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The Department of Defense says the American Forces Network will cease broadcasting play-by-play sports on radio later this summer.
“The decision to discontinue live play-by-play sports on radio was based upon a series of Department of Defense worldwide audience surveys of military members and civilian employees stationed overseas, which showed the preference of viewers to watch sports, rather than just listen to them,” according to a statement. “The impact of live sports on overseas local affiliate radio schedules was also factored into the decision.”
The statement quoted Robert Matheson, director of broadcasting at the AFN Broadcast Center in Riverside, Calif., saying AFN audiences “prefer to watch the greater variety of sports on television rather than listen to them on the radio. When radio sports coverage comes on, most listeners tune out,” he said. “Our mission is better served when the largest possible audience tunes in to non-sports programming and spends more time listening.”
Matheson cited expanded television sports coverage by AFN.
“We signed agreements with the Motor Racing Network and the Indy Racing League before reassessing our approach to radio sports,” he said in the announcement. “We’ll honor those agreements.”