Buffaloes to Remain on Regional Sports Giant’s Local Stations Through 2022-23

BOULDER — The University of Colorado Athletic Department has agreed to a three-year extension of its broadcast partnership with iHeartMedia Denver radio stations, continuing the Buffalo football and basketball programs’ longstanding relationship with one of the premier sports conglomerates in the nation through the 2022-23 athletic year, CU athletic director Rick George announced Wednesday.

CU’s exclusive multimedia rights holder, Learfield IMG College, has signed a new deal with iHeartMedia Denver after reviewing bids from several interested parties.  A four-year extension signed between the two in November 2015 expired this spring.

KOA (NewsRadio 850 AM, 94.1 FM, the Voice of Colorado) has been the home to Colorado football for all but three years dating back to 1940, with the station originating men’s basketball broadcasts ahead of the 1973-74 season and women’s games for the 1985-86 season.  When schools and teams started naming a flagship station (one originator), the CU Football Network was born when KOA earned that contract in 1973 (with an exception made for Boulder’s KBOL-Radio to continue broadcasting for another dozen years).

CU football and men’s basketball broadcasts will continue to be heard on KOA, while women’s basketball contests will continue to be heard on KHOW (Talk Radio 630 AM).  Seasonal weekly coaches’ shows will continue to be carried on KOA, featuring head football coach Karl Dorrell; head men’s basketball coach Tad Boyle and head women’s basketball coach JR Payne.  KOA will bring CU fans comprehensive coverage for all Buffs sports through full promotional support that will also be provided on KOA’s sister stations, including KRFX “The Fox” (103.5 FM), KBPI (107.9 FM) and KBCO (97.3 FM).  If there is a conflict on KOA with Denver Broncos or Colorado Rockies games, CU broadcasts will now shift to KHOW instead of AM 760 as has been the case in the past.

“We’ve long considered KOA to be our radio home, and I am excited that we are able to extend our relationship for the next three years,” said George.  “A lot of our tradition and greatest memories have been broadcast over the KOA airwaves – all of our conference titles over the last 80 years, our national championship, the Miracle in Michigan and memorable games like the 62-36 win over Nebraska and our run to the Pac-12 South Division title four years ago.  The partnership has served both of us very well.”

“I am thrilled that the University of Colorado and iHeartMedia are continuing our long-term partnership,” said Brenda Egger, Region President of iHeartMedia Denver. “With the tremendous reach of KOA NewsRadio 850 AM and 94.1 FM and the passion of the CU fans, it’s a perfect match and has been for 77 years. We look forward to working with the University for many years to come.”

            Through the years, KOA has coordinated a combined 156 seasons of football (77 years), men’s (44) and women’s (35) basketball broadcasts.  CU’s radio personalities:

  • Mark Johnson, now CU’s director of audio broadcasting, will enter his 17th year as the play-by-play voice for football and men’s basketball.  He has occupied that role since 2004, taking over from the longtime voice of the Buffaloes, Larry Zimmer; Zimmer was the voice of the program for 42 years; Johnson is now the third-longest broadcaster in school history, behind only Zimmer and Jim Kithcart, who handled football and basketball broadcasts on Boulder’s KBOL for 19 seasons (1965-84).  Among his many duties in the athletic department, Johnson also hosts the Buffalo Stampede and the Buffs Insider Podcast on CUBuffs.com.
  • Gary Barnett, the former CU head coach (1999-2005) will be in his fifth year handling the color commentary and analyst duties on football broadcasts.
  • CU’s 2001 Big 12 champion quarterback Bobby Pesavento and Altitude’s Andy Lindahl will continue to share football sideline reporter duties.
  • Former CU center Scott Wilke will be entering his eighth year of handling the color analyst chores for the men’s basketball team.
  • Cory Lopez will be entering his seventh season handling the play-by-play for the CU women’s basketball team.
  • Carol Callan, the U.S. Women’s National Team Director, has been the main analyst for CU women’s basketball games since the 1985-86 season, the program’s inaugural year on local radio.

Buffalo Sports Properties (BSP) is the locally based Learfield IMG College team that manages all broadcast operations and corporate partnerships for CU as part of the overall multimedia rights relationship between the company and the athletic department.

iHeartMedia is a leading media outlet in the Denver market with multiple platforms including its broadcast stations; podcasts; live events; data; and its digital businesses and platforms including mobile, social and its own iHeartRadio, iHeartMedia’s free all-in-one digital music, podcasting and live streaming radio service – with more than 2 billion app downloads and more than 135 million registered users.


iHeartMedia owns and operates KOA, KDFD, KHOW, KBCO, KBPI, KPTT, KRFX, KTCL, KWBL, The Denver Broncos Radio Network and The Colorado Rockies Radio Network and is part of iHeartMedia. iHeartMedia (NASDAQ: IHRT) is the number one audio company in the United States, reaching nine out of 10 Americans every month – and with its quarter of a billion monthly listeners, has a greater reach than any other media company in the U.S. The company’s leadership position in audio extends across multiple platforms, including more than 850 live broadcast stations in over 150 markets; digital radio via its iHeartRadio digital service available across more than 250 platforms and 2,000 devices; through its on-air influencers; social; branded iconic live music events; and podcasts as the #1 commercial podcast publisher. iHeartMedia also leads the audio industry in analytics, targeting and attribution for its marketing partners with its SmartAudio product, using data from its massive consumer base. Visit iHeartMedia.com for more company information.


The University of Colorado, located at the foot of the Rocky Mountains in Boulder, began intercollegiate competition in the spring of 1890; 130 years later the school sponsors 17 varsity programs on the Division I NCAA level and in the Pac-12 Conference.  The men compete in basketball, cross country, football, golf, skiing and track & field; the women in basketball, cross country, golf, lacrosse, skiing, soccer, tennis, track & field and volleyball.  Known as the Buffaloes since 1934, the school has won 29 national championships (20 in skiing, five in men’s cross country, three in women’s cross country and one in football), 203 conference titles and has had 144 NCAA individual champions.