KTRB broadcast deal in jeopardy

Apparently, playing hardball extends to the board room when you’re the A’s. They started the offseason haggling with Hisashi Iwakuma, now they end it haggling over a radio station. BANG’s Joe Stiglich reports tonight that the A’s and Comerica Bank are still duking it out over the final price to buy KTRB. The bank, which owns the station as part of bankruptcy and receivership proceedings, may be pulling A’s broadcasts off the air as a negotiating tactic.

According to the source, the receiver is looking for a higher bid than the A’s are willing to offer, and might be threatening to pull games off the air as leverage.

But it’s also possible that one of the sides budges and a compromise is struck to continue airing games before next Friday’s opener.

I was afraid that this would hold up the sale. Lew Wolff and Ken Pries have a week to prevent this from being a disaster. Do the right thing. Git er done.

56 thoughts on “KTRB broadcast deal in jeopardy

  1. As if anxiety-ridden A’s fans need another thing to worry about…

  2. Why is broadcasting, seemingly, always a problem?

  3. @Jeffrey — you get what you pay for… through the good and the bad years, the A’s are nomads on the bay area radio dial…

  4. R.M.,
    Isn’t Wolff on the Comerica Bank board (or something of that nature)? I thought I’d read that a few years back. I know their western regional headquarters is in downtown SJ and they’ve sponsored the Sharks/HP Pavilion. Nevertheless, confident and optimistic that this deal will get done.

    • R.M.,Isn’t Wolff on the Comerica Bank board (or something of that nature)? I thought I’d read that a few years back. I know their western regional headquarters is in downtown SJ and they’ve sponsored the Sharks/HP Pavilion. Nevertheless, confident and optimistic that this deal will get done.

      Just answered my own question: Mr. Wolff is on the board of Comerica-California. Not sure if that has any relevance to this.

  5. how much are they far apart possibly? i’d guess it’d be a few million.

    it’ll likely get done sometime in april but yet again something you thought would be a smooth transition when it’s been thought for the past few months that the a’s were the highest bidder beating out the religious and spanish groups that were supposedly also in the bidding to buy the station.

    hopefully the a’s buy 860 soon and they can make the station their own finally.

  6. Wow. If its not one damn thing its another.

  7. The A’s have had radio probs for years. Just think, when they first came to Oakland, they were on KNBR for the first 10 years and the Giant’s were on KSFO.

  8. well lets just hope the a’s end up buying 860 which they probably will and this issue with changing radio station every other year it seems over the past 10-15 years stops finally.

    and having an actual sports station to be on is a huge bonus as 860 will be the a’s flagship for decades to come where you can actually talk about the team thru out the day which hasn’t been the case really since the a’s move here. you know something that i’d guess every other mlb team has had for years and now the a’s finally get one themselves.

  9. You gotta love posturing. I swear, my poor Oakland A’s. If it’s not one thing, it’s another. I think they should have Stomper run around in a Charlie Brown style shirt this year. That’s what it sure feels like sometimes.

  10. The clowns that run the A’s don’t seem to be capable of running a baseball team. Lets dump these guys.

    • The clowns that run the A’s don’t seem to be capable of running a baseball team. Lets dump these guys.

      That’s just your opinion (one that the majority of A’s fans probably disagree with), and you are more than entitled to it.

  11. Oh, you mean it is up to us who owns the team?

  12. I wish it was. But I have never been impressed with the way they run things.

  13. Who cares about whether or not it makes business sense–just give Comerica what they want LW–and oh…by the way…would you please just give Oakland $500M in a new ballpark…who cares if it makes business sense..

  14. OT: I am heading down to San Diego in May. I am taking my 3 kids an spousal unit to a Padres game. Who has been to Petco? Where should I sit? Who knows of any ticket discount programs (AAA, etc.)?
    You may resume the bashing of ownership (and maybe I agree if you want to bash the VP of Broadcasting).

  15. When it comes to Oakland A’s ownership, there is the Haas family and then there is everyone else. Comparing every owner to Haas is a useless exercise because they were a once in a lifetime ownership. Look around baseball. Who else is willing to lose money year in and year out for the benefit of the community? Nobody outside of the motor city. Everyone always mentions how great the big market teams’ ownerships are, while the Tigers ownership doesn’t get nearly as much love as they deserve.

  16. I find it hilarious that the White Elephant Parade calls out inaccuracies and then makes the claim that “when ownership commits to the city” the team draws.

  17. @Jeffrey — I live in San Diego and take my seven-year-old to several games each year. As far as seating, the sight lines are, surprisingly, poor in the field level seats (lower bowl, closest to the field). I’d recommend the 2nd level seats on the field level (the one’s that are closer to the concourse) or the 3rd level seats — these are usually plentiful right up to game time and you can sit behind home plate with a great view of downtown San Diego.

    Depending how old your kids are, the “kids diamond” just beyond left field is terrific fun for my son and the overall vibe of the ballpark is quintessential San Diego.

  18. Thanks for the link, john. But man, only 1 of their call outs (at least for me) was valid, and that was my confusion with Ecronyms.

  19. @white elephant parade
    That graph really shows the exact opposite of what you’re claiming it says. Mr. Haas owned the team from 1981-1995. During the early and mid-eighties, attendance was mediocre. There were a few reasonably good years late ’89 early ’90s, when the team was made up of All-Stars and made repeated WS appearances.
    From 1989 through 1995, however, attendance fell off a cliff so steep I get vertigo just looking at the graph, and bottomed out far lower than Mr. Wolff has suffered. The fans abandoned Mr. Haas in droves. How do you explain that? Your post implies that this was due to the strike in 1993, but frankly, the trend began at least three years earlier and I don’t see much difference in the curve pre- vs post- strike.
    In contrast, so-called “carpetbagger” Steve Schott enjoyed increased attendance virtually every year he owned the team, despite zero WS appearances. Mr. Wolff has suffered attendance decline as one would expect during a cyclical downturn in team performance, but no where near as rapidly as Mr. Haas.
    I submit the graph shows no correlation whatsoever between “owner commitment” and attendance. If anything, it seems to show the fanbase has a mild preference for so-called “carpetbaggers.”

  20. @Bartleby–the Haas ownership really turned the franchise around for the better, as he did much of the heavy lifting for when Schottman took over, whereas LW/JF pissed it all away with his tightwad ways and dissing the fans and Coli at every turn. Haas’ worst year was better than Finley’s best year attendance wise. Finley’s best stretch from 1971-75, where they appeared in the playoffs every year, average around 930k. Haas; best stretch from 88-92, where they went to the playoffs 4 out of 5 years, average 2.6 mill. Schottman’s best stretch, from 2000-2003, brought in just a hair over 2 mill. The strike in 94/95, NOT 1993, hurt and the team really sucked in 93 too, hence the big drop off in attendance. They still dew 2 mill in 1993 with a 28 game drop off in wins from the previous year. What Haas did was quite amazing. They went from 10k to 23k his first year of ownership. Going to the playoffs against the Yanks helped, but there was also another strike too that year.

  21. @JK The fact that you are comparing attendance in the 70s to attendance decades later shows you have no understanding of how to analyze data.

  22. @gojohn–i know you hate me and everything i have to say on here, but i’m giving you a historical perspective on the attendance between ownerships. IS THAT OKAY, SIR?!! I’ve experienced those bleak years in the late 70’s with 1200 crowds, and seen the awesome transition into the Haas years when they actually marketed the team, improved the Coli, served good food, treated the fans with respect, and embraced the community.This ownership is almost reverting back to the Finley days, it’s gone full circle.

  23. White Elephant Parade’s “average ticket price” is wrong. Well, it’s right, if you say that there is an equal number of seats in every section. However, we know that’s not true.

    200+48+35+32+30+26+26+24+18+13+12+9 divided by 12 sections = 39.4166666

    It should be 200*a + 48*b + 36*c + … + 9*l = xxx, where a thru l are the number of seats available for that section. I couldn’t find that information anywhere. Since the number of higher priced tickets is lower than the number of cheaper tickets, the average will be lower. I know there is a Fan Value Index that is calculated every year, but even that is misleading as it doesn’t use certain seats in it’s calculation.

  24. Also, it’s funny how JK tries to attribute disagreements to hate, when they’re usually based on fact. BTW, how did Haas improve the Coli? Also, what was the good food they served?

  25. @Jk I certainly don’t hate you, and I may have been too harsh in saying you don’t know how to analyze data. I even encourage you to find some good data to support your claim that there are wild fluctuations in fan support directly related to the ownership. I’ve looked and it appears to me that there may be something there, but the effect is small. I do, however, resent manipulation of data to support an agenda. This is where the pro-Oaklanders lose my sympathy. Too often the cause drives the conclusion. To be truthful, I’m not convinced a new park in the South bay would draw better than one at VC (corporate support not withstanding). Presentation of flawed data is not only unconvincing, it is counterproductive.
    Back on topic, I thought the FCC required the holding company to keep the station on the air in daylight hours. Are these “technical issues” a loophole around that requirement?

  26. @gojohn10 – Absent a valid explanation, they are likely an excuse.

  27. @jk “the Haas ownership really turned the franchise around for the better, as he did much of the heavy lifting for when Schottman took over,”
    In what way? All I see from the graph is: As soon as Haas’ teams performance fell off even a tiny bit, attendance plummeted. When Schott’s team’s peformance improved a bit, attendance went up.
    Conclusion: Correlation between attendance and winning: Strong. Correlation between attendance and “owner love”: Weak or non-existent.
    I see no evidence that Schott benefited from anything which occurred in the Haas era.
    “whereas LW/JF pissed it all away with his tightwad ways”
    Tightwad ways? The A’s have made a number of significant free agent signings during the Wolff era. Payroll has mostly been in the $50-60 million range – comparable to a large number of teams with significantly greater revenue opportunities. In 2007, payroll increased to $79 million – 17th in all of MLB. Unfortunately, that didn’t bring about a surge in attendance needed to support such higher spending, so spending necessarily had to go down again.
    I think if you graphed payroll as a percentage of revenue, you’d find the A’s under Mr. Wolff have been among the more generous spenders in baseball.
    “and dissing the fans and Coli at every turn.”
    In what way has he dissed the fans? I am a fan, and I don’t feel dissed in the slightest. As far as the Coli goes, it’s an inadequate dump. Everyone knows it’s an inadequate dump. The A’s need a new park. You don’t get a new park by going around saying “Our current venue is just fine,” particularly if it is, as everyone knows, an inadequate dump. Let’s use some common sense here.
    “The strike in 94/95, NOT 1993,”
    1993 was the date cited in the White Elephant article, I just didn’t cross-check it. But the corrected date just strengthens my point: The huge falloff in Haas’ attendance was not caused by the strike.
    “They still dew 2 mill in 1993 with a 28 game drop off in wins from the previous year.”
    They drew 21K per game under Haas in 1994, before the strike. They drew over 26K per game under “carpetbagger” Schott in 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2004. Once team fortunes changed during the Wolff era, attendance fell off, but at a much slower rate than under Haas. Conclusion: Correlation between attendance and winning: Strong. Correlation between attendance and “owner love”: Weak or non-existent.

  28. Conclusion: Correlation between attendance and winning: Strong. Correlation between attendance and “owner love”: Weak or non-existent.

    Furthermore, A’s season tickets sales are up this year despite an offseason of increased focus from the ownership on SJ. Why? Because the team on the field is expected to contend for the division.
    Took this pic yesterday: CHAMPs storefront at Stoneridge mall in Pleasanton. Apparently they are confused about which territory they are in.

  29. @Bartleby–yeah, whatever.
    Schottman and LW/JF could never hold a candle to Haas in Class, Commitment, Community.
    Walter Haas treated his employees like family when he owned the A’s. In 1989, A’s employees returned the favor by presenting Mr. Haas with a plaque, and each employee dedicated each hours of community service in honor of him. Can you see the same thing happening with Wolff?
    He was a winner on and off the field, and is still missed dearly to this day.

  30. @jk-usa – You really need to get over this obsession with Haas. He was a once-in-a-lifetime owner and he knew his limits. He’s not coming back, and every owner since Haas has and will continue to be unfairly compared to Haas. Just think about the Bay Area’s baseball ownership landscape now. During the Haas era Don Fisher owned a large stake in the Giants. Now Fisher’s son owns a large stake in the A’s and it’s Haas’s son who’s partying with the Giants. Accept change and move forward. They have.

  31. @ML–i’d love to move forward, hopefully with new owners who really cared outside of their pocketbooks. This radio station situation is just more of the same with these guys.
    FWIW, there’s a Mercury News story on Neukom, “A giant among Giants.” They mention TR’s at the very end. He is one competitive dude.

  32. @jk-usa – You’re living in some fantasyland. Let me know when you want to come back to reality.

    BTW, Neukom lost the biggest case of his career. Wouldn’t be surprising to seem him lose another (even if it isn’t actually in the courts).

  33. @jk I never said Haas wasn’t a great guy. I’m sure he was. That wasn’t your original thesis. Your original thesis (oft repeated within the Oakland-only community with little thought or critical examination) was “A’s attendance has been great when the owners loved us enough, poor when the owners did not.” I merely pointed out there is no evidence to support that.
    As far as your comments on Mr. Wolff, they’re totally unfair. I’m not an employee of the A’s (I wish I were, that would be my dream job). I assume you aren’t either. So how would either of us know how he treats his employees? I could easily see a scenario where, having secured a new SOTA ballpark in San Jose and ensured the presence of the A’s in the Bay Area for generations to come, A’s employees give Lew a plaque at some point.
    Anyway, I’m sure the fanbases of many other teams would LOVE to have an owner like Mr. Wolff. Talk to Seattle Sonics fans. Or Cleveland Browns fans. Or Montreal Expos fans. Or Baltimore Colts fans. Or Los Angeles Rams fans.

  34. in the trib today little blurb about how the a’s announced that they’d be broadcasting on radio again tomorrow for the start of the bay bridge series but didn’t say they’d be on 860. speculated that if 860 falls thru that they may end up going to a station like 1550.

    honestly just hope this deal for 860 goes thru sooner rather than later. really hope the a’s finally can have a solid and long term radio home that 860 would provide. is it perfect, no but getting onto a perfect radio station with everything you want from signal to programming, especially the signal, at this time isn’t realistic.

  35. @bartleby–i’ve never worked for the A’s, but know for a fact that Schottman cleaned house in the front office when they took over, along with canning Lon Simmons on the radio side. Long time employees were offered modest severance packages for their “redundant” jobs. Infact, a long time ticket manager, who took care of me several times for my all-star game and playoff tix in the late 80’s, was let go by Schottman in 1996. I was bummed when I heard she was let go. Sadly enough, I saw her obituary from a few months ago in the Oak Trib. Her name and face rang a bell from 20+ years ago.

  36. Here’s the thing… The best way to judge a team’s ability to draw is to measure season by season attendance figures against the league median. The A’s have been in the bottom half all but 7 seasons. We all know this, I say it like once a week.
    To me, the WEP chart brings some interesting questions….
    If owner love is really part of the equation… How come the Haas ownership only produced higher than median attendance in year’s in which the A’s played into October (or were in contention right up until then)? I guess those were the years they showed a commitment to Oakland and in the other years they had a wandering eye?
    The Haas ownership was awesome. No doubt. They did what no other group has ever done in Oakland. They sold enough tickets to be in the upper half of all MLB teams. But they had more seasons where they weren’t in the top half. They also ran the team in a fairly unsustainable manner. Read the Blue Ribbon Commission report if you don’t believe me. So was it the spending more than they made? The years of winning? Owner commitment to Oakland? Some combination of these and other factors? Whatever it was, it was a relatively brief spike in attendance followed by a tremendous crash. Rationalize it however you want.
    It seems to prove that AT&T Park has helped the Giants to dominate at the gate. So the question becomes, does a new stadium in Oakland do anything to rebalance that? Does it do more or less to help or harm attendance for both teams than a Stadium in San Jose? Do attendance trends within the market return to how they were for the first 3 decades the teams shared the market or have the Giants established a foothold that can’t be broken? No team has dominated the ticket buying market for such a sustained period. So, I figure the answer for most depends on whether you prefer the A’s stay in Oakland or not. My answer is it can work in Oakland provided it isn’t just an updated version of the park across the bay. Oh, and someone comes up with a way to pay for it all that isn’t “John Fisher is rich.”

  37. No way the A’s/Rays contract, that would spell disaster for the owners in the upcoming CBA negotiations in the fall.

    The players in a last ditch effort would rather de-certify and sue MLB in Anti-Trust court to preserve jobs at all cost. The Curt Flood Act would then come in directly here.

    No only would 100 MLB jobs be lost due to contraction but 100s more minor league jobs would be lost as well in those organizations.

    Then there is the problem of San Jose being so silent to this point around a lawsuit despite the fact they have an incredibly good case. If MLB threatens contraction San Jose will for sure MLB. But that might be negated if Wolff/Fisher get the Dodgers as part of the bargain.

    I am sure Wolff/Fisher would take on the Dodgers and their big revenue streams in LA instead of building a new stadium in San Jose for the A’s.

    I am a life long Giants fan but that article on Bill Neukom makes me want to “throw up” everywhere. I hate that guy with such a passion for locking San Jose out of a team because of his own ego and selfishness.

    I doubt the A’s get contracted because of the players but if I was Wolff/Fisher I would gladly take the Dodgers in return to contract the A’s.

    I pray it never comes to that but I have to admit Poole makes a great point that if they contract both teams Selig can retire knowing he was able to get every single team “left” in MLB a new ballpark.

    I hate Selig too….Did I mention that?

  38. I heard MLB could expand rosters to “keep” the lost jobs but we’re still talking about swapping starting jobs for third-string jobs. Two fewer starting shortstop jobs, and on and on. The same amount of players chasing fewer premium starting jobs = lower player salaries. I’ll bet the players won’t bite on such a trick.

  39. For the umpteenth time all, the A’s (and Rays) won’t be contracted, much like the Twins and Expos weren’t.
    It’s much easier to put both teams in positive revenue situations (ala A’s to SJ) than to eliminate them altogether.
    Think about it: if you have an old single-pane window that’s draining money due to extreme cold/heat, you spend a little money and replace it with new double-pane.
    You don’t destroy/level the entire house and declare the single-pane problem gone! Relax all: the A’s will be in the Bay for the long haul, Giants and Neukom be damned!

  40. …Yes, it’s much easier to put the teams in positive revenue situations but MLB allows special, selfish interests of one team (Giants) to rule the day over what is best for MLB as a whole (moving the A’s to San Jose). I hope Wolff signs a 20-year lease extension with the Coliseum quickly if MLB continues to stonewall him on San Jose. Selig has proven he doesn’t want to make tough decisions by appointing a special committee to look at the A’s and then letting 2 years go by without reporting anything about it’s work. Bowie Kuhn had the guts to void Charley Finley’s fire sale of A’s players; Bart Giamatti kicked out Pete Rose. Fay Vincent kicked out Steinbrenner. How many tough decisions has Selig made? Besides the tie at the All Star Game?

  41. heard on tittle that the a’s will have an announcement later today regarding 860 or the station they’ll be on. hopefully it’s 860.

  42. and yeah i wouldn’t be too shocked that selig doesn’t make any decision and retires leaving this decision to his heir whoever that may be.

  43. Please join me in supporting Children’s Hospital Oakland by attending an A’s game. I am organizing a fundraiser for the Aug 13th game vs Texas. This is Ray Fosse Bobblehead day and will likely be an important game that will propel the A’s toward the AL West Crown. Tickets are in the Plaza level and are $20 (regularly $24). $8 from every sale gets donated toward the hospital.
    If you are unable to attend the game, please consider purchasing a ticket or two anyhow, and donating them. We will be working with various departments in the hospital to identify patient families in need and we will donate as many tickets as possible so that the kids and their families can be present at the game too!
    Tickets sales have to go through us and are on sale at the hospital. Since this is inconvenient for most of you, I can purchase the tickets for you if you paypal me. For more information contact me at the email I’ve set up for the event: ballgame@mail.cho.org.

    I want to sell as many tickets as possible so I am willing to split up the seating so pro-Oaklanders and pro-SJers can enjoy the game in peace 😉


  44. According to Susan Slusser’s twitter account, the A’s will be on KFRC for the Bay Bridge Series.

  45. is this a negoiating tactic by the a’s.

    well whatever happens this looks really bad to not have a concrete radio home during the week of opening day.

    really pathetic.

  46. What a sad day. 1550 cannot be heard in the East Bay( over the hill from Oakland) or South Bay( No San Jose radio). Lew Wolff you suck as a Businessman. Congrats to the fans in Modesto they will be able to listen to the A’s.

  47. also anybody going to the a’s tailgate before the game tomorrow?

    really? this tailgate party is replacing fanfest? how many can actually attend this thing? with it being on a tue during the afternoon, how many people will actually try to get off work and be there not to mention the a good # of kids won’t be able to go unless they can get their parents to drive them and again are people with kids gonna get off work during 2 or 3 in the afternoon to go home, pick up the kids, drive them to the coliseum and wait in line? remember when fanfest had 20k easy in attendance and now we as a’s fans get this sad sack of an event.

  48. Arrgh! Wrong email address for the fundraiser. I guess you know what is on my mind. The correct email address is ballgame@mail.cho.org.

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