24 September 2005

AP article - little new

An AP article that appears in Saturday's Chronicle provides another recap of the ballpark situation. Most of it is available in other reports and on this blog as well. There was one new piece of info that I found telling:

Oakland City Council President Ignacio De La Fuente said the city is committed to evaluating the potential of the area where the A's want to build and will dedicate someone to the job but there are many hurdles.

"More than money, there are definitely going to be other issues. You have a lot of challenges in that site but that doesn't mean that that cannot be done," De La Fuente said. "We're going to be working with them and hopefully we'll arrive to some great solution."

"Committed to evaluating the potential" and "will dedicate someone to the job" do not sound promising. I understand that both the city and the county are in a budget crunch, but someone should have been steering this in City Hall two weeks ago.

AM ownership chart

To illustrate how difficult it may be to get a quality radio deal, I've assembled a chart that lists every Bay Area AM radio station, signal strength, owner, and other information. The stations in gray are not considered likely candidates for the A's due to existing programming incompatibilities or lack of signal, or previous history. The stations in blue appear to be the best candidates. That isn't to say it can't change - the sale of Disney/ABC and Susquehanna stations may alter the local radio landscape significantly. Click on the graphic to download or view a larger version.

An explanation of the data:
  • Power is listed in kilowatts (kW)
  • The FCC has a good explanation of station classes here.
  • Sale pending indicates that the station or its parent company is for sale.
  • Applied "xxkW-Day" or "xxkW-Night" indicates that the station has applied for an approval for signal boost. Because of the various issues involved, changes have to go through a lengthy review and commenting process.
The station candidates:
  • KSFO - Many of you may remember KSFO's lengthy run as the A's flagship. That ended when their format switched from oldies to talk. Last year KSFO started broadcasting Raiders games. KSFO may be interested in broadcasting the A's again, but that would be largely dependent on the sale of station as part of Disney's radio portfolio. KSFO is managed by KGO's Mickey Luckoff.
  • Both KNEW-910 and KQKE-960 (formerly KABL) had turns broadcasting the A's in the recent past. Both received complaints due to their weak signal. Both are owned by Disney and run out of Oakland. Both are also run by former KNBR helmer Bob Agnew. Either could be a candidate for the A's when the dust settles. KQKE may be more likely due to the financial status of the Air America network.
  • There's a good chance that KTCT (KNBR-1050) will stay as it is because of the numerous deals KNBR has with local teams. Having two stations reduces the chances of overlapping programming, but it's also expensive to fill in programming during other hours. The next owner may decide sooner or later to either reprogram or sell KTCT because it's too expensive to keep the status quo.
  • KNTS is a pretty small station out of the Peninsula. It probably won't be a player unless they get the FCC's approval to pump 50,000 watts 24/7. If they do, they'll move their transmitter to the other side of the bay in Hayward. Right now KNTS is mostly a talk station, but they have the most game broadcasts of any station other than KNBR, which makes them a potentially compelling candidate.
  • KMKY is the Radio Disney station targeted to kids and Disney aficionados. Since the station was more of a constant promotional tool for the mother ship than anything else, it's likely that the new owner wouldn't be interested in continuing the same format.
  • In May, Infinity converted former "young country" station KYCY into KYou Radio, the first station in the United States to broadcast podcasts. They ran into some legal difficulty soon after that, but as of now they're still kicking. Oddly enough, the station accepts podcasts, but does not make podcasts of its broadcasts available to the public . If the experiment fails, Infinity may look to sell since the station historically hasn't been much of a ratings powerhouse. Infinity also applied for a signal boost and transmitter move to the South Bay.
  • KLIV is a small news station out of San Jose. I can't see KLIV being a flagship station due to its limited range, but if the A's wanted to have lower power North Bay and South Bay stations to cover the entire Bay Area, it's a possibility.
The corporate suitors have some restrictions as dictated by the FCC. The most important one is that no one can own more than 8 stations in the same market or 5 of the same class in a single market. That has forced both Infinity and Clear Channel to make station swaps and sales for the sake of compliance. If one of those behemoths ends up buying either the Disney or Susquehanna properties, one or more stations just might become available. Another company considered a frontrunner is Citadel Broadcasting, which has stations in mostly smaller markets.