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WBBM, Cubs Radio 780?

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Could the all-news station be the next radio home of the Cubs?

Will WGN continue to hang its logo outside this booth at Wrigley? Or will there be a new radio station name there in 2015?
Will WGN continue to hang its logo outside this booth at Wrigley? Or will there be a new radio station name there in 2015?
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SCOTTSDALE, Arizona -- The Cubs have been broadcast over WGN radio every season since 1958 and have had a relationship with the Tribune Company-owned station since 1925.

It's possible that relationship might end, according to Ed Sherman in the Tribune:

WBBM-AM 780 has emerged as the leading candidate to become the new radio home of the Cubs.

The CBS-owned outlet is using all of its local stations in a synergistic bid to land the rights to the Cubs, beginning with the 2015 season, according to team and industry sources. If the team goes with WBBM, it would end its long relationship with WGN-AM 720, which dates to 1925.

The Cubs wouldn’t comment on the situation. However a team source said, "We believe there is a very good market for Cubs rights."

Sherman goes on to say that the radio rights deal has been a money-loser for the last couple of years -- this shouldn't surprise you, given the poor performance of the team which has ratings and advertising dollars down. Sherman writes that the Cubs' radio deal could be worth as much as $10 million a year, and that since CBS, the owner of WBBM, also owns quite a number of other radio stations in the market, there could be additional promotional opportunities for the team.

On the other hand, Tribune Co. has just launched WGWG-FM 87.7 ("The Game", they're calling this sports-oriented station), a low-power FM station that will be on the air through September 2015 (at that time, all low-power FM licenses will end). By that time, Tribune, which is spinning off its newspapers into a separate company, will no longer be bound by current media crossownership rules and hopes to purchase a full-power FM station in Chicago. That's a longwinded way of saying that WGN and Tribune could have similar promotional opportunities.

Personally, I have heard that the Cubs are likely re-upping with WGN radio. This article might be a bit of posturing, hoping to get more money out of Tribune Company. We're likely only a couple of weeks away from hearing the final answer to this, as the team hopes to finalize the new radio deal by Opening Day.