It’s uncommon for a team from one of the Big 4 professional sports leagues to have an exclusive deal with a media company which isn’t sports-centered. That’s the situation the Detroit Pistons flagship radio station has opted for, however.
Detroit Pistons Flagship Radio Station Abandons Sports Talk
WMGC 105.1 FM, having just finished its second year as the official radio home of the Pistons, has diverted from the sports talk format that they clung to when the deal was struck. Last week, staff were given severance packages and music filled the air waves.
The station cited less than desired ratings and an inability to pilfer listeners away from its primary competitor, WXYT-FM 97.1, as the reasons for the format change. The format change may prove beneficial for WXYT as well.
WXYT was the Pistons’ flagship station before the team signed the deal with WMGC. WXYT is already the radio home of Major League Baseball’s Detroit Tigers and the National Hockey League’s Detroit Red Wings. Being part of a radio destination that many sports fans in Detroit already have their dials tuned to would make sense for the Pistons.
Conveniently, the format change activates a clause in the Pistons-WMGC contract that would allow the Pistons to opt out of the contract’s final guaranteed year. While Tony Paul of the Detroit News says that the Pistons have no immediate plans to change, longer-term plans may prove otherwise.
In order to keep the Pistons for 2016-17 and beyond, WMGC will have to sell the franchise on its new format, which involves a mixture of sports and entertainment features.
Ultimately, the decision will be the Pistons’ to make. It’s probable that WXYT would welcome them back if the Pistons decide that it’s in their best interest to put themselves on a sports-niche platform. If the Pistons determine that appealing to a broader market is the route to go, however, they may stand pat.