FanPost

What's the frequency, Kenneth?

Now that we're a few weeks into spring training, I'm sure many of you have been able to listen to a few broadcasts on the A's new radio home, KTRB AM 860.   The A's have a one-year contract with AM 860, and as far as I understand, there is no FM affiliate as there was last year. 

When I read about the first details of the new station in the Contra Costa Times, I was thrilled to hear that it was a 50,000 watt signal.  I had always heard that KNBR 680 (also 50,000 watts) could be heard clearly from insane distances outside the Bay Area.  I assumed that this new A's station would have an excellent signal.  Evidently the A's shared my optimism:

"We are delighted to join KTRB in this broadcast partnership," said Ken Pries, A's vice president of broadcasting & communications. "Their powerful 50,000-watt signal will provide our fans with a clear and consistent broadcast throughout the Bay Area."

Sadly now that the broadcasts have begun, I have been very disappointed with the clarity of the broadcast.  FreeSeatUpgrade was kind enough to explain why:

It’s the concept of a clear channel, a radio station which enjoys protection from interference on its wavelength which far exceeds the protection a run-of-the-mill station gets.

In general terms, a clear channel station like KNBR is protected from having anyone else broadcast on AM 680 within over 1,000 miles or more. By comparison, there are a number of other AM 860 stations on the West Coast alone.

Since Friday I've done testing in most all the situations I'll be listening to A's games this season.  The results have been very mixed.

At work in Emeryville:  Zero reception in my office (loud buzzing static that completely drowns out the broadcast.)   Very poor reception in our warehouse, and even that awful quality could only be achieved by balancing my radio at a 45 degree angle using a couple of phone books.

In my office van (which has a bad radio):  Terrible reception when coasting that becomes completely unlistenable if I step on the accelerator.

In my normal car driving from Berkeley to Oakland:  decent reception, only slight static

On my portable walkman-type radio, walking my dog in Berkeley:  Rather static-y, but could be listenable if you're a die-hard fan. 

At home in Berkeley:  moderate reception in my kitchen, bad reception in the rest of the house.

 

I would like to hear how the rest of you are finding the signal quality of the broadcasts so far.  Perhaps you can check in with where you've been listening and what you've heard.  One of my great pleasures of the baseball season is working the radio broadcast into my daily life.  It makes me walk the dog a little longer,  my commute a little faster, and my household chores a bit more tolerable.  The thought that I will be fighting static for 162 games (plus the playoffs!) really bums me out.  I'm not sure if anything can be done to improve things, but if the majority of you are having the problems I am, I think it should be looked into by the A's. 

{sigh}  At least it's only a one-year deal?

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