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KFGO Radio drops Sioux football, hockey coverage

UND football and men's hockey will have to find a new radio home in the Fargo-Moorhead metropolitan area beginning next season.

RADIO Fargo-Moorhead told UND on Tuesday that Sioux football and hockey games no longer will be carried on KFGO-AM, the company's flagship station. Instead, KFGO will carry North Dakota State football and basketball.

The announcement came only hours after RADIO Fargo-Moorhead and North Dakota State agreed to a six-year contract that gives the Fargo-based company exclusive radio rights for NDSU athletic events through 2016.

RADIO Fargo-Moorhead's decision to terminate its contract with UND did not sit well with the Sioux athletic department, which has had a 17-year working relationship with the Fargo-based company. There were two years remaining on UND's contract with RADIO Fargo-Moorhead.

"This has been a long-standing, 17-year relationship that has benefitted both parties and to have it end in this manner is disappointing," UND athletic director Brian Faison said. "From our standpoint, the most unfortunate aspect is that we were never given the opportunity to negotiate in an effort to continue our relationship and were given only two hours advance notice on (Tuesday's) announcement."

No waiting around

Faison, however, said UND will act quickly to find a new Fargo-Moorhead radio home for Sioux football and hockey.

"We have some options and hopefully we can get everything done by the end of the week," Faison said. "We'll have our hockey and football games on the air in Fargo-Moorhead. And maybe we'll add a few new wrinkles on top of that."

UND officials would not identify what radio stations they were considering for a Sioux presence in Fargo. But the most logical choice would be WDAY-AM, the station that carried Bison games for 43 of the past 46 years.

NDSU's new six-year contract with RADIO Fargo-Moorhead officially ended the Bison association with WDAY -- owned by Forum Communications.

Joel Heitkamp, the KFGO operations director, said it was a business decision that produced the RADIO Fargo-Moorhead contract with NDSU, adding KFGO enjoyed its association with UND athletics for the past 17 years.

"As negotiations went on, North Dakota State wanted the deal to be exclusive," Heitkamp said. "They made it worth our while. It was a business decision.

"NDSU is the king of Fargo and we're a Fargo-based radio station."

Still Miller time

North Dakota State football and basketball games will continue to be called by Scott Miller, the longtime voice of the Bison. Miller, who called Bison games while working for WDAY the past 14 years, has been hired by RADIO Fargo-Moorhead.

Until UND and a Fargo radio station agree to a contract, it's uncertain who will call Sioux football games in 2010.

Dan Hammer, the KFGO sports director, has been the voice of the Sioux football for the past six seasons. He would like to continue in that role.

"I would love to remain the voice of Fighting Sioux football," Hammer said. "I think UND knows my intentions. I've enjoyed it every season. But it will be their decision and the decision of (UND's) radio partner. We'll see what happens."

RADIO Fargo-Moorhead's decision to terminate its contract with UND also affects the Sioux radio coaches' show, which airs weekly beginning in the fall.

The decision, however, has nothing to do with the radio personnel calling UND men's hockey games. Tim Hennessy, the longtime voice of the Sioux, will continue in that role on the Fargo-area station that agrees to carry UND games during the 2010-11 season.