UK, Clear Channel strike deal that begins in 2007

Clear Channel radio, which includes 84 WHAS, and the University of Kentucky have struck a deal that will give the Wildcats pre-eminence over the University of Louisville on the 50,000-watt station starting in 2007.

University of Kentucky Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart Saturday announced a 10-year agreement with Clear Channel radio stations WHAS-AM in Louisville, WLAP-AM and WBUL-FM in Lexington and WSAI-AM in Cincinnati to serve as Big Blue Network affiliates, beginning in fall 2007.

In addition to carrying all UK football and men's basketball games and related broadcasts, Clear Channel stations in the Lexington and Louisville markets have agreed to broadcast all Kentucky women's basketball and baseball games starting next year.

"We are delighted to establish this long-term partnership with Clear Channel's excellent stations in these three media markets," said Barnhart. "WLAP has been our flagship station since 2000 and the 50,000 watt WHAS and WSAI stations provide coverage for our games and broadcasts to Kentucky fans across the eastern half of the United States."

By signing the new deal, Barnhart said Kentucky fans would soon be able to hear all football and men's basketball games on the same stations throughout the season. "We will no longer be preempted by other programming and our fans can now set their dials to one of these stations and hear every game, every coach's show and every pre and post game show throughout the season. We feel this is an important element of our continued branding and expansion of our outstanding sports programs."

In addition, Barnhart said the university's women's basketball and baseball games would air on WLAP in Lexington and on WKJK in Louisville starting next fall. "This is a major expansion of our radio network coverage that provides excellent exposure for these two growing athletic programs," he added.

Earl Jones, Clear Channel's regional vice president said, "This is extending the existing relationship with UK Athletics. The relationship has grown tremendously over the past years and we look forward to long prosperous relationship in the future."

Barnhart praised UK's multi-media rights holders, Lexington-based Host Communications, Inc. and Gray Television, Inc., for their role in expanding the Wildcats' long-standing partnership with Clear Channel. "UK Athletics, Host and Gray, and Clear Channel will work together to make sure that we maximize the value and quality of our broadcasts to our fans, our coaches and student athletes, our sponsors and advertisers." This cooperation will include a high degree of cross promotions between the radio stations and the University, he added.

Under terms of the agreement, Host and Gray will purchase the airtime on the three Clear Channel stations for an undisclosed sum. In exchange, Host and Gray will be able to include the local advertising inventory into its comprehensive marketing rights sales efforts for UK sports broadcasts and programming. Host and Gray recently were awarded the school's multi-media rights for 10 years at $80.5 million.


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