The Michigan Football season gets underway in a month and they still don't have a local radio home.
The rumors are that Michigan will either resign with CBS radio or go to Clear Channel. Either way works fine, but neither is the best decision for Michigan Athletics.
Because of the late date, I think the best plan for Michigan is to sign a football only deal with an FM signal in Detroit that gives them exclusive coverage in the Detroit Market. If I was Michigan I would sign with Greater Media and get on WRIF or WCSX. They are both great radio stations that would take good care of the Michigan Football brand, without the baggage of other local stations.
After the football contract was complete I would immediately begin work bringing the basketball and hockey deals in house. This plan can also include other sports as necessary. It enables the University to begin controlling their own distribution, which is the way it is going....very soon. A 24 hour Internet radio station, "M GO BLUE.COM" should launch soon thereafter and be free to the end user...the fans. The web station can provide instant Michigan content, through an Iphone or android app, to every Michigan fan's cell phone around the world. Michigan Athletics would be available far and wide and all it would take to put it on every Michigan fans car radio is a headphone plug. Athletic Departments no longer need traditional partners. Michigan could then barter the "traditional" broadcasts to any radio partner it chose, free of cost. ALL MICHIGAN CONTENT SHOULD GO THROUGH "M GO BLUE.COM."
Michigan would still have the ability to distribute its content to network affiliates through M GO BLUE.COM.
Hire a sales team for digital media. I can think of a bunch of guys who have sold Michigan football who could put the revenue on the books immediately. The bulk of the ad revenue for Michigan Football is institutional anyway, the money goes with Michigan Athletics anywhere, no matter where it is distributed, why not cut out the middleman and distribute content across the web, satellite radio and terrestrial radio. This also gives Michigan the opportunity to promote its advertising partners in stadium, on the web and on the grounds. Michigan and its advertisers could own Ann Arbor on game day without needing any radio partners....talk about a "clean environment."
The Michigan brand stands alone, they simply need to leverage the power of Michigan across the many ditribution platforms, it is ahead of its time, but Michigan is one of the athletic powers that can pull it off.
Michigan already knows this, but are likely afraid to pull the trigger because they would be the first. It is time for Michigan to control its own media destiny. Michigan is about innovation and this plan would be ground breaking.