Aiming to expand its sports brand beyond TV, NBC is returning to its roots in radio.
Peacock has created the NBC Sports Radio Network, to launch in September. NBC will team with content syndicator Dial Global.
Rival ESPN has long had a successful national radio franchise, with affiliates all over the country, and NBC sees reaching listeners in their cars — as well as on streaming services on various websites and other digital platforms — as a vital component of conglom growth.
Sports have been a savior for NBC, which has struggled in primetime: If not for the highly successful “Sunday Night Football” franchise that airs during the NFL season, the net would be in even greater trouble.
Peacock is looking for big returns from the London Olympics, which begin next month.
The September radio start would coincide with the beginning of the pro and college football seasons, and NBC is hoping to use pigskin passion to help build a radio fanbase.
NBC Sports Radio Network is planning on a slow rollout come September. It will initially air from 7-10 p.m., eventually adding 10 p.m.-1 a.m. There was no word if the radio network would ever become a 24/7 entity.
Content will include hourly sports news updates, daily features as well as full-length shows. As of now, no games or live events are set to air on radio, but that may change.
Talent for sports talk programs and other shows will come from local radio affiliates and from NBC Sports’ TV roster.
With the deal finalized only a week ago, no affiliates have come aboard yet.
“We are thrilled to bring the rich heritage of NBC Sports to listeners across national radio for the first time,” said NBC Sports chairman Mark Lazarus. “By adding radio to our broadcast, cable, regional and digital assets, the NBC Sports Radio Network will give sports fans a new way to interact with the NBC Sports Group day in and day out.”
Dial Global provides content to 8,500 radio stations with 200 sports and entertainment programs. Among the high-profile events in its portfolio are the Olympics and NCAA basketball tournament.