HARRISONBURG, Va. – Continuing a longstanding partnership, James Madison Athletics extended its relationship with Harrisonburg Radio Group as its exclusive radio partner and flagship broadcast station with a four-year agreement that runs through June 30, 2020.
“We are pleased to be able to extend our longstanding relationship with our radio partners at the Harrisonburg Radio Group,” JMU Director of Athletics Jeff Bourne said. “The new ownership under Saga Communications has taken great strides to strengthen the station’s presence in the Shenandoah Valley. We appreciate their emphasis on keeping JMU Athletics as a significant piece to their overall programming strategy.”
As part of the deal, WSVA AM 550 and FM 92.1 in Harrisonburg will continue to serve as the primary home for the Dukes in football and men’s basketball. Women’s basketball will continue to air on ESPN 1360 AM (101.3 FM). As the flagship station, HRG will have exclusive radio rights within 35 miles of Harrisonburg.
Vice President and General Manager of Harrisonburg Radio Group Steve Davis said, “The Harrisonburg Radio Group is thrilled with this opportunity to extend our relationship as flagship stations for JMU Athletics. WSVA has served as the radio home of the Dukes for decades, and as a graduate of James Madison University, it is especially gratifying to be able to continue serving the growing JMU Community. This renewed partnership will enable Harrisonburg Radio Group to showcase our new, expanded cluster of local radio stations to the large JMU fan base while delivering the excitement of JMU Athletics to even more listeners in the coming years.”
Under contract terms, Learfield’s local JMU Sports Properties, which owns JMU’s media rights as part of the school’s contract with Learfield, holds exclusive rights to hire all broadcast crews. Currently, HRG lead sports personality Dave Thomas handles play-by-play for men’s basketball and football with Clint Estes providing color on football and Karl Magenhofer on men’s basketball. Women’s basketball play-by-play duties will be determined in the near future following the March retirement of David Taylor.
While not part of the contract, JMU earns daily coverage in the area via WHBG’s Daily Sports Feed with Dave Thomas, which airs Monday through Friday from 4-5 p.m. The contract also provides opportunities for HRG and JMU Sports Properties to agree on select additional broadcast opportunities, such as current coverage of JMU softball’s postseason run. WHBG will have live coverage of games on Friday and Saturday as JMU competes at home in the NCAA Super Regionals vs. LSU.
“We’re excited to have the ability to continue our outstanding partnership with Harrisonburg Radio Group for another four years,” said Mike Chatburn, JMU Sports Properties’ general manager. “We evaluated all of our broadcast options, but the best place for us and for our fans right now is with HRG, which is highly respected in our community. JMU Athletics is pleased to have them as our flagship radio partner. We have worked closely with the Harrisonburg Radio Group for years now and feel confident they deliver the best in radio broadcast for JMU fans.”
Learfield, a leader in collegiate sports marketing, manages multimedia and sponsorship rights for more than 120 collegiate properties. Additionally, the company titles the prestigious Learfield Directors’ Cup with award co-founders NACDA and USA Today. Representing collegiate institutions, conferences and arenas for their respective rights and sponsorship initiatives, Learfield offers these partners with professional concessions and ticket sales, licensing and trademark consulting, digital platform expertise and venue and technology systems through its owned companies. To learn more about its history, businesses and job opportunities, visit www.learfieldsports.com.
About Harrisonburg Radio Group
Harrisonburg Radio Group is a local group of seven distinct radio stations with a variety of popular formats including Local News and Information (WSVA-FM 92.1 and AM 550), Local and National Sports Talk (101.3 FM and 1360 AM), Real Country (WSIG 96.9 FM), Q101 Hit Music (100.7 FM), Up-Tempo Adult Contemporary (96.1 FM), 80’s Top 40 (Rewind 105.1 FM), and Iconic Classic Rock (WQPO HD3, 100.1 FM).