Local radio stations launch 'The ROAR,' will simulcast Detroit sports-talk programming

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Two local radio stations are getting into the sports-talk radio game.

Beasley Media Group-owned 93.5 and 99.1 FM have launched "The ROAR," unveiling syndicated but Detroit-centric programming that will air from 3 to 6 p.m. on weekdays. As part of the deal, the stations will simulcast programming from the previously all-digital network Woodward Sports Network, funded in large part by Lady Jane's founder Chad Johnson.

Two local radio stations, 93.5 and 99.1 FM, have entered the sports-talk radio game.

“I am beyond excited for our partnership with Beasley and 'The ROAR',” Johnson said in a statement. "The Woodward Sports Network personalities will bring a fresh, credible, and knowledgeable opinion that our city has been missing for quite some time. I am so happy that our network can provide Beasley a sports punch that Detroiters desperately seek.”

Airing from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. will be Woodward Sports Network's two signature shows — a show with former Lions running back Joique Bell and Red Wings legend Darren McCarty, and occasionally featuring former Detroit News columnist and 97.1 The Ticket host Terry Foster, hosted by Neal Ruhl; as well as a show featuring former Michigan receiver Braylon Edwards, hosted by Ryan Ermanni.

In the mornings, from 6 to 9, the stations will air "X's & BrO's" with Anthony Bellino, and in the afternoon from 3 to 6 they will air the west Michigan-based "Huge Show" with Bill Simonson. Both shows are part of the Michigan Sports Network.

National programming from SportsMap Radio, founded in 2020, will be simulcast overnights.

It wasn't immediately clear if the stations would air Woodward Sports Network's Lions game-day programs, which will launch later this month. Those pregame shows, which will be broadcast from Tin Roof near Ford Field, will feature Ermanni, Edwards, Tom Mazawey and others, and will be simulcast on WRIF 101.1-FM.

“There’s a new sports animal in the Motor City — 'The ROAR!'” Mac Edwards, Beasley Media Group's vice president and market manager, said in a statement. “We are absolutely thrilled to partner with Chad Johnson from Woodward Sports Network as well as Marty Booher at MSN and the crew at SportsMap Radio to deliver some of the most compelling sports content Motor City fans have ever experienced!”

"The ROAR" is billing this partnership as the first lick of competition for sports-talk powerhouse 97.1 The Ticket since Detroit Sports 105.1's four-year run ended in 2016, but it's really not. But it doesn't necessarily need to be, either. The syndication format is a much-cheaper business model than stocking a station with salaries of exclusive talent, so the margins are more tolerable.

Beasley Media, based in Florida, has more than 60 radio stations across the country.

The two in Metro Detroit switching to sports, 93.5 and 99.1, previously were outlets for the Detroit PRAISE Network, which now can be heard on 98.3 and 99.9 FM.

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Twitter: @tonypaul1984