Thursday, August 16, 2012

Radio radio

The Twins made official on Wednesday what has been expected, literally, for years: The status of "radio flagship station" will be shifted from 1500ESPN (aka KSTP AM) to KTWN, an FM station that is owned by the Pohlads.

For those of us not in the metro area, this may not matter much. We're still going to tune in to a local Twins Radio Network affiliate. For me in Mankato, the only real difference is likely to come in March; the local affiliate, KTOE, typically ignores the weekday exhibition games. I've gotten a static-plagued KSTP signal on my car radio, so I occasionally hear some of the action, but generally not more than an inning or so at a time. There's no way KTWN's signal is reaching here.

I won't pretend to be an expert on the radio biz, but it would appear that the financial upside to this move, if any, is less for the baseball team and more for the radio station. The Twins have handled the production (and reaped the revenue) of the game coverage themselves during the six years or so that they've been on KSTP anyway; I would think that arrangement will continue.

The conventional wisdom for years on the subject of sports-on-the-radio is that even if the broadcasts themselves aren't profitable for the outlet, drawing the ears to the station gives them the opportunity to keep those ears for other programming. How well the Twins audience and the KTWN format (pop music) will mesh is not easily answered.

Baseball is said to have an aging demographic, but when I'm at Target Field, as I was Tuesday night, I see a lot of families and students -- and yes, some gray hairs as well. It's possible that this mix will take; it's possible that another change will come at some point in the future.

But I suspect if a change comes, it will be driven less by the baseball team than by the radio station.

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