View Full Version : Changes Ahead For WFAN!

04-27-2012, 14:42
ESPN Radio beat WFAN and CBS Radio to the punch and will debut on the FM band starting at 12:01 AM Monday morning. Taking over the old KISS FM frequency, 98.7. This helps them in a few ways. FM is more popular with the younger listeners who barely know AM exists. Phones, MP3 players and other devices/ Ipod accessories have FM and not AM. FM allows better battery life and usually lower cost than streaming with a phone app. It will help with their weak signal and FM is stereo and better quality sound but it is more about the easier access and popularity of FM over AM. Expect WFAN to follow most likely with 92.3 FM as their FM signal.

This is just the start though as ESPN wanted the "better" band and signal in order to help them with acquiring The Yankees or Mets after this season as both contracts are up. ESPN already beat FAN for the Rangers and Knicks. Unless CBS Radio ponies up the $$$, the Mets will still be on the FAN and the Yankees will move from CBS 880 to ESPN FM.

So, the changes are either the Mets are gone from the FAN which will then become the radio home of NY Yankee baseball or the FAN stays the same and the Yankees go to ESPN. This means no more Joe Girardi report as ESPN will close down the access that they now have being CBS radio sister stations. No turning point of the game with Benigno and Roberts playing Sterling clips since they can't play ESPN radio stuff. Yankee radio will be ESPN and the TV will be Kay which we never hear his calls on the FAN. Girardi will be on with Kay most likely for the manager's report. Like with the Jets, the FAN will lose a lot of access to either the Mets or Yankee players etc. next year as ESPN is known to do.

Hard to see Cashman and Yankee players doing breakfasts with Mike any more since they would be on ESPN and they could end up being real a**holes as they are known to be. They may just be stingy as ever as this is their chance/play to catch up to WFAN. They will probably do everything they can to hurt FAN and help themselves. Scary since I can see them getting the Yankees. They already have Kay and they have the $$$ and this is their big play so they might just pay whatever to get the Yankees as failure to do that is not an option. This is their only shot to ever really compete with FAN!

Things certainly look to be changing in the future. Feel free to discuss and give your thoughts on the change in band and possible changes in the baseball coverage landscape.

The Boss
04-27-2012, 17:23
The baseball angle sure is interesting. I think ESPN is good for sports the same way WalMart is good for consumers.

The Yankees on the Fan. Would be great. Mike could cut out early at 6 everyday for Sterlings extended pre game. One thing that is pathetic though is the Devil and nets games on the station. Losing them to ESPN is a big lose status wise even if they bring low ratings

04-27-2012, 18:48
I did change my title to a question mark instead of an exclamation as it is more appropriate. Still, we are fairly certain to see some changes. CBS has been putting sports on FM stations and the FAN move to FM is fairly certain. For example, Bull's station is FM, IIRC. ESPN grabbing a team is also pretty certain and then no way they they will allow FAN to still have both manager's reports on. The Ranger's and Knicks went to the highest bid I believe. They did not stay with the higher rated WFAN. I don't see that changing. As far as I know, CBS Radio or ESPN offers the teams contracts. The Knicks/Rangers knew ESPN had a worse signal on AM and worse ratings going in. Obviously they just took the highest contract and guaranteed $$$ and they get it no matter if ESPN/WFAN make it back with enough ratings or high enough advert pricing.

We do have have the rumors/reports and things are coming to pass. WFAN did strike first on 92.3.3 HD FM as was reported beforehand though HD radio was a baby step(or miscalculation if they thought it would take off and become popular). The reports of the moves started as soon as other stations have to announce they were giving up their signals. The only thing was that it was originally reported to be 107.5 WBLS that ESPN was going to move to. KISS and BLS merged probably due to some wheeling dealing so ESPN could get the better 98.7 signal. So, yes there is some speculation and limited knowledge but safe to say the changes are a comin' and FAN is gonna have to make changes in some fashion whether big or small.

The Boss
04-27-2012, 19:24
I dont think the story is out of line at all. The question mark is a good change, but speculating that WFan will follow suit and that things change over time isnt exactly irresponsible reporting.

04-27-2012, 20:13
There were a few articles like this one giving us some info...http://articles.nydailynews.com/2012-02-09/news/31043515_1_fm-frequency-fm-news-wxrk

Re-reading that reminds me that ESPN might have wanted 98.7 more but also WBLS remaining under black ownership was also a big factor in the merger of BLS and KISS and 98.7 being the open signal.

Like player contract talk we some info and direction and how things end up working out will be interesting. Sounds like there will be a simulcast and WFAN would still be on AM at 660. We'll see. WE do know that ESPN 1050 will not be simulcast but in Sept. turn to Spanish language sports talk.

The baseball teams contract aren't up till after this season so that won't be till later in the year. So, we have more speculation which can be fun and what we do in threads like this one. We know CBS Radio has both the Mets and Yankees. We know that they lost the Rangers and Knicks to ESPN last time out. I put forth that it looks like CBS isn't going to be able to re-up with both teams but you never know.

04-28-2012, 11:16
Great posts! The teams will go to whichever station gives them the most money. CBS pays the Yankees $14M and loses money on the deal. They pay the Mets $7M. I think ESPN will get the Yankees. But, I dont think WFAN will be shut out of Yankee interviews. Obviously, ESPN will have first crack at scheduled spots, however, the exclusivity that they have with the Jets has a lot to do with the Jets wanting nothing to do with WFAN. Hopefully, the Yankees will be smart enough not to alienate half the listening market like that. As for the game broadcasts, I'd be shocked if they kept Suzyn Waldman. She's terrible. I could see them keeping Sterling and teaming him with an established play by play pro. That way you still have his signature quirky home run calls, yet give the broadcast the integrity it's been missing. That's what I would like to see happen, at least.

04-28-2012, 12:01
Funny I dind't know the numbers. Yanks get double, wow! I bet they want nice increases as well. The Yankees have the leverage to get it and the Mets need and want some extra cash. For sure a great Hot stove this off season as it will be more just player contracts this year!

I agree on the Sterling point. He needs someone strong beside him. It is not as good as Yankee broadcast with him hogging the innings and the spotlight. Sterling is better in a bit smaller quantity and with strong color to help him out both with his not picking stuff up quickly enough and keeping him from going a bit of the reservation like he does now. I liked Sterling and Jay Johnstone(not sure if I spelled that right) best which was before Kay and Sterling.

Good point on the Jets which is true. That is part ESPN and certainly the Jets have problems with the Giants station and Mike in particular. Actually the Knicks may more of what we could expect to see. Glen Grunwald was just on with Mike but Coach and player appearances are certainly skewed to favor 1050 in amount. Shut down is a bit strong more than lessened with Mike losing one of the manager's report the biggest hit. ESPN is dying for those. They have Terry Francona and Bobby Valentine on Kay every week. Two Red Sox managers with weekly reports on in NY. Does anyone listen to that esp. Yankee fans. None of the moves change the fact that ESPN radio makes the worst decisions regarding their talent and on-air line up.

I am interested to see how the new signal comes in and sounds. Unlike WFAN they can use the better signal. Then it will be interesting to see the ratings progress, what FAN does as far as an FM signal. Strange, I have a little Sony Bluetooth adapter which also has an FM radio and in a couple days I can listen to Knicks-Heat on a little thing the size of a AA battery but much lighter. Since the 80's always hunting down little radios that have AM since you need WFAN and soon I'll never have to do that again.

The Boss
04-28-2012, 20:36
I hope the keep Sterling and Suzyn together, they go very well together. John wants to call all 9 innings and Suzyn if fine with that.

Something else, as far as the guests that WFan may lose if the Yankees go to ESPN, I could really care less. I am so over these coaching and athlete interviews on the radio. They are always boring and interviewee just evades everything. Even if it is Joe Girardi i just mentally tune it out or literally tune it out.

04-29-2012, 08:55
Getting the Yankees might be a bigger blow to WFan then we are thinking. One would have to expect that Michael Kay would benefit a lot on ESPN from this. With more spots some younger guys not so attached to Francesa may turn the dial.

04-29-2012, 11:15
I hope the keep Sterling and Suzyn together, they go very well together. John wants to call all 9 innings and Suzyn if fine with that.

Something else, as far as the guests that WFan may lose if the Yankees go to ESPN, I could really care less. I am so over these coaching and athlete interviews on the radio. They are always boring and interviewee just evades everything. Even if it is Joe Girardi i just mentally tune it out or literally tune it out.

Have to agree about the interviews. They aren't what they used to be. No real excitement as far as manager's reports/player interviews since Bobby V was Mets manager and Omar was Mets GM. Swisher is good but I can't say there are any other great personalities worth listening to. Jeter, Joe Torre, Joe Girardi, David Wright and the like are cardboard, vanilla, never say anything guys.

The only interviews I like now are older player where you learn about things from the past or when Mike has an author of a decent book on for an hour. Malusis' 40 minutes with Tom Seaver was the last real good interview I can remember hearing in many months. This is part of the problem FAN has had in general. No change in format, line-up, or how they do things for a long time. Stale and predictable like when Benigno says the same exact words to start every hour and end every show. They need changes and have for a long time.

Why do I have to drive around on Sunday morning after Rangers and Knick playoff games and there are Sunday PSA shows and talking baseball on the FAN? I never got why they treat the weekend like it is worth less. If I can listen to WFAN at work, I am still working. On the weekend when I can relax and enjoy it I get Neer and other sub-par sports talk or talk about aluminum bats and how parents making there kids specialize in one sport are doing them a dis-service. When it is boring and nothing is going on in the middle of the week they don't find other things to spice it up. Then a big weekend is coming up. Sunday is fresh after the big games and they don't put someone in to get into it and let the fans express themselves. Choose the listeners over hurting Ed Randall's feelings for crying out loud!

I actually hope CBS Radio is concerned over ESPN's moves and comes/evaluates WFAN and makes some changes. They put Bull's station on FM and gave it a fresher more, updated sound. Hopefully they won't just hand them one of their FM signals without doing the same kind of update to the actual content. So when I title the thread changes for WFAN, I am hoping for some good changes and not just saying they are going to lose things or be diminished. Just possibly the kick in the ass that they need to wake up and get with it!

The Boss
04-30-2012, 10:12
As far as the PSA thing goes, that is a requirement of some sort, I guess from the government. he lowest rated period of the week is like - 5-7 am Sunday morning so thats when you should hear it on most stations.

04-30-2012, 13:24
All I know is that ESPN has had FAN beat on the weekends for a while. Dave Rothenberg has gotten quite good and with Jody Mac on after the choice was clear over Neer and Evan Roberts so 6AM on Sunday morning I was able get decent sports talk and laugh at all the calls blaming the refs as the reason the Knicks lost. Nice to have something early with the morning coffee or exercise or whatever. Of course with this move to FM ESPN felt the need to destroy this and I think Jody Mac may be gone and DR goes to the 6-9 PM weeknight ghost town slot that is family time, TV time, and many times not even there due to a ball game of some sort. Now what I'm left with is listening to Fridays Czaban Podcast on Saturday morning and recording Gregg Sussman early, early Sunday morning while I sleep and listen to it later on in the day. Oh well! Not happy with how these new moves / changes have started out. On the wrong foot for sure.

06-02-2012, 07:36
Does anyone else think that losing the Mets would change the underdog dynamic that WFAN seems to cherish versus the larger ESPN "Walmartish"[1] entity ? Maybe getting the Yankees is just what WFAN needs in order to compete in this market -- to command the more popular/profitable franchise. Personally I'd lose some interest in WFAN if they no longer broadcast the Mets games...as a fan I prefer the franchise stories of the Mets and Jets vs the Giants and Yankees.

But like their facility move to Manhattan, the "little station that could" has to grow up at some point...they can either do it willingly, or be pulled kicking and screaming by fan-base demand.

As an aside, it would be nice to see CBS corporate fund WFAN to the point where they could have reliable phone lines...I don't hear the same phone issues elsewhere. But I digress...

[1] Good analogy, The Boss...

06-02-2012, 08:51
Underdog? The Fan has been #1 forever and has DOMINATED 1050 since their inception. That would be like saying the Yankees are an underdog to the Mets. So what that ESPN has a large national brand name. This is about New York and in New York it's not even close between the two.

Getting the Yankees is what they need to compete?? I suggest you go look at a ratings book between the two stations and you will see how silly of a statement that is.

06-03-2012, 09:28
This thread is about the possibility of ESPN radio getting the Yankee broadcasts. How will the ratings look after a year of soak assuming such an outcome ? That was my point about "getting the Yankees to compete".

Underdog? The Fan has been #1 forever and has DOMINATED 1050 since their inception.

When ESPN began broadcasting, where do you think their listeners came from ? Do you assume ESPN will allow their ratings to shrink in the NY market ? I think you underestimate them.

That would be like saying the Yankees are an underdog to the Mets. So what that ESPN has a large national brand name. This is about New York and in New York it's not even close between the two.

I should have been more clear; what I meant by "underdog dynamic" was based on the larger proportion of Mets/Jets fans that seem to comprise their staff. And that the fanbase of those teams often revel in their "underdog dynamic". I did not mean to suggest anything about ratings.

Getting the Yankees is what they need to compete?? I suggest you go look at a ratings book between the two stations and you will see how silly of a statement that is.

Again, this thread is about potential future change in landscape and what impact that would have.

Consider from a strategic business standpoint, what it takes to _keep_ their ratings lead. You could maintain the status quo, but in a competitive environment where ESPN is the market leader and they are right now considering ways to erode WFAN's lead (such as social media leadership), you have to do more than maintain; you have to be proactive in both short- and long-term timelines.

I suggested the Yankees as a way of increasing (perhaps at some cost of listeners and even staff-turnover) listener count. This may not be palatable to their management or fanbase (including me) -- no doubt there are other possibilities.

In a mutually-assured-destruction competitive atmosphere, where each entity blocks access to their teams to competitors, and no one entity has access to content/players from all teams, consider what would provide the best competitive position -- being home to the Yankees or Mets.

Also note that despite WFAN's longevity, sports is ESPN's neighborhood. They are the dominant force at a national scale. Can we quantify CBS's resolve to compete with ESPN in NY ? How many other markets is CBS leading ESPN ? It's quite possible ESPN already has a winning formula.

Will be interesting to see how far CBS will go; is this a battleground CBS will accept, given they are apparently willing to cede Yankees broadcasts to ESPN already ?

Is this a money-saving move ? If so, I suggest mis-management for not being able to yield a profit from Yankees radio.

For context, I want to mention I am a life-long Mets and Jets fan who loves WFAN.

06-04-2012, 16:21
Obviously ESPN is trying to gain ground. The thread is more about possible changes like instead in a couple years you may be listening to Yanks games on the FAN etc. They probably will never catch them but it is their last big move and it will be more interesting to check the ratings out than it has been.