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February 18, 2020 12:48 pm  #1


What If The Blue Jays Games Were No Longer On Broadcast Radio?

The question seems almost impossible to fathom, but if you live in San Francisco and Oakland this season, it's one you'd have to answer. The Oakland A's, embroiled in a philosophical dispute with its one time radio home and unable to reach a new deal with another, have decided that this year, all their games will be available solely over the web. That means if you're a fan, you have to go online, use up data and have some sort of Internet connection in order to stream the games. 

From the East Bay Times:

"They will be the first professional sports team to have a local radio broadcast entirely on a streaming service...This also means that the A’s will be the first team to abandon an institution synonymous with baseball’s culture — radio is a method through which most people are accustomed to listening to games, to put it mildly."

The A's are trying to use the excuse that they're looking to attract a younger audience, but there's little doubt this could seriously affect the number of people who follow the team and potentially hurt attendance. Out of ear shot, out of mind. Depending on how this goes, I would be surprised if they weren't back on radio in the Bay Area by next year. But it will be interesting to see what happens. 

Meanwhile, fans outside of the home team's signal range will still be able to tune them in. They'll be carried by other stations on the A's radio network.

Oakland Athletics off the radio waves in the Bay Area

 

February 18, 2020 5:42 pm  #2


Re: What If The Blue Jays Games Were No Longer On Broadcast Radio?

Three things to consider (if not far more):
1. You've got to be where your consumers are consuming, and where future consumers can most easily access your product/service. 

2. For many reasons, sure, do the stream, but keep the radio as well.  Forcing existing customers to jump through more hoops and add multiple steps to access your product/service where the psychological hurdles in so doing are high (especially for listeners who don't have unlimited data and/or have not developed a comfort zone with technology), is a recipe for turning off your customers, and limits simplicity and speed of access to future customers.

3. If baseball wants to attract younger fans online, build unique and compelling value into the online experience.  Leverage radio's ubiquitous and easily accessible reach to promote and generate the word of mouth to drive online activity.

Last edited by Andy McNabb (February 18, 2020 6:30 pm)


Andy McNabb
AndyMcNabb.com
 

February 18, 2020 6:00 pm  #3


Re: What If The Blue Jays Games Were No Longer On Broadcast Radio?

Perhaps the biggest irony of all this is that none of the other teams, including the Jays, allow their radio games to be streamed on the Internet, because Major League Baseball wants to sell fans on a subscription service that lets them listen to whatever teams they want. 

So those fans can only hear baseball on their local radio stations and not on the Internet. 

But Oakland followers can only hear baseball on the Internet and not on their local radio station!

We increasingly live in a Bizzaro World.  

     Thread Starter
 

February 18, 2020 6:31 pm  #4


Re: What If The Blue Jays Games Were No Longer On Broadcast Radio?

Luckily, it won't happen here as long as Rogers owns the team.


 
 

February 18, 2020 7:07 pm  #5


Re: What If The Blue Jays Games Were No Longer On Broadcast Radio?

So, since they don't have a broadcast station in their home market, they can give a free stream to their fans while fans of the other 29 teams have to pay on MLB.com.   How is this allowed, and why don't more teams try it?

In 2000 the Expos had no English broadcast radio. They streamed only, and the games were on in French on CKAC. That's the year I saw my three Expos games (they lost all of them, to the Giants). CKAC was barely listenable inside Stade Olympique.
 

Last edited by TomSanders (February 18, 2020 7:12 pm)

 

February 18, 2020 8:05 pm  #6


Re: What If The Blue Jays Games Were No Longer On Broadcast Radio?

This is a non issue for the Jays, as mentioned above as long as the team is owned by Rogers. Even if ever sold I am sure they would be picked up by someone in the GTA.  Radio and baseball are a good mix.
At least KJQI AM Spanish in San Fran is still covering games.

For Oakland this is not good. They do not even draw as many fans at home as the Jays.  Last year's attendance at Rogers Centre for the Jays came in at a low 1,750,000 vs only 1,622,000 in Oakland.  Both teams are near the bottom for attendance.

Too bad the Jays can pack the stadium in Seattle and are a good draw attracting  fans in a few other cities but not at home.  Maybe this year they will have a team that wins more and a little more exciting to watch. 

 

February 18, 2020 10:21 pm  #7


Re: What If The Blue Jays Games Were No Longer On Broadcast Radio?

Andy McNabb wrote:

Three things to consider (if not far more):
You've got to be where your consumers are consuming...For many reasons, sure, do the stream, but keep the radio as well...build unique and compelling value into the online experience.  Leverage radio's ubiquitous and easily accessible reach to promote and generate the word of mouth to drive online activity.

Spot on, Andy. Cross branding, cross-marketing, across platforms. It's not one or the other. And it's knowing where your audience is - almost by the minute these days. Radio, internet, whatever ... they're mainly delivery trucks.

 

 

February 18, 2020 11:18 pm  #8


Re: What If The Blue Jays Games Were No Longer On Broadcast Radio?

RadioActive wrote:

They'll be carried by other stations on the A's radio network.

 So let's get this straight.  A bay area station is presumably producing a network broadcast but not running it themselves?   There must be some massive egos involved for everyone to come to an arrangement that ridiculous.

 

February 19, 2020 8:19 am  #9


Re: What If The Blue Jays Games Were No Longer On Broadcast Radio?

So if listeners in droves go to the stream what is their local sports radio doing to keep listeners during that time?    

 

February 19, 2020 9:09 am  #10


Re: What If The Blue Jays Games Were No Longer On Broadcast Radio?

There are other radio options. 1140 KHTK in Sacramento is part of the A's network. Sacramento is roughly 80 miles from the Bay area. The station has a 50K signal, so day games would not be a problem. Night games could be trickier as KHTK has to protect WRVA in Richmond [not really a problem] and XERM in Monterrey.









 

 

February 19, 2020 9:41 am  #11


Re: What If The Blue Jays Games Were No Longer On Broadcast Radio?

Prod Guy wrote:

RadioActive wrote:

They'll be carried by other stations on the A's radio network.

 So let's get this straight.  A bay area station is presumably producing a network broadcast but not running it themselves?   There must be some massive egos involved for everyone to come to an arrangement that ridiculous.

I don’t know a lot about the A’s, but from what I’ve read on this story, it appears they’ve had a lot of trouble finding a permanent radio home in the past few years. (They've been on no less than 15 stations since they moved to Oakland!) They only turned to the web as a last resort. Considering they’re a major league sports team, which is normally considered something positive for a station to have, it’s simply mind boggling.
 
They originally landed on what should have been a friendly place, KGMZ-FM, aka 95.7 The Game. But they felt there wasn’t enough attention focused on the team and too much on the San Francisco Giants for an all sports station and left in a very publicly insulting way that made headlines in 2018.
 
(You can see their brief but telling video tweet here – it shows audio equipment being loaded up and carted out of the station, with the message “It’s not us, it’s you.”)
 
Only problem? They couldn’t find another outlet for the following season. In desperation, they wound up on the web - and on a local station called KTRB. But it featured a hard right Conservative talk format and apparently some fans complained they didn’t concentrate enough on baseball or the team. Plus A's ownership itself didn’t like all the pro-Trump rhetoric, so the two came to a parting of the ways and an initial one-year deal wasn't renewed.
 
Cut to this coming season. No one seems to want them, so they made the decision to go it alone on the web. The team appears to be making this announcement with a great deal of bravado and claims of “look how modern and progressive we are, going for a younger audience and embracing technology!”

But by any measure, the truth appears to be that they really had no other choice because no station seems to be willing to commit to whatever it is they’re seeking. And they've made it harder for the vast majority of fans to hear them, especially in their cars. 

I can’t think of another instance in pro sports where this has ever happened. But what a great story this is as it continues to unfold.
 
The A’s? Sounds more like the D-minuses instead.

     Thread Starter
 

February 19, 2020 9:49 am  #12


Re: What If The Blue Jays Games Were No Longer On Broadcast Radio?

In my mind Baseball is the ONLY sport that works well on radio, hockey can be too fast to follow at times, football has too much downtime.  But I'm old and love listening to the Jays on the radio in the backyard... 

 

February 19, 2020 10:47 am  #13


Re: What If The Blue Jays Games Were No Longer On Broadcast Radio?

A New York Times columnist (as republished in the Washington Post) posits that taking baseball off the radio is worse for the game than the Astros cheating scandal. And if more teams follow this lead, it will possibly destroy the relationship between fans and their ability to 'root, root, root for the home team.'

"By taking radio out of the mix, the A’s run the risk of alienating an audience that has been there for baseball since Aug. 5, 1921, when KDKA broadcast a game between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Pittsburgh Pirates.

"Gone in Oakland will be the ability to switch on a car radio and tune into the game. Fans won’t be able to press a button on a radio at home, sit back and let the broadcast fill their dens. It will be harder for fans who listen to games on headphones in the ballpark, too — a not inconsiderable segment of baseball fans.


And she brings up a point I hadn't really thought of. 

"I’ve visited parks from Oakland to Chicago to D.C., and almost every stadium has balky WiFi that gets harder to use the more people there are in the park. And streaming a game on your cellphone can quickly run down the battery. There’s simply no substitute for a radio."

Scandals won’t kill baseball. Kicking the games off the radio just might

     Thread Starter
 

February 23, 2020 11:21 am  #14


Re: What If The Blue Jays Games Were No Longer On Broadcast Radio?

The East Bay Times is forgetting that for one season — 2000, I believe — Montreal Expos broadcasts were internet only.  This was during the disastrous Jeffrey Loria ownership era.


- Chris Mayberry
 

July 31, 2020 7:55 am  #15


Re: What If The Blue Jays Games Were No Longer On Broadcast Radio?

Well, that was quick. After trying to put their games solely on the Internet, the Oakland A's have bowed to angry fans and put themselves back on terrestrial radio. They've temporarily contracted with a local Bay Area all-business format actual over-the-air station to get them back where they belong. 

According to reports, not only did fans complain about not being able to tune them in over a regular radio, they were also confused and annoyed by the Tune-In app/site they were forced to use, which kept generating "subscribe now" pop-ups, leading some to think they had to pay for the privilege of listening. They've switched to iHeart instead.

Now all they need to do is be able to play all the remaining games and complete this crazy shortened season. 

If anything, it shows that MLB tends to skew to an older demo that prefers to hear games over-the-air, and also proves the long held belief that radio and baseball remain a perfect union, almost more than any other sport. 

The A’s are back on the radio, for now

     Thread Starter
 

July 31, 2020 9:40 am  #16


Re: What If The Blue Jays Games Were No Longer On Broadcast Radio?

Maybo wrote:

The East Bay Times is forgetting that for one season — 2000, I believe — Montreal Expos broadcasts were internet only. This was during the disastrous Jeffrey Loria ownership era.

Back when most people were on dial-up? That had to be interesting.


PJ


Not the same 200 songs over and over!  http://www.classichitsonline.com
 

July 31, 2020 3:53 pm  #17


Re: What If The Blue Jays Games Were No Longer On Broadcast Radio?

Seems like a throwaway AM, which is the kind of station I predicted they would end up on, if they came back on radio. I wonder what the financial terms to the agreement are (I’m assuming the team is paying for airtime).