Friday, February 12, 2010

The idea of Yankees on radio in Tampa Bay

This report says a Tampa ESPN radio affiliate, WHBO 1040 AM, is considering carrying Yankee games. It's noted this has been tried before, most recently on 1010AM, but was abandoned 2-3 years ago. The author presents the issue as the Yankees 'bullying' their way into the market, but my recent experience with Yankee games on Tampa radio is that no one including the Yankees cared whether they were on radio there or not.
  • Local markets often have programming that pre-empts out of market games such as the Yankees would be. 1010AM frequently pre-empted Yankee games, sometimes for no apparent reason. Eventually, they disappeared entirely. Secondly, in trying to talk up baseball in Tampa over several years, my experience was that almost
  • no one is aware of baseball and if they are they think of the Rays.
I never ran into anyone who expressed an affinity for the Yankees. Third, I listened to 1040 and other sports shows there, and heard plenty of good Rays fans call in. But Rays ownership is so obnoxious to the point of being openly hostile to fans that I don't think some Yankee games on a small radio station will make a difference. And 1040 does have a small signal as 1010 did.
  • St. Pete Times: "Local radio station WHBO-AM 1040 might be sporting pinstripes this year. A deal has not been finalized, but it's believed the Tampa station, an affiliate of ESPN, is negotiating to carry Yankees games. The station would carry all Yankees games except for when the Yankees play the Rays. In some ways, it makes sense. Tampa is considered the Yankees' second home.
The team holds spring training in Tampa and has a Single-A affiliate there, and Tampa is the home of Yankees owner George Steinbrenner. For the station, it makes some sense. It probably will draw better ratings (which means increased advertising revenue, though probably not a major bump) broadcasting Yankees games instead of syndicated programming. In years past, WQYK-AM 1010 in St. Petersburg carried Yankees games.
  • It's true that Yankees fans in the Tampa Bay area have plenty of options to either watch or listen to their team if they don't mind spending a little money on satellite radio, specific Web sites or television's MLB Extra Innings package, which airs most MLB games. And one could argue that some Yankees fans aren't going to listen to Rays games whether the Yankees are on local radio or not.

Still, doesn't it seem a little greedy of the Yankees to bully their way into another team's market? Do the Yankees really need more of a following? Is it really worth infringing on a business partner like that? Though the Yankees and Rays are rivals on the field, they ultimately are business partners in Major League Baseball. (When you think about it, pro sports is one of the few businesses where you don't want to drive your competitors out of business.)

  • The Rays won't comment unless a deal becomes official, but you have to think they aren't pleased about another major-league team broadcasting many of its games a few turns up the dial from theirs, often at the same time. One also could guess the Rays are annoyed that a bay area station has decided to carry games from an out-of-market team.

In the end, there isn't much the Rays can do to get back at the Yankees, but they could elect to snub 1040 by asking its players and staff not to do any of the local talk shows on the station. That ultimately would create animosity between the Rays and the station. Plus, do the Rays want to turn down chances to promote their product for free?

See, these are messes the Yankees needed to be more aware of before invading another team's market.

It just doesn't seem like the right thing to do.

Changes at 1040-AM

A couple of lineup changes are coming to WHBO-AM 1040 starting Monday. The Fabulous Sports Babe will move to a new time slot, noon to 3.

"We have been talking with the Babe for sometime about this move" said Allan Davis, VP of programming for Genesis Communications, which runs the station. "There has been growing demand by many of our clients to have the Babe broadcast live, on location, at many of the popular sports bars and retail outlets throughout the Tampa Bay area. Noon to 3 p.m. is a perfect fit for full remote shows.''"

  • article by Tom Jones, 2/13/10, "Shooting from the lip"
P.S. If you listen to your team out of market on satellite radio, Yankees or anyone else, you only get half your games with your team's radio booth, and then you may not get both your pre and post game shows. Usually you get the pre-game, but not even that if the game is put on XM 175 (rather than XM's other MLB channels). I've rarely heard a whole Yankee post game on XM (during regular season) and often they'd cut out right after the game and re-run taped interviews. On the other hand, XM sometimes carried extensive post game shows of other teams which I enjoyed. The Mariners had a good one.


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