There will be no Oakland A’s games broadcast over the radio waves in the Bay Area in 2020.
Instead, all games will be broadcast on A’s Cast, streamed via TuneIn, the team announced Tuesday.
The A’s and KTRB did not renew the one-year deal they struck last spring, just before the season began. The hastily arranged partnership came on the heels of an ugly split between the team and 95.7 The Game.
Now, the A’s are moving again. They will be the first professional sports team to have a local radio broadcast entirely on a streaming service. Though the method will change, the voices stay the same. Ken Korach will return for his 25th season and Vince Cotroneo for his 15th season.
This also means that the A’s will be the first team to abandon an institution synonymous with baseball’s culture – radio is a method through which most people are accustomed to listening to games, to put it mildly.
“Baseball on the radio is timeless,” said Jeremiah Pansarasa, 40, an fan from San Jose. “Some of my favorite childhood memories are camping with Pops, sitting around a bonfire and listening to Bill King give us the best play-by-play in Bay Area sports history. ‘Holy Toledo’ (one of King’s catch phrases) is part of my DNA, and I would never have had that without Oakland A’s radio broadcasts.”
Pansarasa said the biggest inconvenience will trying to listen to games in the car.
“If there’s no game to listen to on the radio, I could stream audio through my phone to my car, but i could see how some would see that a hassle. I’ll figure out how to receive what I need,” he said.
Los Gatos A’s fan Adam Gerston, 39, will also miss radio broadcasts.
“I’m old school, and there is certainly something nostalgic about tuning the dial to listen to the A’s on the way home from work, or while running around town on the weekend,” he said. “But in the era of iPhones and Bluetooth, as long as I can easily stream games just as easily, then it really doesn’t matter to me.”
The A’s say they are betting on a more tech-savvy generation that might not necessarily listen to the radio.
“We’ve been looking to fans last year and the response to A’s Cast has been so positive,” A’s President Dave Kaval said. “Everything is to podcasts and ability to consume content in a more tailored way. And a lot of people are younger; we’re seeing more new fans. We felt it was really important this year that we continued to amplify the partnership with TuneIn.”
The A’s teamed up with TuneIn last season, making Oakland the first MLB team with an exclusive partnership with a live stream service. The A’s internalized feedback regarding 860 KTRB, a local station that features conservative on-air personalities, and decided to commit fully to A’s Cast.
“We always listen to the feedback of our fans and partnerships,” Kaval said. “We’re always listening and trying to make the decisions that are best.”
“The primary motivation for this endeavor is around fan development, marketing, and really understanding how a deeper understanding of that can acquire new fans... I think this is the direction of the future, we’ve always been an innovative organization.”
Anyone who might want to listen to the game will need to download the TuneIn smart phone application. Anyone who wants to listen to the game in their car will need to connect their phone or other smart device via auxiliary cord, CarPlay, or another equivalent method. Streamed games might not be accessible to people without that technology.
A’s Cast will also act as the team’s all-around source for team-produced content, including podcasts and live shows. A’s Cast Live with Chris Townsend will stream before each weekday game. The Dave Forst Show, the Bob Melvin Show and The Build with Dave Kaval – a podcast detailing the progress on the new proposed ballpark – will be streamable, too, along with a number of other programs.
A’s games will still be broadcast over the radio outside the Bay Area area on:
KAHI 104.5 FM/950 AM Auburn
KATA 1340 AM Eureka
KBLF 1490 AM Red Bluff
KDAC 1230 AM Ft. Bragg
KESP 970 AM Modesto
KFPT 790 AM Fresno
KHTK 1140 AM Sacramento
KMYC 1410 AM Marysville
KNRO 1400 AM/103.9 FM Redding
KPOD 1240 AM/106.7 FM Crescent City
KRKC 1490 AM King City
KXBX 1270 AM Lakeport
KIQI 1010 AM San Francisco
KATD 990 AM Pittsburg/Antioch
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC
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