Adding to the intrigue regarding last week’s reshuffling of 95.7 The Game, several radio announcements have been made in the last week or so. First, KNBR’s Tom Tolbert will contribute a minute-long segment at the top of every hour on CBS Sports Radio. (The segment is much like ESPN Radio’s Sports Minute with Mike Tirico, which is heard in other markets with ESPN Radio stations.) The new network was announced in June and will launch on September 4, anchored by numerous CBS and Cumulus stations, including the two KNBRs.
This CBS Sports Radio is different from the previous one, which was syndicator Dial Global’s (Westwood One) mostly game broadcasts with the CBS brand. The new CBS Sports Radio is a 24/7 sports talk network with no carriage of the four major pro sports at the outset. That’s no big deal for the KNBR twins since they have the Giants and 49ers. They’ll be fine, although I’m curious to see how much ESPN Radio remains in the lineup.
You may also remember that, back in March, Dial Global cut a deal with Entercom to switch its game broadcasts from KNBR to 95.7 The Game, coinciding with the NCAA tournament. Dial Global has the NFL, It’s additional sports programming to help bring in new listeners, though it’s not the same as landing a team like the Warriors or Raiders.
Turns out that Dial Global and NBC Sports are also launching their own network. They’ve announced a flurry of new hosts to fill their talk lineup, including the oft-traveled Erik Kuselias (meh) and former NY Giants (and De La Salle Spartan) Amani Toomer. Toomer’s show will be in the late night Eastern (10 PM – 1 AM ET) slot. Current NFL TV analyst Rodney Harrison will get his own weekend show. The interesting thing about NBC Sports Radio is its launch date: also September 4.
That lines up with The Game’s scheduled programming changes, which have a few details remaining to hash out. For now, Dial Global hasn’t said whether it’ll go whole hog with the NBC branding, but it stands to reason that it will. The name Dial Global has no recognition outside of the radio industry, and NBC has been thorough in having the NBC Sports moniker permeate all of its TV sports properties, from the former Versus network (now NBC Sports Network) to the Comcast SportsNets, which have NBC Sports as part of their tagline with every broadcast.
I’m merely connecting the dots, but it makes sense, doesn’t it? Come Tuesday, fifth tier Yahoo! Sports Radio will be ditched for NBC Sports Radio, which has much stronger recognition despite its startup status. Funny thing is that for decades, KNBR-680 was the NBC affiliate for Northern California, a stint that only ended as the station switched to the sports format full time. Throughout the 2000’s the A’s shuffled between CBS-owned affiliates before signing with The Game. Remember how I remarked how cozy the relationship was between The Game and CSN Bay Area/California? That may well have been a prelude to something much bigger. And there’s still the Warriors situation to shake out. September could be a banner month for 95.7, as The Game literally changes.