WGN Radio president says keeping Cubs games ‘unsustainable’


In an interview this morning on the Steve Cochran Show, WGN President Jimmy de Castro spoke on the departure of the Chicago Cubs broadcasts at the conclusion of the 2014 season.

In all, it came down to money for the station, according to de Castro, who said the station would lose as much as $30 million – even if the team was winning. However, the team’s recent struggles which include almost 300 losses from 2011-2013, have caused ratings to fall and advertising revenue to decline.

The interview definitely placed the blame on the organization, with the WGN leadership that joined de Castro pointing out that several offers were made to the Cubs, but despite repeated negotiation sessions and offers, the two sides could not reach a deal. The broadcast team of Pat Hughes and Ron Coomer will make the transition to 780 WBBM as part of the deal.

De Castro admitted that the station elected not to match the CBS offer for carrying the broadcasts, adding that the Cubs wanted a cash payment in a deal.

In terms of the television broadcasts, de Castro and WGN leadership said they hope to work out a deal to keep the team on WGN TV, and remain “cautiously optimistic” an arrangement can be reached before the end of the current contract.

The exact details of the deal between CBS and the Cubs have not yet been made public. A news conference is scheduled for Thursday at Wrigley Field.