MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - A largely unknown radio station in Morgantown is about to get a huge boost, thanks primarily to the ongoing battle between West Virginia University and the West Virginia Radio Corporation.
WZST-FM, based in Westover, owned by Fantasia Broadcasting of Fairmont and largely without a local presence, was announced as the Morgantown affiliate of the new Mountaineer Sports Network by IMG.
"We look forward to the season ahead and appreciate the opportunity that the University and IMG have offered us," Fantasia Broadcasting President Nick Fantasia said in a WVU news release. "Our company has had a long history broadcasting WVU [sports], and having WZST chosen as the Morgantown [flagship] affiliate is an unexpected thrill for us."
WZST will replace West Virginia Radio Corporations stations - primarily WAJR-AM - as the Morgantown affiliate for West Virginia football and basketball broadcasts, as well as pre-game and post-game shows and coaches' shows, beginning with the start of football season.
WZST-FM is at 100.9 on the dial. Other Fantasia-owned stations that will carry WVU sports are WRLF-FM (94.3) and WMMN-AM (920). Those partnerships had previously been announced.
WVU officials said in the release that the deal would provide fans "multiple signals for complete coverage of Mountaineer Athletics across Morgantown and Monongalia County."
West Virginia Radio and its owner, John Raese, are embroiled in what is becoming a long legal fight over the rights to WVU broadcasts. Raese's group has filed suit to stop WVU and IMG from continuing their relationship and this week asked a judge to issue a temporary injunction barring the two from establishing a radio network.
Fantasia is a former mayor of Fairmont. His father, Nicola "Nick" Fantasia, served 11 terms in the House of Delegates as a Democrat from Marion County and was well known for his local radio broadcasts. The elder Fantasia died in 2005.
WVU and IMG have announced Mountaineer sports broadcast partnerships with radio stations in 15 cities and towns across the state, but Charleston is not yet on the list.
"We will continue to add affiliates over the next couple of weeks as we plan for additional coverage on game day," Joe Potter, IMG College's senior vice president of broadcasting, said in the release. "WZST-FM will be a great teammate as our primary-market radio affiliate."
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.