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Gopher football to remain on KROC

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The University of Minnesota announced major changes on Wednesday for its radio broadcast rights, but none of them will have a bearing on Gophers coverage in Rochester.

In the Twin Cities market, starting with the 2011-2012 season, Gophers football will air on Clear Channel's KFAN-AM (1140) and KTLK-FM (100.3) while Gopher men's and women's basketball and men's hockey will air on Hubbard Broadcasting and 1500 ESPN Radio (1500-AM).

In Rochester, those games will remain on KROC-AM (1340), as they have for decades.

"Nothing is going to change here, including football,'' said Brent Ackerman, the operations manager for Rochester's five Cumulus radio stations, including KROC. "The Twin Cities market is totally different.''

The new deals bring an end to the Gophers’ play-by-play broadcast relationship with WCCO-AM (830)  as the radio home for football, men’s and women’s basketball, and men’s hockey.

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While the University of Minnesota and athletic director Joel Maturi worked out a separate deal with KFAN football and 1500 ESPN Radio (basketball and hockey), those rights on the 40-affiliate Golden Gopher Radio Network are distributed  through Learfield Sports.

"We've had a solid relationship with Learfield Sports over the years,'' Ackerman said, "and that hasn't changed. "Back in the '50s and 60s, Bernie Lusk used to do Gopher football games, and that was a time when any station in the state could send their announcers to call the games.

"Obviously, that has changed over the years but still, we've had Gopher football on the air for years and years and will continue to do so.''

In a statement, Maturi said, ""we evaluated all of our broadcast options based upon many factors, including financial commitment, marketing support, listener demographics, and ancillary programming, and we believe these partnerships represent the best overall platforms for Gophers sports on radio."

Recently, WCCO lost the Minnesota Twins to 1500 ESPN Radio.

Locally, all-sports station KWEB has rights to the Minnesota Vikings while KROC and KOLM (another Cumulus station) has Gophers sports along with the Minnesota Wild and Timberwolves.

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