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Jeff Kolpack, Published March 31 2010

NDSU officially signs with Radio Fargo Moorhead, while UND is left searching for new carrier

North Dakota State and RADIO Fargo-Moorhead signed a six-year agreement to broadcast Bison athletics, a move that ends NDSU’s long-term relationship with Forum Communications.

The switch means the University of North Dakota is looking for a new carrier in the Fargo-Moorhead area. UND football and hockey games have been on RFM’s KFGO station for the past 17 years.

“We’re disappointed,” said UND athletic director Brian Faison. “We had a 17-year relationship and we hate to see that go. We’ll move on and make sure we have our Fargo listeners for Sioux athletics covered.”

Faison said the university didn't get much notice of RFM's decision to sign the NDSU agreement.

"From our standpoing," Faison added in a statement, "the most unfortunate aspect is that we were never given the opportunity to negotiate in an effort to continue our relationship and were given only two hours advance notice on today's announcement."

KFGO (790-AM) and 740 The Fan (740-AM) operations manager Joel Heitkamp said in his conversations with UND on Tuesday that their relationship ended “very positive.”

“But we’re from Fargo, KFGO is from Fargo and North Dakota State University is from Fargo and so it just would be disingenuous to say it wouldn’t matter,” Heitkamp said. “It does matter. We’ve always looked at Bison athletics and always wanted be part of Bison athletics.”

NDSU broadcasts have been on WDAY-AM for 43 of the last 46 years, interrupted only by a three-year period in the early 1980s when KQWB-AM had the rights.

The contract will cost NDSU about $80,000 annually, but the school will receive advertising revenue during its game broadcasts and coaches shows plus a promotional package from RFM at an estimated $100,000, said athletic director Gene Taylor.

Taylor said a major factor was RADIO Fargo-Moorhead’s ability to put Bison games on multiple stations in the Fargo market, citing conflicts with men’s and women’s basketball games being played at the same time.

Listeners won’t notice much of a change with the voices. Scott Miller will remain in the play-by-play role for football and basketball and Phil Hansen will return as the color commentator for football broadcasts. For Miller, it ends 14 years with WDAY.

“I liken it to a basketball coach getting a new job,” Miller said. “You say goodbye to your old team and you say hello to your new team.”

NDSU also announced a six-year agreement with Clear Channel Bismarck to carry football and a select number of basketball games.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack at (701) 241-5546