- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 12, 2005

The Washington Nationals are finalizing a radio deal with Clear Channel Communications that will make the team’s flagship station WTEM (AM-980), the former local outlet of the Baltimore Orioles.

The Nationals and Clear Channel have drafted a memorandum of understanding on a one-year pact that will make WTEM the baseball team’s primary home while giving the team extensive promotion on Clear Channel’s seven other Washington-area stations, according to industry sources. A formal announcement could arrive in a matter of days.

Similar to the Orioles’ previous deal with Clear Channel, the Nationals’ pact does not include an up-front rights fee and instead will call for a sharing of advertising revenues. That arrangement, at best, netted the Orioles a meager six-figure sum each year but should be considerably more lucrative for the Nationals given the strong likelihood of improved ratings.

Radio announcers for the Nationals have not been determined but will be chosen by team officials. Nationals and Clear Channel officials were not available for comment last night.

The future of the Orioles on Washington-area radio is uncertain. Clear Channel conceivably could place the Orioles on one of its other stations, but it’s more likely the Orioles will seek distribution with another station owner.

The Orioles, meanwhile, are still grappling with their own local broadcast issues as a deal for 2005 with their longtime Baltimore flagship, WBAL (AM-1090), has not been signed.

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