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Great Plains, WDAY stand by NDSU radio proposals

FARGO -- North Dakota State's decision on Thursday to enter into negotiations with Radio Fargo Moorhead for the athletic department's radio rights has the other two media entities questioning the bid process.

RFM, Great Plains Integrated Marketing and Forum Communications all submitted proposals in October based on conditions specified by the university. NDSU picked Radio Fargo Moorhead as the first to get a shot at the three-year contract that begins next school year.

All three bids were open for all to see once the deadline passed, and Great Plains President Scott Hennen said Friday his interpretation was his group had the best financial and promotional package. He put the Radio Fargo Moorhead bid at No. 3 in the race.

"Unless the rules of the game changed along the way," Hennen said. "I need to know more about the process and the criteria that we were told. We'll reserve final judgment until we take a look at the criteria."

Forum Communications has held the bid for 43 of the past 46 years. WDAY Radio General Manager Kevin Weaver called Forum Communication's proposal more attractive than the one submitted by Radio Fargo Moorhead and said "anybody would see it that way. Obviously, somebody at NDSU doesn't want to do business with us and it's frustrating."

Weaver said he rated Forum Communications as having the best bid, Great Plains second and Radio Fargo Moorhead third.

"I'm disappointed after doing a first-class broadcast for them for nearly 50 years," he said. "Not only doing the broadcast, but an excellent job promoting other sports with radio, TV and the newspaper."

Forum Communications owns The Forum newspaper and WDAY television.

RFM said it would put NDSU on its 740-AM The Fan station. The company also has a contract with the University of North Dakota to broadcast football and hockey on its KFGO 790-AM station.

But UND athletic director Brian Faison said he has no concerns if NDSU goes to The Fan.

"We have a contract and a good working relationship," Faison said.

Similarly, Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks Chief Executive Officer Brad Thom said he has no problem if RFM puts NDSU athletics on The Fan. The minor league baseball team signed a three-year contract with RFM last week to broadcast RedHawks games on 740-AM, a deal where Thom said "It's fun to be the flagship, where there is a station that revolves around us so to speak."

That probably wouldn't be the case if NDSU comes on board, although Thom said Friday the biggest problem in recent years was WDAY pre-empting RedHawks broadcasts in favor of Bison football games.

The play-by-play voice of RedHawks games, Scott Miller, is also the voice of the Bison and if there was a conflict, Thom said an agreement called for Miller to go with football.

"And that happens at least once or twice a year," he said. "Then he was so busy with the Bison during the winter and spring that anytime he would take a vacation would be during the RedHawks season - things like that."

Thom said he received an e-mail from Radio Fargo Moorhead after the Bison contract was announced saying in part "be assured we're 100 percent behind the RedHawks."