Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Mid-Atlantic Sports Network has reached a multiyear agreement with Dan Snyder’s Red Zebra Broadcasting to air live simulcasts of “The John Riggins Show,” a spokesman for the cable network said yesterday.

MASN will begin broadcasting the show in February and could simulcast other Red Zebra shows in the future.

Riggins’ program, a sports talk show with the former Redskins running back as host, airs weekdays between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Triple X ESPN Radio, Red Zebra’s flagship radio network.

Terms of the simulcasting deal were not disclosed. Red Zebra was founded in July by Snyder, the Redskins’ owner, and has broadcast all the team’s games this year.

“We are very excited about teaming up with MASN,” Red Zebra CEO Bennett Zier said. “This is a wonderful opportunity for listeners and viewers, as well as for these two new companies to grow their business.”

The simulcasts of the Riggins show on MASN give Red Zebra additional reach as the company seeks ways to expand the coverage of Triple X ESPN. Currently, the station can be heard on AM-730, FM-92.7 and FM-94.3, none of which can be heard clearly throughout the area. Triple X also can be heard on AM-950 in Richmond, and Snyder is finalizing a deal to buy WGMS-FM, the area’s only classical music station, with plans to add it to the Triple X ESPN radio network.

The simulcasting deal also boosts the programming lineup for MASN, which was formed in 2004 as part of an agreement allowing the Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals to share a broadcast territory.

MASN began rolling out other programming besides baseball last summer, establishing itself as the official network of the Baltimore Ravens and Georgetown basketball and showing local college sports and simulcasts of “The Anita Marks Show,” heard on WJFK-AM in Baltimore. The addition of Riggins also could also help fend off criticism by some viewers that the network’s programming favors the Baltimore sports market.

“MASN is sensitive to that and has tried from day one to show strong, compelling programming from Baltimore and Washington,” network spokesman Todd Webster said. “We are continuing to work to find that balance.”

The Orioles have a majority ownership stake in MASN but pay the Nationals a yearly rights fee to broadcast their games. MASN has telecast Nationals games since 2005 and will add telecasts of Orioles games next season.

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