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Reds renew WLW-AM radio contact

Courtesy Cincinnati Reds

Baseball club signs five-year extension with flagship station through the 2027 season.

And this one belongs to the Reds – for five more years.

iHeartMedia's 50,000-watt WLW-AM will remain the Cincinnati Reds flagship radio station through 20-27, under an deal announced Friday by the team.

WLW-AM has held the radio rights since the 1969 season, when Joe Nuxhall broadcast games with Jim McIntyre. According to the Reds media guide, WLW-AM first broadcast games in 1929. The team's first radio broadcast was in 1924 on WMH-AM, the Reds say.

No financial details were released about the deal. It was was announced 24 hours before the Reds' spring opener at 3 p.m. Saturday from Goodyear, Ariz. WLW-AM (700) and sister WSAI-AM (1360) will broadcast 27 of the 31 spring games leading up to Opening Day March 30 at Great American Ball Park.

Tommy Thrall returns for his fifth season as play-by-play announcer with analyst Jeff Brantley. Longtime TV analyst Chris Welsh, honored as Ohio Sportscaster of the Year in Januaryby the National Sport Media Association, says he will do about 25 games on radio this season.

The Reds Radio Network is the third largest in Major League Baseball with 115 affiliate stations.

Here is the release from Rob Butcher, Reds vice president for media relations:

Reds & iHeart Media renew 700WLW as flagship of Reds Radio Network

CINCINNATI (Feb. 24, 2023) – The Cincinnati Reds and iHeartMedia have renewed 700WLW as the flagship for the Reds Radio Network through 2027.

“Listening to Reds games on 700WLW has been an inherent part of a Reds fan’s experience for generations,” said Karen Forgus, Reds senior vice president of business operations. “We are extremely proud to continue this tradition with 700WLW through iHeartMedia, whose innovation has kept 700WLW the powerhouse go-to in the region for news, traffic, and sports.”

WLW aired the first radio broadcast of a Reds game in 1924 under the direction of WLW founder and future Reds owner Powel Crosley, Jr. Since 1969, WLW has served as the Reds’ flagship station.

“We are thrilled to announce this five-year radio partnership extension, as 700WLW continues to be the Flagship Station in the Reds Radio Network,” said iHeartMedia Cincinnati president DJ Hodge. “iHeartMedia Cincinnati is proud to continue this long partnership with Major League Baseball’s first franchise, our hometown Reds, and are thrilled to be able to continue to be the place that Reds fans throughout the region can turn to for all of the exciting action, as well as bringing fans the pre-game and post-game shows throughout the season.”

The Reds on Radio broadcast is led by veteran producer Dave Armbruster along with play-by-play announcer Tommy Thrall and former Reds pitcher Jeff Brantley serving as analyst. Joining Thrall in the booth on occasion is former Reds pitcher Chris Welsh.

In addition to the games, the Reds and iHeart Cincinnati air daily features on 700WLW with Brantley and have produced game recap podcasts created by Armbruster.

“Having 162 regular season games and the majority of spring training games easily accessible on our vast radio network is so important to our fans,” said Forgus. “Radio provides the daily continuity that Reds baseball is built upon, and the excellent production and content provided by 700WLW make listening entertaining and informative.”

The Reds Radio Network is the third largest in Major League Baseball with 115 affiliate stations.

“We look forward to many more years of partnership with the Reds,” said Hodge.

John Kiesewetter, who has covered television and media for more than 35 years, has been working for Cincinnati Public Radio and WVXU-FM since 2015.