Tampa Bay and Orlando will lose ESPN Radio affiliates as locally-based Genesis Communications drops its licensing agreement with the sports media giant after 10 years, transitioning to new programming by Oct. 1.
The company announced the change in a statement, noting "ESPN Radio has driven up its syndication costs and inventory required by its affiliates," indicating the expense of programming may have been a factor.
The statement also criticized the manner in which ESPN Radio content is made available on web radio, sattelite radio, mobile devices and other non-exclusive platforms.
WHBO-AM (1040) in Tampa, once known as ESPN 1040 and WHOO-AM (1080) in Orlando, once known as ESPN 1080, will feature more exclusive original content, according to owner Bruce Maduri, quoted in the statement announcing the change.
The move came the same day CBS Radio announced it would debut a nationwide sports news/talk network with Cumulus Radio in January 2013, placing its 24-hour syndicated programming on a number of stations nationwide, including WQYK-AM (1010) in Tampa.
On Wednesday, CBS Radio revealed plans to debut the Tampa Bay market's first FM sports talk station in August, eliminating the contemporary hits format at WSJT-FM (Play 98.7). The sports talk format on the new FM station will be simulcast on WQYK until January, when the CBS Sports Radio network takes over. No personalities or programs have yet been announced.