Urban One broadcasting, which for more than three decades has informed and entertained its audience by providing culturally relevant integrated content through radio, television and digital platforms, has agreed to purchase D.C.-area radio station The Team 980.
The sale, which is pending approval by the Federal Communications Commission, means that the African-American-owned Urban One will broadcast Washington Redskins games and the team’s pregame and postgame content. They will continue to broadcast on WMAL-FM (105.9) and 630 AM.
“This is a win-win deal,” said Terry Bateman, chairman of Red Zebra Broadcasting, which currently operates 980 ESPN and serves as the home of the play-by-play broadcasts for Maryland Terrapins basketball and football and University of Virginia football and basketball.
The station also broadcasts the NBA Finals, the NFL, NCAA football and the college football playoffs.
“We will continue to have a close partnership with this deal with Urban One and will work closely with them,” Bateman said.
Cathy Hughes, founder and chair of Urban One, did not immediately return emails and text messages left for her after the announcement Monday.
However, Urban One President and CEO Alfred Liggins III released a statement following the announcement.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for Urban One and we are especially pleased that through our acquisition, The Team 980 will continue to be locally owned,” Liggins said. “The acquisition of The Team 980 is very much in line with our strategy of super-serving our community of listeners. We have deep roots in the greater Washington, DC area and are well aware that ‘The Team 980′ has always been a fan favorite.
“Red Zebra has a track record of producing great programming that engages our hometown sports fans,” he said. “We look forward to working with the Washington Redskins organization to continue this tradition.”
The Silver Spring, Maryland-based Urban One has enjoyed a rich history in Baltimore and Washington and beyond. With the lucrative and very popular sports talk format, it’s anticipated that Urban One will leave programming untouched.
“I don’t see a change in the programming at all,” Bateman said.
The change in ownership may also finally provide a major platform for African-American sports talk hosts.
Red Zebra, which was founded by Redskins owner Daniel Snyder, expects to formally file paperwork with the FCC in the coming days. While the price of the transaction hasn’t been disclosed, it’s expected that will be revealed when the Asset Purchase Agreement is filed later this month.
“This is a joint effort between Radio One and Red Zebra Broadcasting to keep The Team 980 as the fans’ premier source for radio coverage of the Washington Redskins,” Bateman said.