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KTRS to air Cardinals games

Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt (l) hands a Cardinals jersey to KTRS president Tim Dorsey (r) on Thursday. (UPI photo/Bill Greenblatt)

By Kevin Lavery, KWMU

St. Louis, MO. –

A St. Louis institution is changing hands. The Cardinals announced Thursday that KTRS-AM will become their new flagship station at the start of next season.

The deal ends the team's 52-year partnership with KMOX. The team will also partner with a small FM station in Litchfield, Illinois to simulcast games to parts of the Metro East where KTRS' signal is weak.

"Our commitment is that fans throughout the Midwest --in the traditional Cardinal Radio Network territory - that they will be able to listen to the games free of charge," said Cardinals president Mark Lamping on Thursday.

KTRS President Tim Dorsey admits change may be hard for the fans.

"We're going to cover Cardinal baseball like Cardinal baseball has not been covered before. Our first loyalty is to the fans. We are going to earn their trust, and I promise the fans of St. Louis, you're going to like what you hear," Dorsey said.

The eight-year deal also gives the Cardinals a 50% ownership stake in KTRS.

KMOX officials said in a statement they are disappointed but they weren't going to pay higher premiums for what is now just one of a number of ways to catch a game.


Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt also tried to dispel rumors that buying the radio station makes the team a better candidate to be sold.

DeWitt notes other investments that the team's owners and he have made, including a new stadium and updated spring training facilities.

"If we were looking to sell the team, we'd have been far better off not making any of those investments," DeWitt said Thursday.

"These are long-term investments; the returns will come long-term, not today or tomorrow. I have no interest, our partners have no interest in selling this franchise."

KWMU's Tom Weber also prepared a report for NPR's program 'Day to Day.' That program doesn't air in St. Louis, but to hear it, click here.

Highlights of KTRS/Cardinals deal

- Cardinals will own 50% of KTRS. - KTRS studios will be moved from West Port Plaza to the yet-to-be built Ballpark Village next to the new Busch Stadium.

- KTRS promises more of the Cardinals, including broadcasts of more spring training games and keeping post-game coverage of night games until midnight, and even longer on the weekends.

- WSMI-FM in Litchfield, Ill. immediately becomes an affiliate to carry games and enhance coverage in areas of the Metro-East where the KTRS signal is weak.

- Cardinals will partially subsidize a deal with XM Satellite Radio to allow fans to buy a "Cardinals fans only" subscription to satellite radio.

- KTRS will become the second radio station in the country to hold the broadcast rights to all three professional teams in a three-sport city.


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