95.7 FM The Game

February ratings: baseball can’t start soon enough for KNBR and 95.7 The Game

knbr 680 vs 95.7 the game

Baseball is just around the corner, and that’s just in time for the local radio stations. They say February is the slowest month in the sports world — the sports world as it pertains to the United States, anyway — and the sports talk ratings bear that out with significant February dips on an annual basis.

San Francisco

Holiday

January

February

Station

AQH%

Reach

AQH%

Reach

AQH%

Reach

Owner

KNBR-AM 3.4 665,400 4.7 665,400 3.1 504,900 Cumulus
KGMZ-FM 1.0 241,900 1.2 241,900 0.9 206,900 Entercom
KTCT-AM 0.6 219,900 0.8 219,900 0.4 139,800 Cumulus

 

San Jose

Holiday

January

February

Station

AQH%

Reach

AQH%

Reach

AQH%

Reach

Owner

KNBR-AM 2.8 148,700 3.6 177,300 2.5 119,300 Cumulus
KGMZ-FM 0.6 47,200 0.8 44,900 0.6 37,500 Entercom
KTCT-AM 0.5 52,200 0.6 64,500 0.6 37,700 Cumulus

 

That’s probably why both stations are flooding the airwaves with former and current major leaguers. And when ballplayers aren’t on the air, the stations are promoting the next time they’ll be on or something they said earlier in the day.

The Game added Aubrey Huff. Eric Byrnes made an appearance on Monday’s edition of the Mr. T show, and unless there’s a change in plans we can expect him to hear a lot more from Byrnes once the season starts. KNBR was pumping up their weekly show with Buster Posey throughout the day on Tuesday, and 95.7 recently sent out an email detailing every guest who’ll come on regularly to talk about the A’s (Damon Bruce gets one weekly guest: Billy Beane).

A logical follow-up question: when — if ever — will the Giants or A’s form their own radio station? Would it really be all that hard to sell ads for a station that carried a team’s games, interviewed the same players, coaches and announcers we hear on KNBR/KGMZ, produced talk shows about team-related topics, and filled the remaining airtime with classic games and/or syndicated content?

That might lead to some pretty dull programming during the portion of the offseason between free agency and Spring Training, and teams might not feel like hiring several employees to produce, market and sell ads for thousands of hours of radio content. Not to mention there’s already an MLB channel on satellite radio, and it’s easier to work together with the top sports talk stations in each metro area than to compete with them. However, the ability to control the message 24/7 might trump all those concerns.

Giants games have been heard on KNBR since 1979, and in 2012 the two parties agreed to a seven-year extension that takes them through 2018. The A’s bounced around the dial until they signed a deal with 95.7, back when it was known as a country music station called “The Wolf” and had KBWF as its call letters (they switched to KGMZ in August of 2011).

Before partnering with 95.7, the A’s actually tried to buy their former flagship station.

The announcement ends the uncertainty that surrounded the A’s radio situation after their efforts to purchase KTRB 860-AM, their previous flagship station, dissolved.

Ken Pries, the A’s vice president of broadcasting and communications, said the A’s had signed a letter of intent a month ago to purchase KTRB, which is in receivership. About 10 days ago, according to Pries, the station’s receiver changed terms of the agreement and scrapped plans to broadcast the A’s this season when the team didn’t agree to the new terms.

“We offered significantly more (to buy the station) than what had been reported,” Pries said. “I can’t tell you how much more, but it was almost twice as much as was being reported. It absolutely was not a case of us not putting our best foot forward, because we did.”

The asking price for KTRB was reported to be as high as $12 million at one point, but it’s not known if the A’s offer approached that neighborhood.

By owning a station, the team could have offered more A’s-specific programming, which could have increased its exposure and fan base. That’s a benefit the Giants have enjoyed by owning a stake in KNBR 680-AM.

In contrast, the A’s are a supplemental piece in KBWF’s country format. The A’s pregame show, for instance, will be reduced from an hour to 45 minutes.

The A’s were forced to scramble after the KTRB deal fell through, and ended up signing with 95.7 for four years, which spans the 2011-14 seasons. The Raiders signed a “multi-year” deal with The Game back in 2013, but there’s no public word on when that agreement expires or if either side can get out of the contract at any time if need be. We’ll see if the A’s either stick with The Game after this season, jump to another station and/or go through with buying their own station. If the A’s do purchase their own radio station, it would be interesting to see if the Giants either react in any noticeable way or stay with KNBR after 2018.

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