Cubs and WGN Radio Relationship Ending

Cubs-and-WGN-radioThe rumors about the Cubs leaving WGN Radio have been flying for months and more intensely the last week or so. Today, the Cubs will announce the end of this 90-year relationship and a new 7-year deal with CBS/WBBM.

With the entire WGN relationship ending (remember that WGN-TV recently announced they are ending their coverage of Chicago sports in favor of original content like their new series “Salem”.

These are big changes for Cubs fans that have tuned into 720AM and WGN-TV for Cubs baseball for their entire lives. Add in the drastic proposed changes to Wrigley Field and a massive rebuild directed by new ownership and a new front office and it’s easy to see the traditionalists frantically trying to pump the brakes on this thing.

What does the Cubs move to WBBM mean? Not much, really. Instead of tuning into 720AM, you’ll need to turn the dial a little further to right to 780AM. For those of us that don’t live in the Chicago area, WBBM’s signal isn’t quite as strong as WGN, so you will need to rely on the nearest Cubs Radio Network affiliates, which probably provides a stronger signal than WGN and is the way you listen to Pat and Coom Dawg anyway. Yes, Pat Hughes and Ron Coomer will remain in the booth and call Cubs games.

Also, the way that we consume baseball has changed. We had a discussion on our Facebook page last week about the Cubs leaving WGN. Jeff, a friend of several of us Ivy Envy guys, expressed his concern that the Cubs relationship with WGN Radio and TV would impact the Cubs’ reach and ultimately their ability to attract new fans.

I understand that sentiment, but I think us older folks need to realize that kids are no longer huddled over a radio, turning the dial and magically finding the signal that is broadcasting Chicago Cubs radio. Kids aren’t flipping through tv channels on a summer afternoon. They are growing up in a world where MLB At-Bat and MLB.tv is more the norm. I’d be shocked if 10% of teenagers even know what AM Radio is.

I’m perfectly fine with this change. Even though I can pick up Cubs baseball on 2 or 3 radio stations, I tend to listen to games though the MLB At-Bat app. Media consumption is changing. Baseball is changing. The Cubs are changing. And really, these (and all of the other changes) are long overdue.

Corey Fineran

Founder and Lead Host at Ivy Envy
A Cubs fan since 1985, Corey has seen (few) highs and (many) lows from the Boys in Blue.When he is not talking about the Cubs on The Ivy Envy Podcast, Corey helps high school students with disabilities become successful in the world of work…or he’s taking care of the chickens.

About Corey Fineran

21 comments
Kurtis Tucker
Kurtis Tucker

Not only do kids not listen to radio, they don't watch cable tv. Both the radio and tv deals needed to end for both parties. If the Cubs and MLBAM want to grow their young fan base it will be through YouTube and other new media.

Tim Wortman Jr.
Tim Wortman Jr.

I'm hungry for a championship. Little changes like this mean nothing. I love Ron Santo but maybe now we won't have to hear "this is the year" and "go cubs go" when we could lose 100 games this year. If Wrigley renovation doesn't start soon I wouldn't mind seeing a retractable roof stadium in the burbs if it would generate more revenue and increase timetable for championships

Ivy Envy
Ivy Envy

Jeff Lembcke, do you have any local stations that are part of the Cubs radio network?

Jeff Lembcke
Jeff Lembcke

Sucks for us in the Southern part of the state who get WGN but not WBBM.

Bob Zerull
Bob Zerull

If the Cubs ever win the World Series do you think that Cub fans will be pissed because they're breaking their losing tradition?

Ivy Envy
Ivy Envy

By the way, Ernie Cavista, the man-run scoreboard and ivy aren't changing. Both are protected as landmarks and it's things like that which will give Wrigley Field and the Chicago Cubs that historical vibe that many fans love.

Ivy Envy
Ivy Envy

I couldn't disagree more, Ernie Cavista. I think it can be pretty easily proven that there is a correlation between losing baseball and some of these traditions. I like tradition, but I don't like keeping traditions "just because". The world is changing, media consumption is changing, baseball is changing. Wanting to catch an organization up to the rest of baseball is not greed, it's responsible ownership.

Ernie Cavista
Ernie Cavista

what is wrong with tradition? being sentimental? since when do we not hold past tradition in regard? so tired of changing traditional things that were cornerstones like the wgn broadcasts, the man run scoreboard, the ivy it's sad to see these things come to pass, there is no reason other than pure GREED to make these changes. just sad that younger generations don't appreciate tradition and sentimental things.

Scott Thomas
Scott Thomas

The Cubs and WGN are synonymous. This Is a 90 year relationship that has been woven into the fabric of all who call themselves Cubs fans. The word is that WGN opted not to match WBBM's deal. It is a downright shame and an outright travesty. If GN bails on the Cubs, then I bail on GN. That will end a 30 year listening relationship, all the way back to when I was a kid. Childhood memories of my grandfather, the Cubs, and WGN are vivid in my memory. What an unnecessary end to what should be a lifelong business relationship.

Elijah Colgan
Elijah Colgan

Boo. I am officailly noe the old man talking about the way things used to be. I can see the logic behind it being on CBS they will have more comprehensive cross format coverage. But I was hoping WGN would come out on top and turn into the old TBS and Cubs games would be on nation wide all year.

Wahday Steelow
Wahday Steelow

They're moving to 780(no more traffic on the 8's). It's also suggested that the deal wbbm/cbs has taken with the cubs is unsustainable and won't last very long.

Tony Leva
Tony Leva

The crux of the matter is how baseball is consumed. There are outlets besides over-the-air broadcasts and teams know it. If you're not in range of the radio signal or if your cable provider doesn't have the channel, you're not out of luck. You might have to pay for the games on the internet, but you do have the option of seeing them.

Tim Wasem
Tim Wasem

It's a number on a dial. As long as the broadcasters are the same, who cares?

Michael Cotton
Michael Cotton

I'm not sure what Dawn means about "saving 2 million," but if they are going to get an extra 2 million for an AM feed, that's a pretty freakin' good deal. It's a bummer if it is going to directly affect how you follow the Cubs, but the Ricketts are doing the right thing. This whole organization was in need of a complete overhaul and they are getting it done. The Trib were terrible owners and all of this should have been done long ago. If it had been done that way, nobody would have noticed the nickel&dime changes as they happened, but because the Ricketts have to fix EVERYTHING, it is catching everyone off guard. I love it. In 5 years, when all of this change is in the past, people will see the great job that is being done right now.

Dave Scissom
Dave Scissom

I heard the superstation was done with games next season but they will still be on local wgn

Tony Leva
Tony Leva

It's business and it's not a huge deal to move.

Dave Scissom
Dave Scissom

Pat and coomdog are staying I use atbat to listen anyway and live in the Chicago market so I'm unaffected radio and tv wise

Tracy Bean
Tracy Bean

Good riddance, I want the Cubs to make as many changes as possible, the old way never won a thing! Change is good!

Dawn Strand
Dawn Strand

Btw, I can't open the article on my phone. Sorry if you talk about the financials and I missed it...

Dawn Strand
Dawn Strand

I saw somewhere that this only saves the Cubs $2 million? Can that be right? If so, then I'm against the move. If it saves the Cubs significantly more, then I'm totally behind it, as long as we keep Pat Hughes. I'm still sad, though. WGN and the Cubs have been together my whole life.