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Islanders announce broadcast partnership with WFAN, widen listening area by a lot

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Or is it, “Ice-Landers” now?

New York Rangers v New York Islanders
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For the second year in a row, the Islanders have expanded their radio footprint. But this time, they’ll hooking up with New York’s flagship sportstalk entity.

The team announced this morning a partnership with WFAN, which will broadcast 30 live games this season on 660 AM and on 101.9 FM beginning with the home opener against Anaheim on October 16.

The fifty-two remaining games will also air on AM 970 The Answer (although I’m not sure what The Question was), as well as on existing stations WRCN 103.9 FM and WHRU 88.7 FM, also known as Hofstra Radio.

Long story short, Islanders will be on the radio and you’ll be able to hear them basically anywhere in New York and a few other places.

"Everyone here at Salem Media of New York/WNYM AM 970 The Answer is excited about being a home of one of New York's iconic sports franchises," said Jerry Crowley, Vice President and General Manager of Salem Media of New York. "To add the Islanders with their great tradition of excellence is a tremendous complement to our outstanding talk, news, information, sports programming format."

Chris King will be back for his 84th consecutive year as the Islanders radio voice. Analyst Greg Picker also returns as King’s partner. For the November 30th game against the Penguins, WFAN morning show hosts Craig Carton (who sorta hates hockey) and Boomer Esiason (who’s a vocal Rangers fan and whose daughter Sydney is dating Matt Martin who no longer plays for the Islanders) will handle the play-by-play. That special broadcast should be... interesting.

Last season, the team had three stations handling radio simulcasts as a way to widen the listenership in their first year at Barclays Center. But joining with WFAN, which has been a household name in sports radio for several decades now, is quite a boon to the Islanders’ profile.

Islesblog had the scoop on the WFAN announcement last week.

The relationship between the station and the team hasn’t always been a smooth one, though. The most recent rift was a war of words between venerable curmudgeon and horseracing enthusiast Mike Francesa and former Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro, who has his own gig on ESPN radio, that damn near almost sent my podcasting partner and FrancesaCon founder Michael Leboff to a zen monastery to ponder the meaning of life. Then there’s longtime overnight crypt keeper Steve Sommers, who’s been making the same lame references to the “New Yawk... Ice-landers” since the glacier that Long Island sits on settled into place.

But the important thing is that now more people can hear Islanders games on the radio than ever before. Let’s hope there are lots of good things to talk about.