Friday, September 24, 2010

KTRB for Sale

The A's radio flagship station situation was thrown into chaos yet again when KTRB-860 announced two weeks ago that it was laying off staff. Rumors flew that the station would stop broadcasting altogether. Those rumors proved to be untrue. What was true was that the station's cash-flow problems have been brewing for a while. According to Susan Slusser, A's fans were getting spotty reception at times this summer because the station wasn't even paying its diesel fuel bills.

So now that the dust has settled after a few weeks, here's what we know: No more polarizing political pundits on the "all-sports" station. A's games will continue to be broadcast through what's left of the regular season. Same with Chris Townsend's pregame and postgame shows.

More importantly, the station's owners, Jim and Harry Pappas, have turned the station over to Comerica Bank. The station is for sale again, and probably for a very good price.

Will Lew Wolff and John Fisher buy it and make it their very own KNBR?

That would be the smart play, and the best marketing decision they’ve made in years. So you have every reason to be skeptical that they'll actually do it.

How this affects A's broadcasts in 2011 or if they'll switch to yet another station, remains to be seen. Like a lot of parts about the A’s media strategy, there is more uncertainty and confusion at work than a coherent plan.

Just like with Wolff's circuitous, seven-year stadium search, we'll have to continue to wait and see.

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