CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- IMG College on Friday announced the first affiliates to sign on to the new Mountaineer Sports Network from IMG, which will carry West Virginia University sports events for the coming athletic year.
The company also announced it is adding four more hours to WVU football game-day radio programming.
IMG, which recently signed a 12-year deal with WVU to manage the school's multimedia broadcast rights, currently is working to build a statewide network of radio affiliates to carry WVU sporting events this year.
Broadcasts are being produced by IMG Audio and will be distributed as the Mountaineer Sports Network by IMG, and also as MSN Radio by IMG.
For decades, Mountaineer Sports Network game-day radio broadcasts had been distributed by West Virginia Radio Corp., owned by Morgantown businessman John Raese. (Raese is currently challenging WVU's decision to award its multimedia rights to IMG in a lawsuit in Monongalia County Circuit Court.)
On Friday morning, the company announced it signed WMTD-FM in Hinton, also known as ESPN Radio 102.3 The Ticket, as the first affiliate to join the network.
"IMG College is thrilled to bring to fans Mountaineers football on our network and want to welcome ESPN Radio 102.3 The Ticket to the IMG family," said Joe Potter, senior vice president of operations at IMG.
"We're very excited about building our affiliate base and expanding Mountaineers programming for one of the most passionate and loyal fan bases in college sports," Potter said.
ESPN Radio 102.3 began carrying WVU broadcasts in 2011. IMG said the station has agreed to carry game broadcasts for both WVU football and men's basketball, along with their respective coaches' shows and a daily report -- all of which will be produced by IMG Audio
"ESPN Radio 102.3 The Ticket is pleased to present another year of Mountaineer sports to southern West Virginia in association with IMG," WMTD owner Shane Southern said. "Mountaineers fans are raring to go and so are we as kickoff approaches."
IMG also announced it signed WRLF-FM and WTCS-AM, both based in Fairmont, as affiliates. The stations, owned by Nick Fantasia's Fantasia Broadcasting, have been airing WVU games since the 1950s.
"It's great to welcome Fantasia Broadcasting, which has such deep roots in Mountaineers football, to our network and the IMG family," said Chris Ferris, vice president of the IMG's audio division for IMG College.
"WVU is an important part of our business, and our history," Fantasia said. "WTCS was part of the original group of WVU network stations connected by phone line in the early 1950s, and we have aired WVU sports ever since."
The new affiliates will also receive a new, expanded slate of game-day programming for the coming football season.