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White Sox, Bulls moving to WLS-AM

Starting in the 2016 season, WLS-AM will be the home for both the White Sox and Bulls.

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The White Sox and Bulls today have announced that both teams will be moving their radio broadcasts to WLS-AM.  The White Sox will move to WLS starting spring 2016 and the Bulls will move to WLS in the fall of 2016.  The five year deals include the games, pre and post game shows, weekly shows like White Sox Weekly, and some spring training and pre-season games.

The rumors that the White Sox were moving to WLS had been known for quite a while, but the Bulls news is new.  The holdup in the White Sox announcement could have been the Bulls rights. It seems likely that Jerry Reinsdorf was shopping the rights for both as a package deal.  With WKQX, WLS-FM, and WLUP as sister stations, expect some additional promotional opportunities for those stations as well.

This is new territory for WLS-AM.  Play-by-play sports didn't really fit with their top 40 format during the 60s to 80s or when they switched to political talk in the 90s. This is the first time WLS will originate PBP programming since they ran the Fighting Illini. Currently, they do carry Notre Dame football through Westwood One.

This also signals some change for WLS-AM.  As a talk station, nights and weekends are typically the dead time having Bulls and White Sox broadcasts essentially year-round will fill a lot of that dead air with content that will pull listeners from other stations. Also, with the Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage, and Mark Levin shows on their station, they are essentially a conservative talk radio station. The evening Savage and Levin shows will be regularly pre-empted by Sox and Bulls games, so might indicate some moves for those shows to include more sports programming to help keep listeners when the games aren't on.

This move also puts the White Sox on the same radio station with Steve Dahl.  Steve Dahl was part of the Steve and Gary Show on WLUP that helped put together the now infamous Disco Demolition Night.