WBAL Radio has been selected as the flagship station for University of Maryland football and basketball, the university and radio station announced yesterday.
WBAL (1090 AM) has signed a three-year deal with Jefferson-Pilot productions, which owns Maryland's radio rights, to be the originating station for Terrapins games. WBAL recently had been the Baltimore affiliate on the Maryland radio network when Washington's WMAL was the flagship.
Last week, university athletic director Andy Geiger announced that the school had reached an agreement with Washington-area station WRC to become the flagship. Geiger could not be reached for comment last night.
WMAL's contract for Maryland games expired after the basketball season, and the station had been attempting to negotiate a deal that would address WMAL's estimated $300,000 in losses on the broadcasts over the five-year contract.
"They had approached us about being the flagship, and we weren't interested," said Jeff Beauchamp, WBAL station manager and vice president. "But then we [Jefferson-Pilot and WBAL] came up with a deal that was acceptable."
Beauchamp said WBAL's initial concerns were much the same as WMAL's, that production costs would make it unprofitable to originate the games. But Jefferson-Pilot agreed to share the costs of production with WBAL.
"It's more of a partnership on the production," Beauchamp said.
Because WBAL also is flagship for the Baltimore Orioles, the potential exists for conflicts with football games. In the case of a conflict -- there are two possibilities, Sept. 14 and Oct. 5 -- WBAL would carry the Orioles and find another Baltimore station to broadcast the Terps, Beauchamp said, then do a delayed broadcast of the football game on WBAL. When conflicts arose last year, he said, WITH (1230 AM) carried two Terps games.
As for who will be play-by-play announcer, it appears that Johnny Holliday, once reported to be sticking with WMAL for Naval Academy broadcasts, still may return for a 13th year with the Terps.
"It's high on Andy Geiger's list to keep Johnny Holliday," Beauchamp said.