Friday, October 28, 2005

WKNR/850 To Air Lake County Captains in 2006

It's not often that a major market sports station becomes the second affiliate for radio broadcasts of a Single-A minor league baseball team, but it's just happened in Cleveland.

The Lake County Captains have announced that Salem sportstalker WKNR/850 Cleveland will broadcast 120 games of the popular Eastlake-based minor league team in the 2006 season. It will not be the flagship station. That honor goes to Willoughby's WELW/1330, which has broadcast the team since it began play in Lake County. WELW will continue to air all 140 of the team's games, will originate the coverage, and play-by-play announcer David Wilson will be in his fourth season as the team's radio voice. The Captains are the Indians' "high-level A" affiliate.

OMW's generally thought that more play-by-play is better for a sports station, and WKNR hasn't had many "lakefront" (so to speak) PBP contracts. By far, WKNR's biggest contract is as the Cleveland home of Ohio State sports, and it also carries Cleveland State games. While we're generally a fan of minor league baseball (including Akron's own Aeros), we're not sure how it looks for a top 30 market sports station to "follow along" as an affiliate of a Single-A team, whose broadcasts are produced by a tiny suburban AM that can barely be heard outside Lake County at night. But...we will be listening, and we're sure WELW does a fine job on the broadcasts.

One thing in WKNR's favor - it's at least better than infomercials or paid quasi-sports related programming in the evening hours and on weekends.

2 comments:

Pat Cloonan said...

For what it's worth, WBGG-AM 970 (Fox Sports), Clear Channel's Pittsburgh sports station (a.k.a. dumping ground for sports also carried on CC FMs in the Steel City) carried about a third of the schedule of the Washington Wildthings of the Frontier League. WJPA-FM 95.3 in Washington (which is clear in Pittsburgh's South Hills suburbs) is flagship for that network. Also, WEAE-AM 1250 (ESPN), ABC's Pittsburgh sports station, carries the Wheeling Nailers of East Coast Hockey League (the Pens' second-string farm club ... if Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, the top farm club, turns out anywhere, it's WBGG, the Pens' secondary flagship after Clear Channel's WWSW-FM 94.5). WEAE tried unsuccessfully for Pitt sports after ABC bought it and changed its format some years ago. Other than Westwood One sports it shares in some cases with KQV-AM 1410, stuff ESPN Radio itself carries and being local affiliate of Penn State's sports networks, WEAE doesn't do much play-by-play, either — even going so far as to drop a tie with a regional high school sports network also carried on four other AMs in Pittsburgh (again, including WBGG and KQV).

Pat Cloonan said...

For what it's worth, WBGG-AM 970 (Fox Sports), Clear Channel's Pittsburgh sports station (a.k.a. dumping ground for sports also carried on CC FMs in the Steel City) carried about a third of the schedule of the Washington Wildthings of the Frontier League.
WJPA-FM 95.3 in Washington (which is clear in Pittsburgh's South Hills suburbs) is flagship for that network.
Also, WEAE-AM 1250 (ESPN), ABC's Pittsburgh sports station, carries the Wheeling Nailers of East Coast Hockey League (the Pens' second-string farm club ... if Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, the top farm club, turns up anywhere during the season in Pittsburgh, it's WBGG, the Pens' secondary flagship after Clear Channel's WWSW-FM 94.5).
WEAE tried unsuccessfully for Pitt sports after ABC bought it and changed its format some years ago. (Pitt stuck with KQV-AM 1410 at the time, then went to WRRK-FM 96.9, then went to Clear Channel's WPGB-FM 104.7, and WBGG, after its switch to news-talk. Jim Quinn also went from WRRK to WPGB at that time.)
Other than Westwood One sports it shares in some cases with KQV, stuff ESPN Radio itself carries and being local affiliate of Penn State's sports networks, WEAE doesn't do much play-by-play, either — even going so far as to drop a tie with a regional high school sports network also carried on four other AMs in Pittsburgh (again, including WBGG and KQV).