100% COTTEN: We've Got You Covered

April 20, 2006

You can't see me right now. But I've got an ear-to-ear smile that just won't leave my face. It's been a good week. And Demon Deacon faithful from the Triad to the Triangle will be the biggest beneficiaries. We now have not just one, but two flamethrowing FM stations that will be carrying Wake Forest Sports come autumn.

The Wake Forest ISP Sports Network has been blessed since before I showed up in the summer of 1996 by having 100,000-watt WBRF-FM in Galax, Virginia, as an integral part of the Deacon family. For more than half of my tenure, WBRF has served as the flagship station of our network. And it has done all of us proud.

A good chunk of my time over the last few weeks has been devoted to working with WBRF on a new deal to remain as the hub of our network. The Eppersons love Wake Forest, and their dedication to the Deacs showed in the way they helped ISP Sports reach a new deal with them to remain as the flagship station of the Wake Forest ISP Sports Network for at least seven more seasons. Seven! In seven more years Annie Cotten will be spiking, dunking or corner kicking for the Deacs (overt hint here to Heather, Mike and Tony!), and I'll be in my early fifties.

It's a long time for a radio partnership, and WBRF has committed to continue to carry Wake Forest football, men's and women's basketball, baseball and the weekly shows of Jim Grobe and Skip Prosser.

This news by itself is great for Wake Forest. But it gets even better.

For a long time there's been a hole in our network coverage down the Interstate 40 corridor from Greensboro to Raleigh. Until now.

I'm also pleased to announce that ISP Sports has reached a three year agreement with FM Talk 101.1 WZTK in Burlington, a 100,000-watt FM juggernaut (like WBRF) that will help secure a clear FM signal for Deacon fans from Hickory to the Triad to the Triangle. With its strength of signal and tower location in Burlington, WZTK covers more population mass than any other station in North Carolina. Not a bad outlet for football, men's basketball and the coaches' shows.

WZTK's format on Monday through Friday is News/Talk. On the weekends the station plays Jazz. It is also an affiliate of the NFL's Carolina Panthers Radio Network on Sunday afternoons. And its first venture into the collegiate ranks is with Wake Forest (its sister AM station, 920 WPCM, carries Elon).

I honestly cannot imagine a better scenario for our network. Fewer and fewer FM stations over the years, especially the huge 100,000-watters, have been willing to step aside from their day to day formats to carry sports, and yet WBRF is willing to commit long term, again, to the Deacs - and WZTK, owned by Curtis Media in Raleigh, is willing to put its faith in Wake Forest as the very first college team on its air.

I'm proud of that. I think it speaks volumes about Wake Forest.

But more than anything else I'm happy for the fans. I'm happy that our coverage from the Triad to the Triangle will be second to none. That if you live in Winston-Salem and are attending the Wake Forest - N.C. State basketball game next winter at the RBC Center and have to leave at halftime, you can get in your car and listen to the Dinger and me all the way home. Or maybe you have a family vacation to the Outer Banks early next October and have to leave a Deacon football game at Groves Stadium midway through to head east. No problem. The game will be over before you run out of Coach Urbanik and me - and an FM signal - on your way to the beach.

This is big folks. It is. Now I'll really see you on the radio!

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