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The New York Jets Leaving ‘ESPN New York 98.7’ For iHeart’s ‘Q104.3’ WAXQ.

New York City classic rocker “Q104.3” WAXQ has secured an exclusive multi-year play-by-play rights deal for the New York Jets, iHeartMedia announced Wednesday morning. The move of the NFL franchise from its longtime home at “ESPN New York 98.7” WEPN-FM follows that station’s decision to end its LMA with Emmis for the 98.7 signal and distribute programming exclusively on AM radio and streaming.

“Q104.3” will carry all Jets games, along with pre-game, in-game, and post-game shows, over the air and on the iHeartRadio and New York Jets apps within the New York market.

“We are thrilled to partner with the New York Jets and their incredibly loyal and passionate fans,” Kevin LeGrett, President of iHeartSports said in a release. “The collaboration between our two organizations has already begun and we are excited to partner with them to bring their games, players, and programming to our millions of listeners across iHeart’s broadcast, podcast, and digital platforms.”

Additional promotion of the Jets on “Q104.3” will run across the iHeartMedia New York cluster, which includes “Z100” WHTZ, “Power 105.1” WWPR, talk WOR (710), AC “106.7 Lite FM” WLTW and rhythmic CHR WKTU (103.5).

Jets coverage will include weekly regular-season appearances, special programming from training camp, Jets and iHeartMedia editorial and video talent guest appearances, and a dedicated position on the iHeartRadio app for team-related content, including team-produced podcasts.

“Being a lifelong New York Jets fan, I couldn't be more thrilled to welcome the New York Jets programming to our station,” PD Eric Wellman remarked. “We're honored to be the home of such an iconic team, and we're committed to delivering top-notch coverage to Jets fans across the Tri-State area. This partnership represents an exciting chapter for both the station and the community, and we look forward to bringing the passion and excitement of Jets football to our listeners week after week."

New York Jets President Hymie Elhai added, “We are very excited about our new partnership with iHeartMedia, one of the largest media companies in the country. We look forward to welcoming the iconic Q104.3 as our new flagship home for gamedays while simultaneously unlocking the unique power and exposure iHeartMedia’s platforms can provide.”

As part of its agreement with the New York Jets, Knicks, and Rangers, Good Karma Brands, which operates WEPN-FM, was required to give notice to the teams’ owners that it would no longer be able to fulfill the FM distribution portion of its rights agreement for the games, starting Aug. 31, 2024.

In an interview, Emmis founder and CEO Jeff Smulyan told Inside Radio he had discussions with Good Karma Brands founder & CEO Craig Karmazin about buying the station but they were unsuccessful.

“We’ve had discussions, it really hasn't been productive and we're in discussions with other people,” Smulyan said last September. Smulyan confirmed that the asking price for WEPN-FM is $50 million and that the current lease rate is in the $12.5 million per year range.

The Jets making a classic rocker their new radio flagship is part of an enduring trend that began decades ago with the Kansas City Chiefs on KCFX. Today NFL teams are paired with classic rock outlets in numerous markets, including the Pittsburgh Steelers (iHeartMedia’s WDVE), Cleveland Browns (Audacy’s WNCX), the San Francisco 49ers (Cumulus Media’s “The Bone” KSAN), the Miami Dolphins (iHeart’s “Big 105.9” WBGG) and the Baltimore Ravens (Hearst's “98 Rock” WIYY).

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