New radio deal good for UW

By Adam Lederer
BI Columnist

Intercollegiate athletics are driven by money. No doubt about it, UW athletics director Lee Moon has been extremely aggressive in repositioning Cowboy athletics within Wyoming in order to increase revenues.

Take for example the new radio contract Moon has set up.

In the recent past the radio contract was held by Casper’s KTWO radio. The same contract also gave control of television broadcasts to the radio network.

Starting next year, the contract, without provisions for television, will be held by Cheyenne’s KFBC-AM. However, the station will not have the same power that KTWO radio had.

Moon has shifted control of the “major decisions” to the university.

In other words, the university will select the radio announcers, not the radio station. UW will also sell network advertising and produce the broadcasts.

Currently the network has 25 affiliates and Director of Sports Information Kevin McKinney does not expect to lose any with the transition next year.

McKinney told me that radio broadcasts of Cowboy athletics makes money, unlike television broadcasts.

Consequently, the television contract has been separated from the radio contract and will be going up for bid this spring.

McKinney said television broadcasts cost at least $12,000 to produce, and lose several thousand dollars each time.

However, the picture does not look bright for getting much on the air. Wyoming has only two in-state television bidders: Casper’s KTWO and the combination of Cheyenne’s and Casper’s CBS affiliates, KGWN and KGWC.

Neither potential bidder has the capability to produce the television broadcasts in-house and would be forced to hire an outside “truck” capable of putting together the broadcasts.

There is one other possible bidder: FOX Sports Rocky Mountain, the cable television network.

FOX Sports would be an ideal bidder, McKinney admitted. They have the necessary equipment to produce the broadcasts on their own and would be able to do everything while leaving only a check in Wyoming’s hands.

Any way you slice it, television broadcasts are going to be a trick for Moon to perfect. If he goes with the Wyoming television stations, UW will have to help the stations with equipment rental. But if he goes with FOX Sports, he’ll have to deal with the fact that FOX Sports does not reach nearly as many homes in the state.

In any case, Moon does have a winner with the new coaches’ shows on KTWO this year.

Produced in-house with an extremely low budget, the shows are breaking even.

The Larry Shyatt Show is at 10:30 p.m. Sundays and follows the Dana Dimel Show format.

I have to give kudos to athletics — the show is extremely well done.

–part edited out here–

Adam Lederer is a graduate student in political science minoring in environment and natural resources. He earned his bachelor’s from UW in 1996.

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