Though long-time Lake Erie Captains flagship WELW/1330 Willoughby will continue to air the Class A minor league baseball team's games, the team is getting a new flagship station in 2009.
The Captains have announced that Media One AC WREO/97.1 "Star 97.1" Ashtabula will become the new primary station on the Captains Radio Network, with "selected weekday day games" heard on Media One sister sports WFUN/970 "ESPN 970".
Quoting a press release the Captains sent directly to OMW:
“We are very excited about this new partnership and feel that our fans will benefit from the expanded signal coverage that Star will bring to us”, Captains VP and General Manager Brad Seymour explained. “We look forward to teaming with Media One Group and working toward building a long term partnership that will help grow our fan base and expand Media One’s visibility in our area.”
"The Lake County Captains are a class organization with a family friendly entertainment venue offering competitive minor league baseball for the past 6 years", Media One Group VP/GM Dana Schulte added. "Our new affiliation with the Captains will offer our Lake, Geauga, Cuyahoga and Ashtabula County listeners and the Captains continually growing fan base the opportunity to follow the Class A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians within a 100 mile radius."
As mentioned, the Captains will continue to be heard in 2009 on their original flagship, Spirit Media talk/variety WELW/1330 Willoughby...the Captains GM calls WELW "a very important part of our team", and note that the team looks "to continue our partnership for many years”.
We can't help it - we're drawn to the line about "expanding Media One's visibility" in the Lake County area, and about "Lake, Geauga, Cuyahoga" county listeners.
"Star 97.1"'s 50,000 watt signal reaches well into Lake County, and even into eastern Cuyahoga County.
Media One isn't the first Ashtabula-area operator to make an effort to serve listeners to the west. Music Express country WKKY/104.7 Geneva has been focusing on Lake County for ages.
And frankly, the state of Ashtabula County's economy makes expanding focus to the west almost imperative for stations there...