Texas Rangers Swear the New FM Broadcast Won't Leave Outlying Areas Without Their Ball

Several Friends of Unfair Park have asked why the Rangers would broadcast a majority of their games on The Fan, when KRLD-AM has such a mammoth signal, especially at night. Which is why I called John Blake, the team's recently returned exec vice president of communications, to discuss the decision behind the move to KRLD's FM sister during weekday broadcasts.

So, John, some folks aren't happy with the decision at all. They're worried they'll no longer get Rangers games in outlying areas. Why, then, the move to The Fan for weekday broadcasts?

From an FM-signal strength, the positives are it's a much stronger signal in the range of 100-plus miles. You can't get KRLD-AM in our office and in a lot of offices downtown. And we have addressed that issue about the outer markets. I did a lot of driving in the last month to see how far [The Fan's] signal goes. You can get it in Waco and pretty far out. In the areas that are affected, which is Oklahoma and East Texas, we do have stations in Tyler and Longview, and one of the things we've asked CBS Radio to do is to help ramp up the network. That's kind of where we're at.

How much of the deal is an attempt to beef up the Texas Rangers Radio Network via the CBS Radio and its FM affiliates?

One of the things working against them on the network was [that] the AM signal was so strong. They're going to make a concerted effort to fill in the gaps where the FM signal doesn't reach at night. We'll watch it very closely. Certainly, we did a lot talking with them about that and tried to weigh it into our decision, and they assured us they'll do everything they can to fill in those areas that may be affected. They're optimistic. We haven't had a station in Oklahoma City for several years, and they have a pretty good lead [on one] up there. That's pne of the things we'll monitor carefully.

What are the terms of the deal?

We have two years left with KRLD. We went into this basically seeing how it'll work this year. We have no commitments after 2009.

So, The Fan could, in fact, just be a one-year experiment?

We hope not. We see a lot of upside and opportunity. But we'll see how it goes. We're excited about it. I think baseball in FM will sound great. And KRLD, the AM station, is hit or miss in this area. You get complaints 30 miles from here sometimes. So I think you gotta weigh it. But we wanna make sure everyone in the outlying areas can hear the games. We'll work with them. They've made that commitment to us. We want to get the network back up again. Trust us, we're not taking this lightly.

KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky