TOLEDO – College football fans from across northern Ohio and southeast Michigan will soon have the ability to follow Toledo Rocket gridiron action via a syndicated radio broadcast with the launch of The University of Toledo Football Radio Network. Toledo’s Rocket Sports Properties is a property of Learfield Sports and the multimedia rights holder and sports marketing arm for athletics at the University of Toledo.


Beginning this September, Toledo Rocket football will be broadcast on a number of radio stations not only in northwest Ohio, but as far away as the Detroit and Cleveland areas. Later in the year, UT men’s basketball will debut on the same network of stations as The University of Toledo Basketball Radio Network. Rocket women’s basketball will continue to be carried in Toledo on WCWA (1230 AM).


The first addition to the University of Toledo Football Radio Network is WDTW 1310 AM in Detroit. Another station in northeast Ohio is expected to be added to the network in time for the 2009 football season.


WSPD (AM 1370) in Toledo will serve as the flagship station for the new network. The 2009 season will mark the 43rd year that Rocket football games will be broadcast on WSPD. WSPD, which has a continuous 5,000-watt signal, has broadcast UT football and basketball games for all but one year since 1965. Mark Beier, the “Voice of the Rockets,” enters his 15th season as play-by-play announcer, while Rocket Hall of Famer Tom Duncan debuts as the color commentator.


“The creation of The University of Toledo Football Radio Network presents a unique opportunity for us to keep our Rocket football and basketball fans tuned into the action and to broaden the reach of our University into new markets in a way that is engaging and exciting,” said Lawrence J. Burns, vice president for external affairs.


“The University of Toledo has not only been a major player in the creation of this radio network, it is also leveraging it as a significant branding tool by securing the name ‘The University of Toledo Football Radio Network,'” said Michael Sydlowski, Rocket Sports Properties general manager.


“Now, more than ever, university athletic departments must be aggressive in not only securing fans, but delivering all the action,” added Sydlowski. “With this network, UT will be able to bolster positive aspects of the University, as well as the Medical Center, to attract future students, potential patients and overall visibility for the campus.”


Learfield Sports, which manages such rights for more than 50 collegiate institutions and associations, also titles the Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup, manages marketing partnerships for the Black Coaches & Administrators and provides exclusive sports programming to more than 1,000 radio stations throughout the country. Dallas-based Learfield Sports is an operating unit of Jefferson City, Mo.-based Learfield Communications Inc., which made its initial foray into the world of sports marketing in 1975 as the radio rights holder for the University of Missouri. For more information, visit


“The appeal of Rocket Athletics stretches far beyond Toledo and northwest Ohio,” said UT athletic director Mike O’Brien. “The opportunity this radio network represents for increasing outreach to our supporters is incredible. UT is proud to be a leader in using all forms of media to keep our football and basketball fans tuned in to all the action.”


“This is an exciting step for The University of Toledo in many ways,” added Burns. “It broadens our reach in terms of academics and athletics’ awareness across the state and other areas, and it certainly puts us in a position of becoming more of a nationally known university.”


For more information, contact either Jennifer Duncan, Learfield Sports, at (469) 767-8324 or, or Paul Helgren, UT associate athletic director for media relations, at (419) 530-4918 or


Posted on Wednesday, July 8, 2009