January 30, 2006

A's To KYCY ... And KTRB?

I find it hard to believe — and I won't believe it until I hear it officially — but a post by Chavezfan in the A's Clubhouse on Scout.com notes that Oakland Athletics single-game tickets have the following printed on the reverse:

Listen to the A's all season long on
KYCY 1550 AM Oakland / San Francisco
KTRB 860 AM Pleasanton / Livermore / Sacramento / Modesto

If it's true, it confirms the worst-kept secret about the A's flagship station, but KTRB is the shocker.

KTRB, from what I've heard from a "Well-Placed Source," is not moving to the Bay Area for at least a few more months, but would mean that Harry Pappas' 50,000-watt station would give the A's a real powerhouse outlet locally.

Meanwhile, I'm still clinging to my little shred of hope that the A's will make this a combo deal — working out a deal with CBS Radio to put the team on both KYCY and KIFR/106.9 (Free FM). Such a plan would give the A's a much better signal in the North Bay and Oakland, based on KIFR's solid 80,000-watt signal coming out of Marin County, and would give the fledgling station a built-in promotional tool, even if only evening and weekend games are broadcast.

(Can you name Free FM 106.9's current night and weekend lineup? My point exactly.)

KYCY, coincidentally, is licensed to San Francisco, but its 10,000-watt transmitter is located down the Peninsula, near San Carlos. Even with that, the station's signal in the South Bay ain't too hot. CBS had a construction permit from the FCC to boost the station's power to 50,000 watts and diplex its signal from KLOK's transmitter in San Jose, but that plan was recently scrapped.

I wouldn't hold out an awful lot of hope for another station in the South Bay picking up the broadcasts — unless Bob Kieve of KLIV/1590 and KRTY/95.3 is listening...

January 19, 2006

CBS and Clear Channel Jump On Bay HD Bandwagon

Following up on yesterday's piece regarding Bonneville's launch of HD multicasts on KOIT, KDFC and MAX-FM, both CBS Radio and Clear Channel announced the debut of new Bay Area multis on Thursday.

ABC Radio also announced HD multicasts, but only for its Los Angeles stations.

Here are the lineups:


KFRC HD2 - Country
KIFR HD2 - News
KITS HD2 - "Nothing But New Music"
KLLC HD2 - "Chill" (Downtempo Electronic & Rock)


KIOI HD2 - Eighties Pop Hits
KISQ HD2 - "La Romantica"
KKSF HD2 - Traditional Jazz
KMEL HD2 - "Xtreme Hip-Hop"
KYLD HD2 - "Wild Espanol"

The audio stream for the Clear Channel HD lineup is available via the websites for the respective stations, or at ClearChannelMusic.com/hdradio.

January 18, 2006

FM Broadcasters Begin Digital Radio Multicasts in Bay Area

That's the headline on a press release I received this evening from the wonderful folks at Bonneville/San Francisco.

On the heels of Ben Fong-Torres' "Radio Waves" column in Sunday's Chronicle, which dealt in-depth with the coming changes in HD Radio locally (specifically "KKSF ... offers a free 'Jazz Cafe' channel; Wild 94.9 has a commercial-free dance station; KMEL ... has underground hip-hop, non-stop; and Star 101 is making a commercial-free version of the station available to HD listeners"), I think that this could lead to some interesting changes around here — especially if someone:

(1) Decides to start making affordable HD receivers, and I'm talking in the $50-$100 range so that they are affordable for everyone; and (not "or")

(2) The broadcasters and manufacturers make it easy to find and tune the stations, meaning that instead of 95.7 HD Multicast Channel 3, all you have to do is tune to HD Channel 215 (or something like that). I don't have to tune my DirecTV receiver to 497.585 GHz to get ESPN; I certainly shouldn't have to do that to receive HD Radio.

That said, here, word for word — for your reading enjoyment — is the Bonneville press release:

FM Broadcasters Begin Digital Radio
‘Multicasts’ in Bay Area

KDFC, KOIT and MAX-FM launch
Secondary HD Digital Radio Channels

For immediate release

January 18, 2006

(San Francisco) The first wide-scale launch of HD2 multicast channels begins January 23 in the San Francisco Bay Area, as traditional FM broadcasters KOIT, KDFC and MAX-FM each roll out a new, secondary format.

The three stations in the Bonneville International Corporation – San Francisco Radio Group have taken advantage of technology unique to HD digital radio to each add a new station to the HD2 radio spectrum.

KOIT, with a Soft Adult Contemporary format at 96.5 FM, now also offers an all-Oldies station; KDFC, broadcasting classical music at 102.1, will run ‘Deep Track Classical,’ longer and complete works and vocals, as its secondary channel; and MAX-FM, the home of Adult Hits at 95.7, will play all Disco, with MAX Fever, as its HD2 option.

“We essentially have three new radio stations,” said BIC-SF Regional Senior Vice President Chuck Tweedle. “All programmed locally, all commercial free, and all adding new and unique content. Listeners have more choices and more diversity than ever. This is a big step for free, non-subscription radio.”

To tune in these new stations, which are initially commercial-free, HD Radio listeners simply go to the FM dial position, then push the HD2 button. HD digital radio receivers are currently manufactured by more than 15 companies.

"The prices are coming down, and interest on the retail level is growing," Tweedle said. "You're going to see more and more HD radios in use. It's an exciting evolution of radio, and with our range of format offerings, we’re ready for it."

In addition to the new format options, all current analog radio signals are available as HD digital radio broadcasts (on HD1 channels).

Bonneville International is an award-winning, dynamic media company with radio, television, satellite, and advertising properties in Chicago, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Phoenix, St. Louis, Salt Lake City, eastern Idaho, and southern Utah. Living its three-fold mission of "People, Communities, and Profit" as a way of life, the company has a long-standing reputation and is known industry-wide for its values-oriented approach to business and programming, and for its nationally recognized commitment to serving the communities where it broadcasts.

(This article was also posted simultaneously at Radio-Info.com.)

January 13, 2006

Oakland A's Tab New #2 Voice

Vince Cotroneo has been named as the second play-by-play announcer for the Oakland Athletics, according to a press release issued by the team this afternoon.

Vince Cotroneo (2002)The Brooklyn-born Cotroneo (photo at right), 45, was previously with the Texas Rangers (1998-2003) and Houston Astros (1991-1997), and was named Minor League Announcer of the Year in 1988. He was given a two-year contract by the A's to work alongside Ken Korach on their radiocasts, with Ray Fosse handling color and analysis.

The opening in the A's broadcast booth was the result of Bill King's sudden passing last October.

Still not official: the A's new flagship station here in the Bay Area. I was misquoted in the Oakland Tribune a few weeks ago as having said that KNTS/1220 would be the team's new local outlet; I said no such thing, but that hasn't stopped anyone else from continuing to promulgate that rumor.

I'm sticking to my dollar bet that it'll be the KIFR/106.9 and KYCY/1550 CBS combo, although nothing — including Clear Channel's KQKE/960 (The Quake) or KNEW/910 — would surprise me. I would love it if Robert Kieve came along and added his KLIV/1590 to the A's network to help the team get a foothold in the Southbay.

January 02, 2006

Channel 104.9 Drops Rock, Gets Romántica

Clear Channel's Channel 104.9 (KCNL) has abruptly changed from Alternative Rock to Spanish-language Contemporary music, making the switch on Sunday (Jan. 1).

The new format comes along with a new identity, as the station becomes "La Romántica 104.9."

A feisty but slight downstream competitor to CBS Radio's Live 105 (KITS) in attracting Alt Rock listeners, the KCNL change to Spanish-language programming harkens back to the station's past as KBRG — no relation to the current station that bears those call letters, which had been using the "Romántica" ID until it dropped the format recently.

KCNL, once licensed to Fremont (it was originally KHYD and later KFMR), was relicensed to Sunnyvale under Clear Channel's ownership and currently uses a temporary transmitter in the hills east of San Jose, pending a move to a new permanent site nearby.