So, how do you like ‘dem apples?
Entercom switched KBWF‘s format from country to sports radio today, though the station is only playing loops of clips and sports-related rock right now. The Sharks will come along for the ride, though it is unknown if the Sharks broadcasts will switch over from sister station KUFX starting tomorrow, or if there will be a simulcast for the time being. Either way, this is FANTASTIC news for the A’s and anyone who wants an alternative to KNBR. It’s pretty horrible for the country programming folks with the old format, though that’s the way the business works. This will also allow KUFX to hone on expanding its excellent ratings in the South Bay to the Greater Bay Area. It’d be a good idea for Entercom to figure out a way to strengthen signal south of San Jose, as that’s a weak spot for KBWF right now.
Update: Relevant links:
It’ll be interesting to see what other content is brought in. Entercom’s biggest sports property is WEEI in Boston, which like KNBR is an ESPN-affiliated (but not operated) station. I would not be surprised if some of the WEEI talent came to SF as part of the transition. Unlike former KTRB parent Pappas, Entercom has the resources and reach to take Cumulus’s KNBR head on. They also have the enough inherent corporate bureaucracy to make running a station serious drudgery if they want. I’m looking forward to it.
More from Susan Slusser at The Drumbeat:
If this station picks up Stanford and if the A’s ever get permission to move to San Jose, Entercom might have positioned itself well as a South Bay alternative to KNBR. In addition, the A’s and Sharks have fan bases that feel particularly under-served by KNBR, so that gives 95.7 FM some hungry listeners from the get-go.
Walker tells me that listener studies show that 80 percent of those who listen to the radio stay on the FM side and never switch over to AM at all. He and Entercom believe there are plenty of sports fans in general who are listening to FM radio and who are currently under-served. SportsRadio 95.7 FM is calling itself the biggest large-market all-sports station in the country.
“We’ll be talking A’s and Sharks, two winning franchises that aren’t getting as much attention as they could,” he said. “But we’ll also be talking Warriors, Giants, Earthquakes, SaberCats.”
One other observation. To Ken Pries, Ken Korach and Lew Wolff: This is a damned good Plan B. Stations that switch to sports radio tend to be stable there as the content is cheap and limitless. Well played.
Update 2:10 PM – The first programming announcement is the addition of KCTC-AM afternoon drivetime show “The Rob, Arnie & Sports Show” to the 4-6 PM weekday block. KCTC, an ESPN affiliate, is owned by Entercom.