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Four affiliates join IMG network for WVU sports

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - IMG College has signed four new radio affiliates to its West Virginia University sports radio network, bringing the total number of stations to nine.

Stations in Hardy, Logan, Wyoming and Wetzel counties have agreed to carry IMG-produced WVU broadcasts for the upcoming sports season, IMG officials announced Tuesday.

Earlier this month, IMG signed a 12-year, $86.5 million deal with WVU to manage the school's multimedia broadcast rights. North Carolina-based IMG currently is working to build a statewide network of radio affiliates to carry WVU sporting events this year.

Broadcasts are being produced by its IMG Audio division and will be distributed as the Mountaineer Sports Network by IMG, and also as MSN Radio by IMG.

The company announced its first three affiliates Friday and said Tuesday that four more companies have come on board.

"Affiliate reaction to the new Mountaineer Sports Network from IMG has been overwhelmingly positive," IMG Vice President Joe Potter said. "There's tremendous anticipation for the college football season, and we're very excited to bring to fans all the action as we expand the game day programming."

The four new affiliates, which manage a total of six radio stations, include: WELD-FM in Fisher, WVOW-AM/WVOW-FM in Logan, WKQR-FM in Mullens, and WETZ-AM/WYMJ-FM in New Martinsville.

Each of the stations has agreed to air WVU football and men's basketball games along with their respective coaches' shows and a daily "Mountaineer Minute" report.

"WELD radio has a long tradition of broadcasting Mountaineer sports to the Potomac Highlands of West Virginia, and we look forward to continuing that tradition with programming from IMG," station owner Curtis Durst said.

Bob Spencer, owner of "Kiss FM" WKQR in Mullens, said he had worked with IMG for several years to air Marshall sports broadcasts.

"Knowing IMG's professionalism and commitment to college sports, we look forward in joining them to deliver WVU games and coaches shows to the best and most loyal fans on earth," Spencer said.

The four new affiliates join Fairmont-based WRLF-FM and WTCS-AM, and WMTD-FM, which broadcasts in the Hinton and Beckley markets, in IMG's Mountaineer radio network.

IMG announced last week that it plans to add four hours to MSN Radio gameday broadcasts. The pre-game show will last three-and-a-half hours while the post-game show will last two hours.

In recent years, Mountaineer Sports Network game day broadcasts, produced by West Virginia Radio Corp., included a one-hour pre-game show, and half-hour post-game show.

West Virginia Radio Corp. also produced its own two-hour pre-game and 90-minute post-game shows that were separate and aired before and after Mountaineer Sports Network programs, though MSN affiliates could opt out of those broadcasts.

It still remains unclear if West Virginia Radio will participate in the new IMG network.

While it announced new affiliates Tuesday, IMG has yet to name a broadcast team for the radio programs.

The company had made an "aggressive" offer to long-time WVU play-by-play man Tony Caridi, but Caridi, who is employed at West Virginia Radio's Pikewood Creative advertising arm, has yet to announce whether he will join the IMG team.

IMG said Tuesday the details on its radio play-by-play and color commentary team will be announced in the future.

Contact writer Jared Hunt at business@dailymail.com or 304-348-4836. 


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