It appears that for once the statement "all things happen for a reason" has some validity in regards to the Oakland Athletics.
The A's attempted to buy their former radio flagship KTRB 860am, finally ending negotiations the final week of spring training.
The failed bid to purchase the station briefly put regular season broadcasting in question for the Athletics, drawing criticism for A's owner Lew Wolff.
Thankfully 95.7FM, The Wolf, stepped up and signed a broadcasting contract with the Oakland Athletics to become their new radio flagship for the next four years.
Today, Entercom, the company that owns 95.7FM, announced they were changing their formatting and switching to an all-sports radio format. Entercom is also the broadcast partner of the San Jose Sharks.
The new "SportsRadio" 95.7FM launched today playing a loop of bay area sports highlights along with some sports-themed music.
Dwight Walker, Entercom's vice president and marketing manager, told the San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser, "We'll be talking A's and Sharks, two winning franchises that aren't getting as much attention as they could."
For Athletics fans this should come as welcome news. The Bay Area powerhouse in media coverage has always been KNBR 680/1050 in San Fransisco. KNBR is also a partial owner of the San Francisco Giants and their flagship station however, limiting the amount of coverage given to the A's.
The first immediate difference I noticed was that Chris Townsend's pre-game show returned to it's prior extended-coverage format. Hopefully the post-game coverage returns to normal length as well, rather than the condensed version that became necessary to fit into the prior country music programming of The Wolf.
No announcements have been made yet about regular programming on the station, although several possibilities come to mind including A's broadcasters receiving similar coverage provided to the Giants broadcasters on KNBR.
Slusser shared her hope for the new formatting of 95.7 FM:
"If this truly is to be a station that does right by the A's, I'd love to see Townsend get an even more high-profile daily spot, too. Wouldn't drive time go nicely with merging right into the pre-game show? Maybe a regular morning hit with Ken Korach, the way KNBR provides extra formats for the Giants' broadcasters?
Here's someone else I'd like to see with a regular outlet of some sort, or even a behind the scenes role: David Feldman, who knows more A's facts and stats than anyone around. He's the person I turn to for bits of info, facts about A's history, and he also knows the broadcasting industry well, having done lots of TV work (producing, stats, you name it) and some radio."
I couldn't agree more with her suggestions.
It remains to be seen how Entercom will handle the programming and coverage of the A's, as well as other local teams, but it is a promising step towards equality for A's fans who have been deprived of equal media coverage in the Bay Area.
I know for sure that I will be tuning in more frequently to 95.7 throughout the day and away from KNBR and the daily overload of Giants talk.
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