Slap Hitter: A's Radio finally delivers


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The Oakland Athletics have been on stations with stronger signals, FM capability and with far less right wing programming. But after yesterday's broadcast wrapping up the Boston series, I am a convert. KTRB, flaws aplenty is without a doubt the best forum the A's have had in years. Here's why...

The radio home of the Athletics has a baffling array of programs. In addition to the lack of proofreading on the station's own website, they also misidentify their own programming, uh...JT is the Brick.
The syndicated identity is a mystery as well. Is it Sporting News radio? Is it Fox Sports radio? Promotions play throughout the day for shows that don't get picked up on the 860 dial. Etc. The less said about Michael Savage the better. Except to say that there is one howlingly bad cross-promotion, where he is supposedly extolling the link between his John Birch style hate radio and Sports that devolves into an ad for finding gold. Anyway...

The amazing thing for the A's is that the station is living up to its spring training claim to be a real locale for Athletic supporters. The morning guy, Rick Tittle will talk A's ball for his two hours, then pass it to the real star of the station, a gentleman named Chris Townsend, who does everything short of fiddling with the antenna at the transmitter (I think). Townsend does a pre-game show and then will stay on for a post-game show for about forever. There doesn't seem to be any hard and fast standard. So yesterday's game ended at about 3:30 and Townsend's post-game show went until about 7:30 in the evening. I tuned in off and on all p.m. and was delighted to hear the game's post-mortem for hours. It sounded very much like the host just kind of wanted to keep going longer after the satisfying series victory, until he decided that he had enough. Townsend also hosts the stations overnight show, meaning, I think he is undead.

When the year began, I missed the chummy tones of the past year's post-game host, and thought that the "new guy" was trying too hard, had no legit connection to our downtrodden team and the station was another in a series of mismatches. My bumper would stick out six inches farther if I had attached a sticker for every station the A's had been on for the past twenty years. We've been on Christian radio, news radio, country radio, podcast radio and oldies radio. This year's masters said they were sports radio and then dumped 70% of their programming for the antagonizing Savage Nation. But honestly, like the tape and four-leaf clover construction that makes the A's, the radio station feels very familiar. God knows what they're doing. They are decidedly underdogs in the market. But for now, they have made a commitment better than almost anyone other than A's fans, and for that they deserve a listen.