Monday, May 07, 2012

Discussion of coverage of new ESPN NY radio signal at 98.7FM

5/7/12, "ESPN/NY FM Not As Great As It May Seem," NY Radio Message Board, Allan Sniffen, Chmn.
  • "I fully understand the need for ESPN to find an FM station in New York both for improved coverage and potentially improved demos.

But I also think there has been an overreaction to its upside. While 98.7 is an improvement, it's got flaws in coverage. For example, from what I'm hearing, the coverage in Suffolk County on L.I. is *worse* than 1050's, FM drops out to the north near Poughkeepsie (while 1050's is solid at least during the day) and even in New Jersey there are holes for 98.7 due to terrain.

The bottom line is that it's not a good business decision to turn 1050 into "ESPN Deportes" in September because 98.7 is going to have some significant coverage holes that 1050 fills in. Those holes are going to be a major problem when ESPN takes a run at grabbing either the Yankees or the Mets from CBS-Radio.

In this era of "all things FM are better", it's worth keeping in mind that it isn't always true. Yes, smaller, top of the dial AM's have virtually no advantage but a 50,000 Watt AM does, even if it's not clear channel.

I have real questions about who is running ESPN Radio. Do these people understand AM vs. FM and just how all this works in the New York metro area? It's almost as if someone far removed from New York is sipping the FM Kool-Aid without understanding how it actually works in practice.

The smart ESPN/NY move is to simulcast 1050 and 98.7 and worry about ESPN Deportes in the future. Don't worry... there will be plenty of AM's out there as we go forward. The more important issue is having the best possible coverage for the main station in order to grab a New York baseball franchise. Leave the simulcast.

P.S.: WFAN still has a big coverage advantage.

P.P.S.: ESPN needs a NEW YORK *radio* executive running the station or mistakes are going to be made. There's too much on the line to let that happen."
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In Reply to: ESPN/NY FM Not As Great As It May Seem posted by Allan Sniffen on May 07, 2012 at 09:26:03:

Odd that you mention that, because even back in the years I lived and worked in New York, I always felt that 98.7 had a poorer signal in the outlying areas than many other FM’s coming off Empire. I thought then that it might have to do with 98.3 suburban Class A’s and also 99.1 in NJ, both second adjacencies. Of course, in the city 98.7 was great.

Since then, FM radio's selectivity has improved, so second adjacencies shouldn’t be an issue anymore. I’m not up-to-date on what rebuilding has gone on at Empire. 98.7 used to be on the FM master and probably still is.

I’d be interested to read what some listeners and engineers could post about the current propagation status of 98.7. "

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