams might be big-league, but neither is a blockbuster in the ratings. During prime time, when most basketball games are played, KFAN averaged less than 1 percent of 18-plus listeners in January and February, according to Carol Grothem, vice president broadcast manager for Compass Point Media, a local media consulting firm. WCCO, which broadcasted a competitive Wild team at the start of the year, averaged about 7 percent of adult listeners during that same time period.

NEAL JUSTIN AND MICHAEL RUSSO

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