For the first time in the history of the franchise, Lexington Legends baseball games will not be broadcast on radio this season. Instead, they will be available streaming for free online.
The move by the Legends comes as part of a trend in minor league baseball, with several other teams having already gone to streaming-only broadcasts.
“When other teams started doing it, as with anything else in minor league baseball, we started talking about it,” Andy Shea, Legends president and CEO, said. “So, then when (play-by-play announcer) Keith (Elkins) announced his retirement (after last season) … it was just one of those things where the timing just felt right.”
Lexington’s WLXG-AM 1300 will become a full-time Cincinnati Reds broadcast affiliate this season as the LM Communications radio station’s partnership with the Legends ends after 17 seasons. The contract between the Legends and WLXG was negotiated on a year-to-year basis, according to both parties.
“We kind of grew up with the Legends,” WLXG program director Shawn Seay said. “We became a sports station in ’99 and the Legends came around in ’01, so it’s been a long-term partnership. We hate to see them go, but we understand the nature of radio. Sports broadcasting has changed, and everybody has to do what’s best for themselves.”
Legends game broadcasts will be available through streaming services for free online through MiLB.com and LexingtonLegends.com. Elkins, who called Legends games for the past eight years, stepped back from full-time media relations duties last season and fully retired at the end of the year. A successor has not yet been announced. The Legends open the season at home on April 5.
Shea said the Legends are putting some of the money saved from their radio budget toward their new Legendary Leagues program for youth baseball and softball. This month, the Legends announced donations totaling $88,000 to Central Kentucky youth programs.
As for the Reds, this season will mark the first in a few years that every one of its games will be available over the air in the Lexington market. The Reds have been on WLXG whenever the Legends weren’t since 2016 but nowhere else closer than Richmond.
“We’re super excited to have (the Reds),” Seay said. “They need to be in the Lexington market. With us coming on board, I think we’re their third largest market behind Cincinnati and Louisville.”
The Reds open at home against the Washington Nationals on March 29.