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Ed Schultz wants to return to Bison broadcast booth

Fargo's foremost sportscaster turned pundit wants to return to the press box.

Ed Schultz, the liberal political talk-show host, is eyeing the job he held for 13 years before he made the jump from WDAY television to radio in 1996: calling North Dakota State University football games.

"Would I do the Bison? You're damn right I would. Absolutely I would," said Schultz on his nationally syndicated radio show on Wednesday, the day the show began airing live locally on KQLX 106.1 FM.

If he does mount a return to the Bison booth, it won't happen immediately.

The lineup of football announcers - Scott Miller of WDAY 970 AM and former NDSU defensive lineman Phil Hansen - will not change in 2009-2010, said Jeremy Jorgenson, director of sales and broadcasting for the NDSU athletic department.

"We're set in stone for next year," said Jorgenson, who also reports from the sideline during Bison football broadcasts.

Schultz said Thursday he plans to back a bid for the rights to Bison broadcasts, a contract that's long been held by WDAY and that expires after next year's basketball season.

"Obviously, I'm thinking long-term. The Ed Schultz brand isn't leaving Fargo," he said.

Schultz said he could either make an offer through his broadcasting company or KQLX, an NDSU affiliate that airs Bison games, could join in the bidding.

"There's a number of different ways we could go," he said.

Jorgenson said negotiations for Bison broadcast rights won't start until fall.

Kevin Weaver, general manager of WDAY radio, was out of the office Thursday. Mark Prather, general manager of both WDAY radio and television, didn't return a message seeking comment. WDAY, like The Forum, is owned by Forum Communications Co.

Joel Heitkamp, operations manager for KFGO 790 AM, said he wasn't sure if KFGO - which broadcasts University of North Dakota games - will put in a bid for the Bison package.

Despite his daily three-hour radio program and his daily 60-minute show on MSNBC, Schultz said he could fit Bison football into his schedule.

"Not a problem at all. Airplanes go 500 mph," said Schultz, who until late March also hosted a local show for KFGO - where his national show had aired on delay in the evening until it moved to KQLX.

Schultz said his radio and TV shows would give the Bison a national footprint no local announcer could offer. But even if he doesn't land the contract, he said throwing his hat in the ring is good for NDSU.

"If nothing else, I'm going to drive up the price," he said.

Schultz brought up the possibility of a return on Wednesday by noting that KQLX airs Bison games. It will continue as an affiliate even though the signal of the station, which is licensed to Lisbon, N.D., was boosted last year and can be heard easily in Fargo.

Jake Weber, general manager of KQLX, admitted having two broadcasts of Bison games on the air in Fargo is "totally weird," but Jorgenson said KQLX helps bolster the network of Bison broadcasters in southeast North Dakota.

"We don't see a conflict in the metro," Jorgenson said.