Since the days of Dwight Evans, Fred Lynn and Jim Rice patrolling the outfield at Fenway Park, baseball fans in western Maine have been able to tune into WOXO to hear the radio call of Boston Red Sox games.

To follow Carl Crawford, Jacoby Ellsbury and Cody Ross in 2012, they will have to tune elsewhere.

For the first time since 1977, WOXO-FM will not carry Red Sox radio broadcasts. According to WOXO owner Dick Gleason, the Norway/Mexico station lost its bid to carry the games to WJJB-FM, a Portland station which he said demanded the Red Sox flaghsip station, WEEI in Boston, give them exclusive FM rights in western Maine.

“Of course, it’s a loss of business for us, but more importantly, it’s a loss of a tradition,” Gleason said. “This has been going on for many, many years.”

Prior to WOXO, fans in the Oxford Hills area could hear the games on WKTQ-AM in South Paris, dating back to 1955. Gleason acquired the rights to Red Sox games after buying WKTQ in the fall of 1976 and moved them to WOXO starting with the 1977 season.

WJAB general manager Jon Van Hoogenstyn did not return several messages seeking comment.


WJJB’s 40,000-watt signal and WOXO’s 25,000-watt signal overlap, which in the past gave listeners in western Maine at least two choices to tune into the game. Gleason said the stations signals have overlapped for years and said he pointed out to WEEI that Red Sox games are broadcast on overlapping signals throughout New England.

“Overlapping signals shouldn’t matter, because the contract has always read that you are protected to your city of license,” Gleason said, noting WJJB’s official city of license is Gray, while WOXO’s is Norway. “There are many, many stations all over New England that overlap with one another.”

WEEI’s website lists 20 Maine stations on the Red Sox radio network in 2011. WOXO has two transmission towers, one in Greenwood and one on Black Mountain in Rumford that transmit its signal 160 miles in diameter.

“I don’t mean to sound like a crybaby about this, but it’s all about marketplace and the big guys literally playing hardball,” Gleason said.

Fans tuning in to WOXO will still hear baseball this season. The station will broadcast the Portland Sea Dogs, the Red Sox Double-A minor league affiliate. Another Gleason-owned station in Lewiston-Auburn, WEZR-AM 1240, will also continue broadcasting the Sea Dogs.

The Sea Dogs’ flagship station, WPEI in Portland, is owned by Atlantic Coast Radio, which also owns WJJB.

The Red Sox and Sea Dogs open their seasons on April 5.

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