08/04/2005 6:02 PM ET
St. Louis Cardinals, KTRS announce long-term radio partnership
Cardinals purchase share of future flagship station
ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Cardinals today announced the intent to purchase a 50 percent share of St. Louis radio station KTRS, which will become the new, long-term flagship radio station of the baseball team beginning in 2006.
The transaction heralds a new marketing and broadcasting era for the Cardinals that coincides with the club's move next spring into the new Busch Stadium, now under construction adjacent to the team's current ballpark. Several of the many highlights of the Cardinals-KTRS partnership include:
The move of the KTRS studios from West Port Plaza to the new Ballpark Village.
Expanded pregame and postgame programming accompanying all games.
A heavy schedule of offseason baseball specialty shows featuring Cardinals broadcasters.
Broadcasts of nearly all Cardinals spring training games.
Comprehensive team marketing and promotional programs for fans throughout the calendar year.
A renewed emphasis on the Cardinal Radio Network.
An agreement with 106.1 WSMI-FM, Litchfield, Illinois to simulcast the KTRS evening broadcast in order to enhance coverage in the metro east and mid-Illinois region.
Additionally, the Cardinals have reached an agreement with XM Satellite Radio on a long-term partnership which will enable Cardinals fans from coast to coast to listen to the Cardinals and all Major League Baseball games. Full details of this partnership, which will include XM Satellite Radio discount offers exclusively for Cardinals fans, will be forthcoming.
KTRS, "The Big 550" on the AM dial, is also the flagship station of the St Louis Blues of the National Hockey League and the AM radio partner of the St. Louis Rams of the National Football League. When the Cardinals move to KTRS following the conclusion of the 2005 baseball season, KTRS will be the nation's second radio station to hold the broadcasting rights to all professional teams in a three-sport town.
"This is a significant milepost in the history of the St. Louis Cardinals as we redefine and enhance the role our radio partner will play in the future of the club," said team president Mark Lamping. "The benefits of owning a share of KTRS, our new flagship station, will be many to our fans and business partners as we transition into a new era of Cardinals baseball.
"But above all, this is a strategic move that is consistent with our approach in everything we do, and that is to put the St. Louis Cardinals in the best position possible each year to field a team worthy of competing for the National League pennant and a World Series title. Our fans deserve nothing less."
The Cardinals' purchase of 50 percent of KTRS requires approval from the Federal Communications Commission, with approval expected to be a formality and granted by the end of the calendar year. The Cardinals will remain on KMOX AM 1120 for the balance of the 2005 season, the final year of the team's contract with the radio station that has served as the Cardinals' radio home for 52 years.
"KMOX has been a terrific partner and friend to the Cardinals and our many generations of fans, and for that we will always be grateful," said Bill DeWitt, chairman of the board and general partner of the Cardinals. "Now, we open a new chapter that represents much more than merely switching radio stations. Today, we truly have a radio and business partner in KTRS. As a result, we're a stronger, more viable franchise today than we were yesterday. That's good news for our baseball team and our fans."
Located at 550 on the AM dial since 1923, KTRS has operated in St. Louis under various call letters and programming formats until the Dorsey Media Group - headed by station principal Tim Dorsey -- assumed control of the station Jan. 27, 1997. The Dorsey Media Group included then, and includes now, local Hall of Fame sports stars Ozzie Smith and Dan Dierdorf, actor John Goodman and a host of other investors who call St. Louis home.
Dorsey will remain with KTRS as its president, reporting to new station chairman Bobby Lawrence, a 25-year veteran of the radio industry who was most recently president and chief operating officer of Jacor Broadcasting.
"This is a red-letter day for KTRS in every sense of the word," Dorsey said. "Obviously, we're proud, and we are honored. Everyone at KTRS appreciates the privilege of being the future flagship radio station of the St. Louis Cardinals. Our appreciation is sincere, because we are first and foremost a St. Louis radio station, owned and operated by St. Louisans who care about their community and their Cardinals.
"It is still a bit early to get into specifics of our coverage and commitment to the Cardinals and their fans. But I can guarantee this: KTRS will do more than simply 'understand' the passion of Cardinals fans. Our role will be to deliver the best radio package imaginable to Cardinals fans, the best fans in all of sports, and we will be successful in that endeavor."
KTRS will join the Cardinals in the move to the new Busch Stadium in the spring of 2005, and the radio station will eventually relocate from its West Port Plaza location to the new Ballpark Village, which will be developed in the location of the current Busch Stadium. The new KTRS studios will feature a storefront studio just outside the left-field bleachers and anchor an impressive development that will include a Cardinals Hall of Fame.
On the programming front, KTRS is committed in the months ahead to an impressive wintertime lineup of baseball-themed shows featuring Cardinals players, coaches and announcers, as well as host of local, regional and national baseball personalities. Plans then call for KTRS to carry Cardinals spring training games on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, with more games possibly added as the preseason schedule permits.
On game days and nights during the regular season, KTRS will go wall-to-wall Cardinals, with comprehensive pregame and postgame programming, often featured on-location around the new Busch Stadium to provide Cardinals fans the opportunity to interact with the hosts and guests. For all evening games, coverage will usually extend until midnight.
KTRS will also simulcast all night games, as well as that evening's pregame and postgame programming, on WSMI 106.1 FM. Located in Litchfield, Ill., WSMI's powerful signal will complement the KTRS transmission of the game to provide fans in the Metro East - and as far north as Springfield - with crystal-clear reception of the KTRS broadcast.
The Cardinal Radio Network, featuring 110 radio stations throughout 10 Midwestern states, will join KTRS in taking on a more prominent role in the broadcasting and marketing of Cardinals baseball.