Avoid the golden sombrero. Buy KTRB.

Over the weekend, Rich Lieberman posted an update on the KTRB sale that doesn’t move the ball forward much. At least he implores the team to buy the station, which I wholeheartedly agree with. For those that need a refresher, the A’s flagship station, KTRB-860 AM, went into receivership a few months ago as its owner, Pappas Broadcasting, continued to endure difficult bankruptcy proceedings. The A’s were a finalist to buy the station, but word was that they weren’t willing to overpay, whatever overpaying meant. Different figures were floated over the price of the station, Big Vinny believes it’s $12 million including debt.

The A’s have been able to forge solid TV and radio deals (CSN California and KTRB respectively), and they’ve gotten their feet wet having to organize programming since the station went into receiver during the last part of the regular season. They should by all rights be able to buy the station and turn it around.

Buying the station should be a complete no-brainer now that Billy Beane has struck out on three potential acquisitions. First it was Lance Berkman, who went to St. Louis. Then it was Adrian Beltre, who has now rejected the A’s twice. Now it’s Japanese pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma, for whom the A’s won the right to sign him by posting $19.1 million to his current team. The A’s had a 30-day negotiation period during which they could sign Iwakuma to a player contract, but the two sides were far apart on the money. That means that Iwakuma goes back to Japan and, if he performs well this upcoming season, will be a highly sought and even more highly paid free agent next winter (hello, Beltre).

Since the A’s are getting their $19.1 million back, why not make the big bid for the radio station? If the number truly is $12 million, it shouldn’t take much more than that to get the station’s transmitter issues resolved. There are scant few free agents worth eight figures per year at this point and possibly fewer who want to play in Oakland. That doesn’t mean giving up the free agent ghost, it just means shifting sights a bit lower with the hope that a few more 2 WAR guys makes up for not having a single 5 WAR guy.

Having a good radio station is part of a team’s media foundation. Owning a station that has good reception and programming will only increase the franchise’s value and revenue opportunities, so the move really is a no-brainer. Do the right thing, owners. Turn the page on this crappy hot stove period and get cracking on the radio station, because it’s a long-term investment that can really pay off. You know this. Buy KTRB.

16 thoughts on “Avoid the golden sombrero. Buy KTRB.

  1. hopefully this happens and they decide to keep carrying Rick Tittle. for my money he’s running the best show in the bay right now.

    • hopefully this happens and they decide to keep carrying Rick Tittle. for my money he’s running the best show in the bay right now.

      I agree. I love Rick Tittle. He gives A’s, Raiders and Sharks fans (as well as Bay Area soccer fans) a much needed voice. If the A’s don’t buy XTra Sports 860 and it becomes a Christian station, or whatever, I will be very upset.

  2. what can the a’s realistically do to improve the signal? even pre receivership, the signal was a huge issue for a lot of a’s fans. you posted in an thread a few months back that the a’s have to move to a directional transmitter at night which is why the signal is less “powerful” than it is during the day.

    860 at night is unlistenable. 860 as a whole really only has three shows you can listen to that are live which are ditto’s hour morning show, tittle’s 2 hour show and jj/mouth’s 3 hour show. went to 860’s website and it was pretty barren to begin with but at this time there is NOTHING there other than a front page and the email address of the “receiver” for the station.

    http://www.xtra860am.com/

    i’m wonder if there are any other mlb teams fan bases that have as big of an issue listening to their team’s broadcast on radio especially at night tha a’s fans have had not only with 860 but for a long time now. can’t understand any other pro sports teams have a worse situation on radio than the a’s have had and have.

    hopefully the a’s do buy up 860 and improve the local programming here although if you saw nov’s ratings, 860 which was making some improvements especially in the south bay got a 0.1 rating while 680 was the #1 ranked station in the bay area essentially for last month. i’ll never expect 860 to come anywhere close to what knbr does in terms of overall ratings but it’s nice to have just a alternative to knbr programming which for the most part is unlistenable especially if you’re an east bay sports fan and having somebody like tittle especially i think is a huge breathe of fresh air and if the a’s do buy the station, i’ve said it probably a millon times already dating to when 860 made the switch to all sports back in the spring of 09, hopefully they add a few local shows.

  3. in terms of pure sports call, i’d put tittle there with bruce on 1050.

    funny bruce before he was hired by knbr back in late 05 i think worked at sportsbyline which is the station tittle works at.

  4. Would love to see this. Perhaps a decent project for the management to keep themselves busy while we all await the MLB commission’s findings.

    @letsgoas Thanks for bringing up the key issue for investment. My question: is this something they could throw a million dollars at build a stronger transmission? If so, I think it’s a great investment.

  5. KOA AM 850 in Denver has for decades been a 50,000 watt station with legacy western/mid west nightime reach . They are one of a handful of stations across the country allowed to be ” clear ” over vast parts of the US. Partly a legacy of history as well as national security to broadcast civil defense warnings in the cold war pre -sat radio /pre-internet . As a result, stations next to them on the freq band ( such as KTRB 860 ) must ramp down their night signal so as not to interfere .

  6. i don’t know what can be done to fix 860’s signal.

    read that the previous owner of the station was “working” on the issue and then the station went into receievership.

    if nothing can be done because of that station in denver, pretty much stinks that even when the transmitter if fueled up as it was before the station went into receivership that’ll be still be hard for a lot of a’s fans to listen to games at night.

    course if and when the a’s move down to sj, i don’t know how well the signal will be at night down in the south bay if there are many east bay fans who’ve had a hard time trying to listen to a’s games for all of the 09 season and really much of the last season. gotta think there would be a solution by then 3-4 years from now.

  7. Pappas was working on having two transmitter locations: one near Livermore and one near Sears Point. If the A’s buy the station, they’ll have to do some studies to find out how to best cover the Bay Area at night, when the signal carries differently. Maybe the answer is to reapply for a transmitter using Pappas’ old information.

  8. roxy who is a host on jj/mouth signs a deal with espn. does that mean he’s leaving the show? he came on as months ago as a fill in guy during the week and then got a permanent job with the show.

    i know over the past few years that some a’s fans have wanted roxy to take over for g.kuiper as the a’s main tv play by play man.

    • @letsgoas – I don’t think so. He’s doing college basketball broadcasts, which are typically on weekends. I bet he’s a designated Western US guy, though they could shift him around when it starts to get crazy in March.

  9. what the hell would happen if the a’s don’t buy 860? can’t see them staying on the station if it goes to the religious group but you’d think they would have a fall back plan but it would really suck to lose out on having an alternative to knbr local programming which couldn’t give a damn about either the a’s or raiders.

    really only tittle gives an everyday outlet for the east bay sports fans and losing out on even his show alone will be a huge blow.

    always wondered how much do radio guys cost? in this economy and maybe low 6 figures for somebody estabalished to do local sports radio or is that too high? this a penny in the bucket for the a’s to pay out to maybe handful of individuals to do a local call in show or two and not “relying” on sportsbyline programming which does have the local slant with tittle and jj/mouth since they’re based in sf.

    • what the hell would happen if the a’s don’t buy 860?can’t see them staying on the station if it goes to the religious group but you’d think they would have a fall back plan but it would really suck to lose out on having an alternative to knbr local programming which couldn’t give a damn about either the a’s or raiders.really only tittle gives an everyday outlet for the east bay sports fans and losing out on even his show alone will be a huge blow.always wondered how much do radio guys cost?in this economy and maybe low 6 figures for somebody estabalished to do local sports radio or is that too high?this a penny in the bucket for the a’s to pay out to maybe handful of individuals to do a local call in show or two and not “relying” on sportsbyline programming which does have the local slant with tittle and jj/mouth since they’re based in sf.

      I don’t want to guess but I really don’t think Rick Tittle makes that much. I remember him even saying that he doesn’t. He still lives in Richmond because he said that his local polling place on election day was his old elementary school in Richmond.

  10. yeah the average radio guys don’t make a ton of money, unless you’re the big names in certai markets that draw the highest ratings. example i’m betting ralph and tom along with radnich do get paid a lot on knbr. so getting a couple of solid radio vets shouldn’t cost a ton of money considering they’ll help promote the team and just keep the teams like the a’s and raiders being talked about which doesn’t happen during the week pre tittle especially.

    mentioned before krueger who i’ve read is on townsend’s night show on sportsbyline a few days, dont’t know if that’s true as i really don’t listen to his show on a consistent basis. but what about former 1140 cohost lamb? he worked with napear for years in the afternoon time slot but short time ago he was let go. i believe he has a part time job as he works for fox sports radion on weekends but he’s said on radio before that he’s an a’s fan and he knows about the raiders so he could be very useful for a east bay sports radio station which 860 will be if the a’s buy the station.

  11. Agreed!

    The A’s need to be smart buy KTRB!

    It’s a freakin NO BRAINER!

  12. @Gojohn–that’s not good or A’s fans. Great, that’s all we need is more Spanish radio, who by the way, do pretty well ratings wise. Jeez, I remember back in the 70’s when the A’s were on KNBR and the G’s were on KSFO. Now, we’ve bounced a round the dial every other year. What a fricken joke.

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