On Christmas Eve, 95.7 The Game announced that it will become an ESPN Radio affiliate starting on January 1. In the press release, parent company Entercom touted The Game’s coverage of the NBA, BCS, MLB, all through ESPN. It’s unclear which sports radio station in the Bay Area will carry Dial Global’s NFL national radio broadcasts. Both of the KNBR stations are signed with new Cumulus property CBS Sports Radio, leaving Dial Global/NBC Sports Radio on the outs. I had opined that The Game might hook up with NBCSR because of its somewhat cozy relationship with Comcast SportsNet, and because in the spring Entercom worked a deal with Dial Global to broadcast the NFL and NCAA men’s basketball tournament. Obviously that did not come to pass.
What will change? Well, if you’re sick of ESPN’s relentless self-promotion, prepared to be sickened even more by The Game. Periodic news and score updates should carry the branding. Interview segments will frequently carry ESPN reporters like Buster Olney and John Clayton. Overnight and early morning shows from the national ESPN Radio feed will be on The Game, including “Mike and Mike in the Morning”. Other short segments like Mike Tirico’s “SportsMinute” should follow. As for the actual lineup, there are no changes to the talent. After a bit of scheduling weirdness when Eric Davis and then Brandon Tierney left within weeks of each other, the lineup appears to have solidified.
- 6:00 – 10:00 AM: The Rise Guys: Whitey Gleason, Mark Kreidler, and Dan Dibley
- 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM: The Pulse with Matt Steinmetz [and a rotation of co-hosts]
- 12:00 – 3:00 PM: The Wheelhouse with John Lund & Greg Papa
- 3:00 – 7:00 PM: Bucher & Towny: Ric Bucher & Chris Townsend
- 7:00 PM – 12:00 AM: Guy Haberman
- 3:00 – 6:00 AM: Mike & Mike In The Morning (ESPN Radio)
Going forward, the best thing about the schedule is that Haberman’s show runs until midnight, allowing for extended postgame A’s talk, which will be driven in large part by the team’s success. Chris Townsend continues with the drive-time slot he has richly deserved. That won’t be enough to hold the interest of those who believe local radio is one Giant suckfest, but what are you going to do? Radio and TV ratings for The Game and CSNCA correlate directly with interest in the A’s, and when the A’s aren’t winning all that’s left are the hardcore fans. We’ll see if many of the fans who came back during September and October stick around this time. One thing’s for sure – as a presence The Game isn’t going anywhere for a while. Considering the nomadic existence the A’s lived on the radio prior to The Game, we can only be grateful.
P.S. – Logo shown is an approximation. Hat tip to Bay Area Sports Guy/Ruthless Sports Guy for picking up the news first.