The A's lack of a serious push to buy KTRB, their 50,000-watt flagship radio outlet in Northern California, speaks volumes about the way Lew Wolff views his fledgling franchise in Oakland.
Most teams radio stations begin selling accounts and setting up schedules almost immediately after the conclusion of the season. By doing so, teams can begin the process of selling season tickets, doing promotions and making it easy for their fans to begin the anticipation of the upcoming season.
The Giants work that avenue successfully with KNBR, which not only has significant dial position, but works their talk-show format around the team and has made for a very lively and yes, successful, union.
You can question KNBR for some of its questionable on-air talent, but you cannot deny its very cohesive and lucrative relationship with the Giants; both organizations have served to help each other.
With the A's and radio, its been quite the contrary. They have bounced all over the radio dial for the past ten-plus years, even during their successful post-season run in the early 2000's. Part of it isn't their fault, but during the past two-three years, their continuing failure to nail down a concrete radio deal is abysmal.
Yes, they did form a 10-year deal with KTRB in March of 2009, but as that station began to disintegrate with internal financial problems, it became evident the A's needed to make a deal: either look to another station, (maybe, say, KSFO?) or consider outright purchasing KTRB, which they can for essentially the cost of a Ben Sheets contract, (about $10 to $12 million.)
Instead, the A's are playing the wait game. They have made no direct and impactful move on KTRB and begin the process of selling the 2011 season. More to the point, all they have done is concentrate on the franchise's overt attempt to move to San Jose and thus, not only shrink the organization's fleeting fan interest, but make it virtually impossible to have a cohesive radio outlet that would help to promote the club both on and off the field.
That may be a wise business move for most organizations, but not for a major-league baseball team.
The A's need to get a radio outlet soon. While they spend significant time and effort pursuing San Jose as their eventual home, the fact is, even if, magically, MLB and Bud Selig award them the rights to Silicon Valley, (against the wishes of the Giants and their territorial rights, among other things,) the fact that they ignore the most integral part of a legitimate baseball business model makes it more a good chance that they'll either buy time on another small AM outlet on the dial or meander on a weakened KTRB so late in the game.
That's not good business. ON or OFF the field.