Friday, February 11, 2005


WTOP jumps back into the fray, on a split-squad basis; fictional stations like WKRP apparently the only ones now not interested

From DCRTV, jumping off a bare-bones report by the Post:

Might Bonneville's all-news WTOP be back in talks with the Nationals? That's what DCRTV's been hearing. Apparently, baseball officials want
the team's games on an AMer. We're being told that Bonneville is thinking about putting the team on 1500 AM, which is 50,000-watts day and night, while keeping the 24/7 news, traffic, and weather on its other WTOP frequencies, including 107.7 FM and 820 AM. Years ago, 1500 AM carried the Orioles.


Here is DCRTV's skinny on the 1500-AM signal:

The problem with this station is not the news format, but the signal. This 50,000 watt monster can't make it a few miles across the Potomac without severe fading. But, because of its highly directional transmitter, it can often be heard at night in Europe.

Well, that seems a bit problematic, doesn't it?

So, my advice to the Nats and/or the lovely MLB trustees is to say to Bonneville, "Alright, yo. It's all three signals or bust."

I should add that DCRTV also repeats the Post's blurb at the end of the article that WJFK-FM is still in the lead. Vegas continues to monitor the situation.

One last note: The linked Post article actually chronicles the frustration and anger associated with buying Nats tickets---well, at least the Code Orange "pissed off" registered by fans as a result of the slight technical problems that nearly turned the partial season ticket e-grab-bag into cyber-mob-violence:

Dave Scarborough, the executive vice president for technology at Ticketmaster, said the company's software failed to efficiently handle the
requests because it is "not quite as sophisticated" as it needs to be.

Pursuant with FCC-approved language, "No poop, Columbo."

Considering all the hubbub WTOP has made over recent years about maintaining a 24/7 news presence, it's very doubtful that the station would give up all of its frequencies to baseball. At this late point, it's doubtful that the Nationals & MLB have the leverage to force that issue anyway.
I agree, Everett, which is why the Nats/MLB should say "No deal." What's the point of running your games on a station whose nightime signal can't penetrate much of NoVa? (A situation mitigated somewhat but not resolved by the fact that most of the games will occur during the summer months; great, the signal will tune out during the bottom of the 6th instead of the top of the 3rd.)

This might work if they were to sign up affiliates to fill logical gaps, but as the Richmond debacle demonstrated, it's getting late for that.

The Nats/MLB don't lack for options; there are at least three other suitors on board, which is part of the frustration. They need to pick one, and they don't need WTOP AM-1500 at this point.
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