KNBR will continue covering the San Francisco Giants on the radio for at least the next seven seasons, with Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey announcing a contract extension between the two parties on KNBR’s morning show on Tuesday.
Is this surprising? Not really, since KNBR has carried Giants games since 1979. Plus, the AM station’s all-sports format creates a built-in advertising tool for the Giants that blankets a large portion of northern and central California during the day and covers most of the west coast at night.
Here is the official statement from the Giants:
(SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA – March 6, 2012) KNBR and the San Francisco Giants have agreed to terms on a new seven‐year contract that will keep Giants games on KNBR throughout the 2018 season. Giants’ President and CEO Larry Baer and Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey made the announcement today on KNBR’s “Murph & Mac” show.
This 2012 season will mark the 34th year that KNBR has proudly served as the Giants Flagship station, a period that’s included some of the most dramatic moments in Giants history: the 1989 World Series, the opening of AT&T Park in 2000, the 2002 World Series, Barry Bonds’ pursuit of the all‐time home run record and the 2010 World Series Championship.
Anchored by Hall of Fame award winning play‐by‐play announcer Jon Miller and Bay Area favorites Mike Krukow, Duane Kuiper, and Dave Flemming, the Giants boast one of the finest broadcast teams in Major League Baseball today. In addition to the play‐by‐play broadcasts, other popular Giants programming includes the pre‐game “Kruk & Kuip Show” and the “Post Game Wrap. The Giants will also continue to have a presence on KNBR year‐round with the “Hot Stove League” show.
“On behalf of our loyal listeners and valued clients, we are pleased to announce a new seven year partnership with one of the greatest brands in all of sports,” said Dickey. “We are excited to continue KNBR’s 34 year run with the Giants with the addition of compelling new content designed to bring the fans even closer to the action both on and off the field with exclusive reporting. “
“The Giants are delighted to extend our partnership with KNBR Radio through 2018,” said Baer. “KNBR has played an integral role in the success of our franchise and is our primary link to our fans during Spring Training, the 162‐game regular season, post‐season and the off‐season. It is only fitting that KNBR, one of the great sports stations in the country, continue its long‐standing and successful association with the Giants as we work to deliver the best baseball experience for our fans and the Northern California community.”
The length of the extension should bring a little peace of mind to KNBR and its employees, as the station’s entire business plan centers on the Giants. As we’ve seen in the monthly ratings reports for KNBR 680, KNBR 1050 and 95.7 FM “The Game,” the numbers jump quite considerably during baseball season as many fans who don’t necessarily tune into sports talk listen to the Giants regularly.
What Dickey meant by “the addition of compelling new content” remains to be seen. Perhaps Dickey considers each game to be “new content,” although it’s possible they can get creative since they have some sort of relationship with three of the top four Giants beat writers in Andrew Baggarly (insider), Henry Schulman (insider) and Alex Pavlovic (who replaced Baggs on the Giants beat for the SJ Mercury News and, starting yesterday, will go on with Damon Bruce every Monday).
The relationship between the franchise and the station has been a topic of conversation on this site and others, with fans of other teams (like the Oakland Athletics, for instance) expressing their frustration that KNBR ignores other teams in the area or highlights points of view that are decidedly Giants-friendly.
One example: yesterday morning, when Brian Murphy and Paul McCaffrey interviewed Bill Madden of the NY Daily News. Madden went on “Murph and Mac” to talk about the article he wrote stating the Athletics have “no way to San Jose,” before doing an interview later in the day with 95.7’s Brandon Tierney and Eric Davis. The reaction from Marine Layer of new A’s Ballpark:
Listen to Bill Madden’s interview with The Drive. It’s far more substantial than the one with the KNBR morning zoo.
While something that seems to be a given (the Giants staying on KNBR) might be trivial to some, in the grand scheme of things it’s quite important, at least in a Bay Area sports media sense. If KNBR lost the Giants, the station would be left scrambling (as Cumulus showed in its recent dismantling of KGO, they aren’t worried about carrying on with the status quo if there’s a buck to be made). Also, because of the Giants’ presence the Golden State Warriors are often treated almost like second-class citizens by KNBR, with games often thrown over to KNBR 1050 — a station with a far less powerful signal.
The Giants benefit from the partnership as well, because KNBR 680’s signal is strong and the team’s fans don’t have to change the presets on their car radio every season. Gary Radnich often makes this point about why the A’s have trouble, and while that line of thought is clearly self-serving (seeing as Radnich works for KNBR), there’s some truth there. Just ask the St. Louis Cardinals if they made a mistake when they left KMOX after 51 years (after a 5-year run on KTRS, the Cardinals returned to KMOX in 2011).
What do you think about how KNBR covers the Giants? Do they capitalize on the arrangement as well as they should? Are they too over-the-top in their Giants homerism, or just right? How you answer those questions probably depends on which team you back and/or if you like baseball in the first place.