ESPN 1000 takes Bears’ radio rights Wednesday; full day of programming planned

Bears games have aired on WBBM-AM (780) since 2000. The move gives ESPN 1000 a big opportunity to increase listenership after getting back into local rights with the White Sox in 2021.

SHARE ESPN 1000 takes Bears’ radio rights Wednesday; full day of programming planned
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ESPN 1000 officially takes ownership of the Bears’ radio rights Wednesday, and the station has a full day of programming planned.

“We’re coming out kicking and screaming and yelling from the rooftops, Hey, we’re the new home of the Chicago Bears,” ESPN 1000 director of content Danny Zederman said.

“Kap & J.Hood” will broadcast from 5 to 9 a.m. at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, where they’ll be joined by Bears general manager Ryan Poles at 7:30. “Bleck and Abdalla” will follow from 9 to 11, “Carmen and Jurko” from 11 to 2 p.m., “Waddle & Silvy” from 2 to 6 and Tyler Aki and Jeff Meller from 6 to 8. Each show will have Bears-related surprises.

Bears games have aired on WBBM-AM (780) since 2000. The move gives ESPN 1000 a big opportunity to increase listenership after getting back into local rights with the White Sox in 2021.

“We’re not looking at the Bears as only 17 regular-season games,” Zederman said. “We’re looking at the Bears as a product that we’re going to talk about and embrace for 365 days a year.”

The station will air a weekly Bears show and produce a Bears podcast. Other programming plans will be announced Wednesday. Zederman said ESPN 1000’s return to local rights stems from the desire to air live sports.

“When you look at the business of sports-talk radio, it’s evolving,” he said. “Most people are either listening on their phones, a lot of people listen to podcasts. You can listen to things on demand. Live sports you can’t.

“Most people want to listen to live sports in the moment. That’s why we really want to be where live sports are. It’s destination programming. With the White Sox and now the Bears, we have live sports covered almost 12 months a year.”

When the Sox and Bears inevitably play on the same day, the Sox will move to WGN, which carried the team from 2018 to ’20. If a Bears game conflicts with a Sox postseason game, the Bears will move to WGN, which carried the team from 1985 to ’96.

Remote patrol

The “CDGA Golf Show” will make its season debut at 9 a.m. Saturday on ESPN 1000 from the Chicago Golf Show at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont. The weekly show’s 30 remaining episodes will air at 8 a.m. Mike Gilligan, senior director of business development for the CDGA, replaces longtime host Barry Cronin, who retired.

NFL Network will begin live coverage of the NFL Scouting Combine at 2 p.m. next Thursday with defensive linemen and linebackers. Coverage continues at 2 p.m. Friday with defensive backs and special teams, noon Saturday with quarterbacks, wide receivers and tight ends and noon Sunday with offensive linemen and running backs.

WCIU-Channel 26.2 will broadcast the IHSA girls state basketball championships next Thursday through Saturday in Normal. Class 1A and 2A semifinals will begin at 10 a.m. Thursday, Class 3A and 4A at 10 a.m. Friday and the finals at 11 a.m. Saturday.

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