With about two months until pitchers and catchers report for spring training, the Oakland A’s still do not have a radio partner after their contract with Entercom sports “The Game” KGMZ-AM/FM San Francisco came to an end this fall. The team had been disenfranchised with the partnership and tweeted a “breakup dig” at KGMZ upon the season ending.
There are a number of speculative reasons why the team has yet to find a new radio broadcast partner—and one may be the public goodbye from the Oakland A’s. On Oct. 10, the team tweeted, “It’s not us, it’s you,” along with video of equipment being moved out of the radio booth at the Oakland Coliseum. KGMZ’s logo is clearly seen in the five-second clip.
The move was seen as “juvenile and arrogant” by a longtime AM radio executive, the San Francisco Gate reported. Another said, “Good luck getting anything done in that building ever again,” referring to working with Entercom, who in addition to “The Game” own a number of stations in the market. Another unnamed radio exec added, “That was a big middle finger to their media partner – no one in this industry liked that.”
Former KGMZ PD, now sports radio consultant and columnist, Jason Barrett, said the A’s should have never stooped to that level. “You would never see the Yankees do that. You would never see the Giants do that,” he told the paper. “It’s not a good look.”
Another issue the A’s face is that no one is clamoring for radio broadcast rights to the team. “Most teams are still commanding rights fees,” Barrett said. “The A’s aren’t in that spot.” A likely scenario is that they will buy airtime on a Bay Area radio station, or more far-fetched is that the team will purchase a signal of its own. Either way, time is of the essence with the first Spring Training game set for Feb. 23.
“There are some challenges from a timing standpoint,” team COO Chris Giles said. The A’s want a radio presence even while exploring alternate broadcast avenues. “One of our goals is to have the broadest reach possible,” Giles continued. “Our strategy and vision for radio has not changed moving forward.”
The article mentions Cumulus Media news/talk KGO (810) as a possible station the A’s may be interested in purchasing, citing the fact that Cumulus recently came out of Chapter 11 restructuring and may be looking to divest some stations.
Streaming is not an option, mainly because MLB offers subscription packages for audio and live video streams themselves, and Giles said he doesn’t “think the market is there for baseball yet.”
The A’s are not the only MLB team without a broadcast partner lined up for the 2019 season. The Miami Marlins are facing a similar situation.