“Padres on Radio-A Mess”
Padres baseball on radio used to be something special, a tradition..
Dodgers baseball, was forever about Vin Scully, games on legendary KABC, and now more recently on 570-KLAC with Charley Steiner and Rick Monday. Still special.
Padres baseball was forever Jerry Coleman and Ted Leitner. Then a series of changes and uncertainty. Andy Masur, Bob Scanlan, Jesse Agler, Tony Gwynn Junior, all in and out of the booth.
The Padres forever were on KFMB-760 radio for a longtime. Then as owners changed, the games bounced around the radio dial. Onto to 600-KOGO for a run. Then onto all sports station XX-1090.
Two years ago, the Padres elected to leave the Mighty 1090, to take a rights fee check from Entercom, and put their games on an FM station.
Padres baseball has always been about getting a radio station to give them a big rights fee payment. Times have changed, and stations no longer are interested in losing tons of money for a decade full of last place teams.
KOGO Radio,a successful News-Talk station, was willing to lose 500,000 a year as a way to expose their newly built format to the market place.,and Padres fans. It worked as the station went to the top 5-in ratings in that format. When the Padres continued to lose, Clear Channel Radio walked away from the deal.
The Mighty 1090 needed Padres baseball to launch its all sports format, but they paid an enormous rights fee payment, upwards of 3M a year. It helped establish the station, but the station bled money, bad losses.
They tried to restructure down the deal a couple of times, but the team kept losing, and the radio economy in the market fell apart. It’s estimated in a 13-year period, BCA, the owners, lost 20M due to bad baseball, high rights fees and a changing advertising economy.
It takes us to where we are now.
The Padres left a 50,000-watt all sports station to go to a smaller FM station you cannot hear in all parts of the county.
The team got a rights fee check, but have lost a chunk of their audience. The signal, last year on 94-9 FM, this year on 97-3 FM, does not go north of San Diego. The Padres can no longer be heard in the Inland empire, where there is fan base that travels the I-15 from Fallbrook-Temecula-Bonsall and Riverside County.
And because the inland empire is viewed as LA TV territory, they don’t get to see Fox Sports San Diego’s telecasts either, only Dodgers-Angels games.
Relations between flagship stations and teams can always be uneasy, especially if the team is a loser, and the Padres have been for a decade. Check the last winning season, check the last time in the playoffs.
Add in the format situations. The Padres put their games on a music station last year, a station that did not want baseball on their signal. End result, no baseball conversation on 94-9, and virtually no pre-post game shows.
The two sports-talk stations in town, 1090, jilted by the Padres defection, and XTRA 1360, spent the bulk of the last season talking about the Chargers defection, the stadium mess, and seldom about the only big league team left in town.
In essence, Padres baseball was a non factor in the radio market, except when the games were being played. Baseball talk disappeared off the radio dial.
This year Entercom decided to move baseball to a newly re-formatted FM station, ‘The Machine’…slated to become a guy-talk station. 2-weeks into the launch of the format, what local shows they have are talking about guns, drugs, girls, condoms, marijuana pipes and assorted guy talk subjects. Not Padres baseball.
You wouldn’t know the Padres were part of that station, except when they ran an occasional exhibition game
And now this week, the newly hired morning show shock jock, decides to mock people jumping off the Coronado Bridge, the same week that owner Ron Fowler is awarding scholarship monies to high school students who have gone thru depression and bad family situations.
Cheap stunt by a radio station that is going to struggle to find its place in a crowded market-dial.
This comes after their mid-day host spent tons of time smearing people on his twitter account, leading to the Padres announcing that Dan Sileo would not be part of Padres baseball broadcast in any form or fashion.
The Padres are enraged by the antics of their radio partners.
The relationships between stations and formats can be dicey at times. Sports-talk radio has to spend time talking about the team in town, but for San Diego, it’s been more negative than positive, and rightfully so.
Until the Padres win, the storylines will always be about the history of bad drafts, firesales, unstable ownership.
But the Padres should be mad at more people than just their radio station. Team President Mike Dee and VP of marketing Wayne Partello were the decision makers, when the franchise kept changing stations, and the team’s demands for high fees for bad baseball. .
Dee, since fired by the Padres, now oversees the Entercom sports-talk stations, and this guy-talk format is his. The hirings of Kevin Klien, fired in San Francisco, and Dan Sileo, fired 3-times in Florida, are his choices.
1-can say the Padres have made some stupid decisions, demanding excessive rights fees that drove broadcast partners away.
But you can also say Dee, who demanded loyalty from stations, when he ran the Padres, is making a stupid decision allowing this gutter talk content on his station leading into Padres baseball.
In baseball history, the fans know the heritage stations have always carried big league baseball, the Yankees on WABC, the Mets on WFAN, the Red Sox on WEEI, the Indians on WTAM, the Reds on WLW, the Pirates on KDKA, the Cardinals on KMOX, the Mariners on KIRO. 50,000-watt stations. Legendary stations carrying the teams.
Not the Padres, now on their 5th station since 2000. They’ve made it a money grab nothing more, and it seems to have blown up in their face.
The team is eventually going to win, but you wonder if all the losing and the bad business deals with so-called broadcast partners has done irreparable damage.
Padres on radio, it’s a mess. It used to be a tradition.