So about that radio thing…

You know how we keep talking about broadcast revenues being a big part of the Twins income?? StarTribune reported this morning that Twins games won’t be on 1500 anymore after this season.

I guess that the big switchover to all sports isn’t really helping 1500 ESPN in the ratings OR in keeping the Twins broadcast. It appears that the game broadcasts will be transferring over to the Pohlad-owned FM station, KTWN 96.3 starting in 2013. The contract with KSTP was renewed for 2 years in 2010 – but it doesn’t appear that it’s going to happen again. In fact, the official announcement is supposed to happen tomorrow morning.

From wikipedia regarding K-Twin:

The move to “K-Twin”

On December 29, 2011, Northern Lights announced that KHTC would drop the rhythmic format and “Now” branding on January 1, 2012, and shift to a modern adult contemporary format, branded as “96.3 K-Twin.”[9] At Midnight on January 1 (after “In Paris” by Jay-Z and Kanye West was “96.3 Now’s” final song), the changeover to “K-Twin” officially occurred, with “Misery” by Soul Asylum the first song being played. The “K-Twin” playlist features, according to Northern Lights’ preview of the change, “today’s guitar based, pop alternative music” and similar, gold-based hits from 1985 onward.[9] “K-Twin,” though it is described as a modern adult contemporary format with an alternative rock lean, is classified as adult top 40 because of rhythmic content (such as Bruno Mars‘ “It Will Rain“) and non-alternative classic hits(such as Def Leppard‘s “Pour Some Sugar on Me“), and to differ itself from hot adult contemporary rival KSTP-FM (that station reports to the Mediabase/BDS hot AC panels). Even some 1970s staples can be found on the station, such as “Jamming” by Bob Marley. The artist roster on “K-Twin” features acts ranging from Bon Jovi and U2 to Adele and Green Day, along with songs and artists that, according to Northern Lights, “aren’t currently being played in the (Twin Cities) market.”[9] It leans in a much older direction versus KSTP; however, as ofApril 2012, the station is now on the Nielsen BDS hot AC panel.

Another noticeable emphasis of “K-Twin” is its connections with Twin Cities listeners and its employment of local personalities, including a morning show (which debuted on January 4) that features Tony Fly (a holdover from both “B96” and “96.3 Now”), former Miss Minnesota International contestant Danni Star (also a holdover from “Now”), and KARE news personality Eric Perkins.

With the flip to “K-Twin,” the station changed its call sign to KTWN-FM, which mirrors the calls on Northern Lights’ country-formatted AM station in Glencoe, Minnesota. The calls and “K-Twin” branding were originally used by what is now KQQL from 1968 to 1983.

Ummm.. yeah, I have absolutely no interest in any of that. I’ll listen to Twins games when I’m in the car but yeah.. maybe that format works for other Twins fans but not this one.

Then again, I didn’t really like the switch to ESPN. I liked LOCAL (which is why I still only bother with the guys I know and couldn’t give a crap about the rest of the new programming). I don’t really understand the media thought that people don’t just change the channel??? I don’t care about national media and I don’t care about the music format. I’ll just change the station back to what I want to listen to when the game broadcast is completed.

The article where I first saw this reported – on Minnpost – focused on ESPN’s perspective to the move. I have to admit that the story itself doesn’t really make sense to me. Of course ESPN radio would remain committed to a sports format… duh? Interestingly enough, they also think one of the only shows that I listen to on that station is apparently a “speed bump” holding the station back. I’m amused. If they lose the local shows, you can guarantee that I won’t waste a single moment of my day on am1500. I have no interest in the nationwide syndication that focuses on basketball and football ad nauseam.

Does that mean I’ll listen to KTWN 96.3? Only for Twins games.. when I’m in the car.. Seriously, people, why doesn’t this make sense to them?

Anyone know what this does to the all-important revenue stream?

4 Replies to “So about that radio thing…”

  1. Babs,
    I think, unless the Pohlads are planning to pay themselves to broadcast Twins games (which I suppose they could), that the Twins lose the revenue stream that 1500 ESPN was previously paying them.
    I honestly have no idea why they’d want to give that value away, but if it increases the value and profitability of the KTWN station a great amount than what they were being paid for broadcast rights, then Pohlads make more money, even if the Twins themselves make less.
    But I don’t really know how it will work.

  2. Obviously teams don’t “lose money” by owning their own broadcast rights or the Yankees wouldn’t have the YES Network broadcasting their games. Team owners like the Pohlads and Steinbrenners don’t care where their profits come from, whether it’s their baseball team or their media companies. In fact, there may be good reasons for preferring to see the profits come from their non-baseball companies.

    Beyond that, I’ll just paste here the same thoughts I posted in the TwinsDaily thread on the subject:

    I see a couple of possibilities at work here.

    Certainly, this could be an indicator that Twins ownership is dipping their toes back in the waters of owning/controlling their own media distribution channel. It didn’t work for them the first time with TV, but it certainly has worked for other teams since then. If they can make the radio thing work, maybe by the next time their TV rights are up for bid, they’ll be in a position to at least partner with a distributor and give FSN some competition for those rights.

    Another… and perhaps, unfortunately, more likely… scenario is that after two consecutive very poor seasons, they realized the money they might be able to command from 1500 or anyone else for their radio rights was tanking along with the Twins’ W-L record and now might be the time to see if they can use Twins programming to at least make the radio station profitable.

  3. JC, I think you underestimate Hubbard here. He wanted to compete with KFAN, so he switched the all news yakker of a station that was 1500 and changed it to all sports (part of that deal was to have Mike n Mike in the morning). The Twins are a good property for that, especially if the team is winning. The Hubbards wanted the Twins so bade that he wrote a check to the Twins for a million bucks per year AND the Twins got to keep all revenue from advertising during the game (Treasure Island Im sure paid big bucks to have their name stamped on the Twins Radio Network)

    ESPN 1500 will be fine. They have a nice stable of personalities (although I cant stand Joe Sucherray (sp?) and their web presence is pretty damned good: Phil Mackey me be an ass, but he pumps out a lot of quality content, 1500 doesnt carry the Vikings but Tom Pellissaro is the best writer in town and Judd Zulgad is no slouch. Right now, 1500 carries some Gophers sports (basketball and hockey(?)) but they’ll be in the mix when all the sports contract come up for renewal in a few years.

  4. James, I don’t doubt Hubbard’s desire. I was just assuming (dangerous, I know) that any new deal with 1500 would take in to account the different circumstances the Twins are in today vs a couple of years ago when the current deal was extended. Last time, the Twins were perennial Division contenders and now they’d be coming off a couple of lousy seasons in a row. I would think that would affect ratings and that ratings might preclude the Twins from getting such a favorable deal this time around. Maybe not, though. I’m far from a media expert.

    It’s certainly going to be interesting to see what happens with games broadcast on one channel and the ancillary programming on another.