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Tonight is the Cubs last home game on WGN Radio.

A few days ago Pete McMurray, Patti Vasquez and Nick Digilio represented WGN in a pregame on-field ceremony honoring almost 90 years of Cubs radio broadcasts.

Nice.

A couple of hours later Pete, Patti and Nick sang the 7th inning stretch… but nobody could hear them.  The microphone went out and didn’t work for the entire song.

Not so nice.

The symbolism is hard to deny.  As WGN Radio ends its flagship broadcast relationship with the Chicago Cubs, that 7th inning stretch debacle seems emblematic of how things have gone in the last few years.

Some off the field history seems to be in order so allow me to elaborate on what happened on this side of the table.

After the team’s last playoff appearance in 2008 WGN Radio did a new rights deal with the Cubs for a high fee that meant it could only have a mutually profitable relationship if the team was very successful on the field.  As you know, the Cubs were, in fact, very bad.

That meant that WGN Radio lost money every year by carrying the games, culminating with the biggest losses this season. WGN Radio was even willing to lose money next year if the Cubs agreed to a restructured deal that was less financially painful and still gave the team revenue incentives that more fairly shared the business risk.

That type of deal is what this station has in place with the Blackhawks and it has been great for both sides.

The Cubs turned down all of the ideas to remain in business together.  They had every right to make that decision but please don’t think we reached this point because of a lack of effort by WGN Radio.

For us, the bottom line was that advertisers are just not willing to spend money on a team that loses at this rate and draws poor ratings.  It’s common sense… The audience ratings have dropped dramatically as the on the field loses have piled up.

That’s why the management of WGN Radio decided to pass on renewing the rights to broadcast the games.  It simply made no financial sense to continue.

Making the decision to let the Cubs go was very difficult but it was absolutely the right move to make. It feels like an amicable divorce but I for one really hoped the Cubs would have made more of an effort to keep us together.

Here’s what I walk away from this knowing…

We all have a ton of great Cubs memories, and friends for life including Pat Hughes, John McDonough, Jay Blunk, Lou Piniella and many more.

Getting to know Ron Santo and calling him a friend was one of the great joys of my life.

I’ll always be a Cubs fan and WGN Radio will always be a Cubs station.  And my show and the rest of this station will cover the Cubs in exciting new ways in 2015 and beyond.

I can speak for all of WGN Radio when I say that we wish Pat and Ron Coomer great success.  They are a fantastic team and even make the bad games listenable.

My hope, more than anything related to the Cubs or WGN, is for a winner on the field for every Cubs fan that ran out of “next years” and every fan that’s still here.  You deserve it.

Here is the good news.  You will no longer have to deal with a preempted run to the Stanley Cup by your Chicago Blackhawks. I can’t wait.

Thanks for listening.

SC