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Radio Fargo Moorhead gets first chance at landing Bison athletics rights

FARGO -- Radio Fargo Moorhead is getting the first shot at the radio rights for North Dakota State athletics. The school said Thursday it will enter into negotiations with RFM for the three-year contract.

RFM got the nod over Great Plains Integrated Marketing, which operates 1100-AM, and Forum Communications, which has held the rights for 43 of the past 46 years on its WDAY-AM station. RFM would put the Bison primarily on its 740-AM The Fan station.

"They have a lot to offer that we want to explore," said Jeremy Jorgenson, NDSU's director of broadcasting. "They have a lot of high-rated stations with great coverages. We want to take a look."

RFM's stations include KFGO-AM, which has the University of North Dakota football and hockey rights as well as professional teams the Minnesota Vikings and Minnesota Twins. Jorgenson said the UND contract will be part of the talks with NDSU.

"That's what we have to sort through and work out," said Joel Heitkamp, operations manager for KFGO and The Fan. "We've made a commitment to UND and we feel we can make a commitment to NDSU."

He said no timetable has been set to finalize the contract. The school entered into negotiations with KFGO the last time the bid was up for grabs three years ago, but talks fell through and the bid eventually went to Forum Communications.

All three companies submitted bids in December. Great Plains Marketing proposed the cheapest air time charges, but Jorgenson said that is just one piece of the puzzle.

"There are so many different and other factors that we're looking at," Jorgenson said. "There is coverage and ratings and sponsorship packages. It's not just money."

It's also unclear who the broadcast talent would be. Scott Miller has been the voice of the Bison for several years, teaming with Phil Hansen in the booth for football games. Dan Hammer is the sports director at The Fan.

"I love the job Dan Hammer does and I love the job Scott Miller does," Heitkamp said. "And I consider Phil Hansen a friend. For me, that's all up to NDSU. NDSU has to make that decision based upon that."

WDAY Radio General Manager Kevin Weaver could not immediately be reached for comment.