Husker sports broadcasts will be changing homes on the radio dial in Omaha, ending a long partnership with KFAB-AM (1110).
IMG, the Huskers' multimedia partner, reached a five-year agreement with Journal Broadcast Group, shifting broadcasts to KXSP-AM (590) beginning this summer.
Omaha's AM 590 has been carrying Iowa Hawkeye broadcasts of football and men's basketball.
The change does not affect Lincoln's Husker Sports Network affiliates, with KLIN-AM (1400) still broadcasting games and "Sports Nightly," the network's three-hour evening talk show.
IMG's contract with KLIN was recently extended through June 2020. KLIN, along with KBBK-FM (107.3) and KFGE-FM (98.1), combine to broadcast all Husker football, men's basketball, baseball, volleyball and women's basketball games.
Regarding the change in Omaha stations, Dave Witty, Nebraska's senior associate athletic director for marketing and communications, expressed in a statement the primary objective was "to maximize the number of athletics events available to our fans" while "ensuring the broadest broadcast signal coverage, and achieving great exposure for all Husker sports."
Witty pointed out that the new setup will now allow for coverage of the full Husker baseball schedule in Omaha. KFAB aired only selected games and did not offer all hours of "Sports Nightly."
"We know that Husker fans will appreciate the opportunity to hear all three hours of 'Sports Nightly' programming in Omaha and surrounding areas, which provides additional exposure for our Olympic sports as well as an abundance of programming outside of Huskers football," he said. "Our university’s teams, student-athletes, fans, and corporate supporters will all benefit.”
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Games in all sports will air on AM 590, with games shifting to KKCD-FM (105.9) when necessary. Omaha station KEZO-FM (92.3) will also carry football games.
The change in affiliates will not alter the lineup of Husker Sports Network broadcasters.
Mark Halverson, VP/GM Journal Broadcast Group Omaha Radio, said those at his stations "are honored and excited to become a partner with IMG and the University of Nebraska."
It's a significant shift considering how long Husker sports broadcasts have been associated with KFAB, which has been on the air for 90 years.
While the station also lost the rights to broadcasts from 1996-2000, when KKAR-AM (1290) obtained them, KFAB first began broadcasting Husker football games in 1926.
“The Husker Sports Network picks who is going to be the local affiliate," KFAB program director Gary Sadlemyer said on the station's Chris Baker Radio Show. "It has been us up until this time, and this time they made a different decision. It’s really that simple.”
While expressing his disappointment, Sadlemyer said on Baker's show he felt good about what KFAB has done and the bid it put on the table.
"It’s business," he said. "That’s what it comes down to anymore in so many cases. We would love to always have Husker play-by-play, but whether we do or not, we’re always going to cover the Huskers."