A couple of weekends ago, I was coming home from a hair appointment and I turned on the car radio. My husband has presets on our radio and I started to push the buttons, first heavy metal, then country music, not a fan of country music, sorry. Then another country music station, no wait…the A’s game! Yes, it was the A’s game on 95.7 The Wolf, not a Giants game, an A’s game! Apparently, since I don’t listen to the radio that much 95.7 was no longer a country bumpkin station, but a true sports radio station.
Earlier in the month, 95.7′s KBFW decided to switch to an all-sports format, making the Oakland A’s and San Jose Sharks their flagship teams, 98.5 KFOX also broadcasts Sharks games and will continue to do so. This is however, good news for the A’s and because they will have the same Bay Area exposure the Giants have. The Giants are the flagship baseball team for AM’s 680 KNBR.
As A’s fans know the A’s games were broadcast on a very reception weak AM radio station called KTRB. Sometimes, you were lucky if you got to listen to the whole game, most of time in frustration, fans would miss key plays and end up switching the game off. Until the switch the KTRB sportscasters, Ken Ditto and Ron Barr kept up with the A’s sports action. Then like a thief in the night, legendary oldies station KFRC started to broadcast A’s news and games. Although, even they would go belly up with their FM station and that left the A’s to return to KTRB.
Meanwhile 95.7 The Wolf was making the plans to transition over, the Country music station, had been giving the A’s limited airplay. The takeover was made in part so that the station could be competitive with the Bay Area sport’s giant, KNBR 680. That means that although they will make their programming more focused to that of both the A’s and the Sharks, they will also be discussing other sports and programs as well.
According to Dwight Walker, who is the marketing director from KBWF’s parent company, Entercom, the A’s and the Sharks simply needed more airplay. “We felt not all the teams are being appreciated perhaps as much as they could be. I think the A’s and Sharks are two of those teams. We just think there’s a tremendous opportunity to grow the sports audience in the Bay Area. You’ve got passion, an underserved audience and teams to support that.”
The A’s have always gotten the short end of the stick when it comes to broadcasting their games on the radio. Since the 1968 introduction to Oakland from Kansas City the team has went through fourteen flagship stations. All of these changes were due to old A’s owner, Charlie Finley, who at the time wanted to move the A’s over to Denver, thus breaking his contract with KNBR. Then as owners do, he changed his mind and did not have a station to broadcast the games on. So he looked to UC Berkeley’s radio station 90.7 KALX to do so, the play by plays were broadcast by amateur college radio DJ’s until another station emerged.
Now with the new Wolf Radio station giving exclusive airtime to A’s games and news, fans will not have to go trailing around spotty radio stations to find them. As for those angry Country music fans that have started a Facebook page called, “We want the Country music on 95.7 – Not the A’s”, well people, there is satellite radio or something we A’s fans like to call the internet.