Buffaloes To Remain On Regional Sports Giant Through 2019-20

BOULDER — The University of Colorado and iHeartMedia Denver announced Thursday a four-year extension of its broadcast agreement that will keep the Buffaloes football and basketball programs on one of the premier sports stations in the country.

KOA-Radio has been the home to CU football for all but three years dating back to 1940, with the station originating men’s basketball broadcasts in the mid-1970s and women’s games in the 1990s.  The new agreement extends the broadcasts of all three on KOA NewsRadio 850 AM and now 94.1 FM – with select games airing on sister-station Real Talk 760 – through the 2019-20 athletic season.

In addition, the weekly coaches’ show, Buffs PrimeTime, will continue to air during the football and basketball seasons.

The relationship was secured by Learfield Sports’ Buffalo Sports Properties, the exclusive multimedia rights holder for CU Athletics.  In addition to Colorado, Learfield oversees rights for nearly 120 collegiate properties nationwide.  The Boulder-based team oversees all aspects of the CU Radio Network.

“We’re thrilled that our relationship with KOA will continue through the end of this decade.  It has been our ‘radio home’ spanning eight decades in all; that’s almost as long as sporting events have been broadcast in all of history,” said CU athletic director Rick George.  “It’s been a great partnership between KOA and the Buffs and we’re pleased we’ll be together for at least four more years.”

That’s not an exaggeration; the first sports broadcasts in the United States were just 20 years earlier.   The Jack Dempsey-Billy Miske heavyweight fight was broadcast on Sept. 6, 1920 (by WWJ-Radio in Detroit) and the first game followed later that year on Nov. 20, Texas A&M versus Texas in Austin (WTAW broadcasted the game back to the College Station area).

KOA’s Mark Johnson will continue as the play-by-play voice for both football and men’s basketball, a role he has occupied since the fall of 2004.  Johnson also serves as KOA NewsRadio’s sports director and sports anchor during Colorado’s Morning News.   Larry Zimmer is completing his 42nd and final season as the “Voice of the Buffaloes,” as he announced his retirement earlier this summer.  He handled the play-by-play duties for 30 seasons (1971-81, 1985-2003) before shifting into the analyst role in 2004.  His final game at Folsom Field is Friday night when the Buffaloes host Southern California, and the school will honor him after the first quarter.  Former CU football coach Gary Barnett will replace him in the booth next season.

Cory Lopez will return for his second year as the play-by-play voice of the women’s basketball team, with Carol Callan in her third decade doing the color commentary.   Former Buff Scott Wilke is entering his third season as the analyst for the men’s games.

“KOA NewsRadio and the Buffs have a long-standing partnership,” said Tim Hager, Market President of iHeartMedia Denver.  “We’re excited to extend our agreement with the University of Colorado, and reach more fans with KOA NewsRadio’s recently-launched 94.1 FM signal.”

KOA NewsRadio 850 AM and 94.1 FM features 24/7 coverage of local news, traffic and weather, as well as exclusive play-by-play of CU football and basketball, the Denver Broncos and the Colorado Rockies.  KOA is approaching 150 years combined of broadcasting all three entities.

iHeartMedia is a leading media outlet in the Denver market and its programming and content are available across multiple platforms, including its broadcast stations; online via its branded digital sites; mobile; and social, with nationwide listening through iHeartRadio — with its more than 700 million downloads, more than 75 million social media followers and 87 million digital uniques across the Network.