Union, WPTR-AM agree on three-year deal

For many seasons, Union College’s radio deal for its men’s hockey and football programs with WPTR-AM

For many seasons, Union College’s radio deal for its men’s hockey and football programs with WPTR-AM (1240) was renewed on a year-by-year basis.

Winning the NCAA hockey title in April changed the dynamic of the relationship between the two parties, for the better.

On Monday, Union and Empire Broadcasting Corporation, which runs WPTR, announced a three-year deal to keep the hockey and football games on the CBS Sports Radio affiliate. It also renews the “Union College Hockey Coaches Corner” bi-weekly show from the Van Dyck Restaurant in Schenectady. The season’s first show will be Oct. 7.

The hockey games have been on Empire Broadcasting’s 1240 for six seasons, going back to when the station’s call letters were WVKZ. The football team has been with Empire Broadcasting a bit longer. Its games were mostly carried on 1160 AM, when WABY was located there.

Eric McDowell, Union’s assistant athletic director for sports information, said getting a multiyear deal was important to the school.

“We thought this would be advantageous for both parties because of their sponsorship and the sale opportunities, extensions, the consistency that we have,” McDowell said. “They put together a tremendous financial package for us so we could lock this up. We’ve worked on this every year. It’s going to help us for consistency for both parties on sponsorship and promotional, as well. I’d also like to thank [director of sales] Jim Millis and [account executive] Mike Souza for their efforts in this arrangement.”

Neerav Patel, chief operating officer of Empire Broadcasting, believes broadcasting Union athletics is beneficial for his station.

“It’s always important to have a long-term deal in place because you keep consistency across the board,” Patel said. “Union College athletics and their academics is tremendous. We want to be involved with companies, associations and schools that put a significant priority on that.”

Union winning the NCAA hockey title in April was a factor in the decision.

“If you compare it to any other sport, it makes complete sense,” Patel said. “It establishes much more credibility in our product.”

Matt DuBrey and Brian Unger return to call the hockey, while Frank Rossi is back on football.

The broadcasts will be streamed on www.sporty1240.-com.

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