Nov. 10, 2008
FAIRFIELD, CT - The radio footprint of Sacred Heart University Athletics got bigger today when the Pioneers added WINE 940 AM of Danbury and WPUT 1510 of Brewster, NY, both ESPN Radio affiliates, to the Pioneer Radio Network. The addition of the new stations, along with flagship WICC 600 AM of Bridgeport, means Pioneer athletics can be heard as far south as Long Island, as far north as the Massachusetts border, west to the New Haven and Hartford markets, as well as reach into southeastern New York State.
WINE and WPUT are both part of the Cumulus Radio family of stations, as is WICC, and will broadcast Sacred Heart football, men's hockey, men's basketball, and women's basketball games throughout the 2008-09 season and beyond. Both new affiliates will be branded as the "Official Station of Sacred Heart University Sports."
"As an alumna of the university, I am thrilled to partner with Sacred Heart University on behalf of WINE/WPUT-Cumulus Media Danbury to bring the Pioneers to this part of the region," said Cumulus Market Manager, Kristin Okesson. "The addition of SHU as the official collegiate athletic program on our ESPN affiliates WINE/WPUT is a perfect compliment to our already popular sports format."
"In addition, I am pleased to offer the University a partnership with our sister stations WRKI-i95 & WDBY-Y105," she continued. "All four stations will allow the Pioneers to expand their network in our coverage area, which reaches 5 counties in two states."
At least 45 regular-season football, men's and women's basketball and men's hockey games will be carried by the new affiliates. Post-season games will be added whenever possible. The expansion of the network is part of a 145-game package that will be carried both over the air and on the Internet.
"We are very excited to expand our broadcast radio and web streaming partnership with the Cumulus Radio Group," says Associate AD for External Relations Mark Adzigian. "Associating with the ESPN brand, the world-wide leader in sports, is an exciting opportunity and a testament to how far Sacred Heart University Athletics have come."
In addition to broadcasting Pioneer games, both new affiliates will also air two-minute Sacred Heart University Sports Updates each day in morning and afternoon drive times. Both the new stations, as well as their FM counterparts, will also be running a regular schedule of Sacred Heart sports commercials.
"We have been looking to expand our network for some time and being able to do it on ESPN radio affiliates in a perfect fit for us," says Assistant AD for Communications Gene Gumbs. "Mark and I feel that it gives us an excellent opportunity to reach the Western Connecticut and sports fans and generate even more excitement about our 32 Division I programs."
The first broadcast on WINE and WPUT comes up this Saturday at 1:00 when the football team hosts Central Connecticut State University. Ice hockey broadcasts on the new affiliates will start on November 15 at 7:00 p.m. against AIC, while the first men's basketball broadcast will be November 18 at 7:00 when the Pioneers face cross-town rival Fairfield University.
"Our goal is to support our University-wide recruiting efforts by augmenting programming and advertising done in support of our undergraduate and graduate admissions programs, along with those in support of the John F. Welch College of Business, by offering a comprehensive broadcast schedule on our four partner websites (www.WICC600.com, www.i95rock.com/ESPN/ and www.SacredHeartPioneers.com). With the inclusion of the B2 Network (www.B2TV.com) for men's hockey, our Pioneer hockey fans can follow our team live across three radio stations, four websites for audio and one website for video streaming.
"This expansion will allow us to broadcast into areas where we have had strong fan turnout and alumni support over the years," Adzigian continued. "We are pleased to now offer a broadcast and web streaming package that will complement the exciting in-game experience for our fans throughout western Connecticut."
Jeff Holtz, the voice of the Pioneers for the last seven seasons, and Gumbs will share play-by-play duties for basketball broadcasts this season. Randy Brochu will handle the play calling on the majority of the ice hockey games. The broadcasts will also include a complete post-game show with interviews, scores and statistics.
"When you consider we also had our first football game televised on Madison Square Garden Network this year and have another three men's basketball and one women's basketball game on MSG-TV later this year, back when we made our move to Division I in 1999 none of us could have imagined being able to offer this comprehensive of a radio/Internet/television broadcast package this quickly or with such quality partners," Adzigian said.
"I have worked extensively with Mark and Gene through my affiliation with WICC-Cumulus Media Bridgeport," Okesson said. "I am very excited to open a new chapter of Sacred Heart Athletics with our properties in the Danbury area."