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redsmetz
10-07-2007, 10:34 AM
This is the type of business move that is important for this club to succeed - particularly working to expand the wider market. One of the horrible legacies of the Marge Schott era was ceding some of Reds country just as the Indians were on the ascent. Back in the day, Cincinnati wasn't considered "small market" because we drew from a considerably wide market. I'm hoping this will help return us to that day.


Pitches could pay off
Team negotiating to take back ad sales from WLW
BY DUSTIN DOW | DDOW@ENQUIRER.COM

The Major League Baseball playoffs are here, and for the 12th straight season the Reds aren't participating. But behind the scenes, team officials are negotiating a plan they hope will help generate money to field a more competitive team.

The Reds want to take over advertising sales of the Reds on Radio broadcasts from WLW-AM (700) and employ a team-controlled model of marketing that proved successful here in the "Big Red Machine" days of the mid-1970s.

WLW has controlled ad sales since 1984, when Marge Schott took over the team and relinquished sales control in exchange for licensing fees.

By assuming control of ad sales for Reds on Radio broadcasts, the team hopes to more effectively target fans from places such as Louisville, Lexington, Columbus and Indianapolis and bring them to Great American Ball Park.

"With higher attendance comes increased payroll, and we need to draw from all areas of the Reds Radio Network - one of the strongest networks in all of baseball," said Bill Reinberger, Reds vice president of corporate sales and marketing.

Reinberger said an announcement is expected soon.

Chuck Fredrick, general manager at WLW, told The Enquirer he would not comment on the deal until it is signed, but stressed that no deal has yet been agreed to by both sides.

Reds chief operating officer John Allen also declined to comment, citing the sensitive nature of the negotiations.

Currently, WLW pays the Reds about $3.8 million a year in licensing fees to carry the games, according to advertising-buying consultant Rob Riggsbee of Inside Media. The station keeps the revenue generated by advertising during those games.

In the radio rights renegotiations with WLW, the Reds sought more marketing opportunities. WLW, which has carried Reds games since 1969, balked at paying high licensing fees.

Under the new contract, WLW no longer would pay the licensing fees. The station would be limited, however, to selling ads before and after the pre- and postgame shows and in a small capacity during the game. That would allow WLW to retain the lucrative "drive time" sales period prior to weeknight games when freeways are packed with radio listeners.

The Reds would take over promoting the games and selling advertising spots for Reds on Radio broadcasts.

Millions of dollars are at stake for the team. In 2006, WLW billed for approximately $5.3 million in ad sales, according to Riggsbee. After paying the Reds $3.8 million in licensing fees, WLW had a profit of $1.5 million in advertising sales, Riggsbee said.

Riggsbee said those numbers should be similar for 2007.

The Reds want to draw more fans outside of Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, and they say they have more interest than WLW in boosting attendance and bundling in-stadium advertising with radio spots.

The team plans to work with local stations to conduct promotional days in the various cities, enabling the stations to do ticket "give-aways," or as Reinberger put it, "have a Reds day in Indianapolis that will help build ticket sales here."

"In our core outer markets, Louisville, Lexington, Columbus, Indianapolis, Huntington and Charleston, we can connect more actively with our fans through our local radio stations in their morning drive and daytime programming to help promote us and drive attendance throughout Reds country," he said.

An average of 25,415 fans came to the 81 home games this season, the second-lowest per-game average since the stadium opened in 2003.

According to the Reds' most recent available data, at the end of May 2007 nearly 1.3 million tickets had been purchased for the season. About 27.7 percent of those sales came from outside Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky.

The Reds' paid attendance for 2007 was 2.06 million. Out-of-town sales typically increase during summer when school is out.

Team payroll increased to $69 million this season, up from $60 million in 2006. It's not yet clear how soon the control of radio advertising and marketing will pay off in terms of creating new money to sign free-agent players or retain current ones.

"The Reds are going about this the right way," said Roger Ruhl, who was the team's marketing director from 1971-83. "When we controlled radio ads, it helped us grow beyond the intense baseball fan to reach the casual and even non-fans."

Assuming the deal is signed, the average fan listening to the radio broadcasts won't notice any changes.

Games still will be carried on WLW and the 46 affiliate stations within the Reds radio network.

The Reds briefly entertained moving their games to a different flagship station, Reinberger said, but the tradition of WLW proved too valuable to leave.

Reds games are not certain to remain on WLW, however, until the contract is signed.

Ratings for Reds on Radio are robust, despite the team's losing ways. Though the Reds have yet to finish with a winning record in either of Castellini's two seasons as owner, more people are listening.

Spring 2007 ratings, the most recent available, show that WLW's weeknight listeners from 7-10 p.m., the normal game time, increased 5.3 percent from 2004. More than 18 percent of local adult listeners were tuned to Reds broadcasts last spring during that time slot, the most of any local radio station.

The broadcasts have been outperforming even the "honeymoon period" of 2000 when the Reds acquired Ken Griffey Jr., according to Riggsbee.

"Reds on Radio has accomplished a feat that most sports radio industry observers agreed would be highly unlikely that they would be able to accomplish because of their strong loss-of-games record through the first half of the season," Riggsbee said.

"The theory is that the more games a team wins, the better ratings, but likewise, the more games a team loses the lower the ratings. Not so with the Reds on Radio broadcast."

SunDeck
10-07-2007, 11:27 AM
I'd be happy if I could just get the games consistently on radio here in Bloomington. Some people are able to, but it really depends on where one lives. Anything would help- I can't stand living and hour and a quarter from Cincinnati and seeing more Cubs and Cards fans than I do Reds fans.

Unassisted
10-07-2007, 11:47 AM
No matter how this shakes out, we should give credit where credit is due. The guy who refused to comment for the story is likely the driving force behind it. Way to innovate, John Allen!

traderumor
10-07-2007, 11:51 AM
No matter how this shakes out, we should give credit where credit is due. The guy who refused to comment for the story is likely the driving force behind it. Way to innovate, John Allen!My guess is its Phil Castellini and the influence of the Williams' brothers.

Yachtzee
10-07-2007, 11:53 AM
I've been waiting for them to expand their marketing beyond Hamilton County for years. Nice to seem them coming around.

MartyFan
10-07-2007, 12:16 PM
And if these negotiations fail, the Reds will eventually buy their own radio station and broadcast the games on that station...it is a no brainer because of the amount of inventory it opens up to them.

It is in these two paragraphs that explain why it makes sense to take the Reds games to a smaller signal in Cincinnati.


The team plans to work with local stations to conduct promotional days in the various cities, enabling the stations to do ticket "give-aways," or as Reinberger put it, "have a Reds day in Indianapolis that will help build ticket sales here."

"In our core outer markets, Louisville, Lexington, Columbus, Indianapolis, Huntington and Charleston, we can connect more actively with our fans through our local radio stations in their morning drive and daytime programming to help promote us and drive attendance throughout Reds country," he said.

The flame thrower of WLW in this instance is a minus, not a plus.

Hoosier Red
10-07-2007, 12:27 PM
I'd be happy if I could just get the games consistently on radio here in Bloomington. Some people are able to, but it really depends on where one lives. Anything would help- I can't stand living and hour and a quarter from Cincinnati and seeing more Cubs and Cards fans than I do Reds fans.

What side of town do you live on SunDeck? When I was in school, WLW was the best AM reception(including 1370) unless I was on the 45-46 bypass. Inexplicably it always went out there.

KronoRed
10-07-2007, 02:03 PM
This would be a good thing, the Reds should be in charge of their product

WVRedsFan
10-07-2007, 02:24 PM
This is particularly good news for those of us who live in outer-lying areas. There once was a time when all the towns in
WV had the Reds on radio. Charleston, Huntington, Logan, Beckley, Bluefield, and yes, even my little town. Today there is only Charleston and Huntington with low-powered AM stations and no promotion. I think there are three of us left in my town who follow the Reds. Part of it has to do with MLB (and the Pittsburgh freaking Pirates) claiming this area as "home", cutting us out of TV broadcasts.

Luckily, Directv's EI package fixed that for those of us with dishes and Suddenlink cable's unusually sane decision to carry all of the Reds FSO games on a dedicated channel separate from their FS normal outlet -- Fox Sports Pittsburgh. Adn then there's XM, but all three require a paid subscription.

Chip R
10-07-2007, 02:44 PM
This would be a good thing, the Reds should be in charge of their product


Hopefully they can market it better. It's like the dog who chased cars and he finally caught one. Now what does he do with it?

BCubb2003
10-07-2007, 03:08 PM
strong loss-of-games record

I don't think I've ever heard it put quite that way.

KronoRed
10-07-2007, 03:14 PM
Hopefully they can market it better. It's like the dog who chased cars and he finally caught one. Now what does he do with it?

Could they do any worse then what 700 does? I doubt it.

UKFlounder
10-07-2007, 06:56 PM
Could they do any worse then what 700 does? I doubt it.

I don't doubt it. Why would you think they could take the chicken (spit) product they produce and make it seem like chicken salad through marketing?

Create a good product to market, then market it, but as long as they're selling 5th place, 90 loss teams, then marketing is their lesser problem.

redsmetz
10-07-2007, 07:58 PM
I don't doubt it. Why would you think they could take the chicken (spit) product they produce and make it seem like chicken salad through marketing?

Create a good product to market, then market it, but as long as they're selling 5th place, 90 loss teams, then marketing is their lesser problem.

I think you're missing the forest for the trees. In the last 20 years, the Reds ceded a significant portion of their market. Anything they can do to regain it (including advancing additional, local radio stations) will help increase the quality of the product on the field.

LoganBuck
10-07-2007, 11:00 PM
Once more the Reds play most of their games after dark.

Low Powered Stations have atrocious low powered signal quality after dark.

Whole sections of the state of Ohio would be cut off after dark. Basically anything north of Troy to south of Wapakoneta, east of Fort Wayne and West of Columbus would be without a quality radio signal.

I will not buy XM, WLW is the only quality signal for those of us who live in the sticks. I know some of you don't like their right leaning politics, but cut them some slack they do a good job covering the Reds.

REDREAD
10-07-2007, 11:46 PM
No matter how this shakes out, we should give credit where credit is due. The guy who refused to comment for the story is likely the driving force behind it. Way to innovate, John Allen!


Actually, John Allen kept the status quo the way Marge left it.
The radio contract was renewed under his watch.
My guess is that it's Cast's people that are thinking bigger.

Caveat Emperor
10-08-2007, 01:16 AM
Once more the Reds play most of their games after dark.

Low Powered Stations have atrocious low powered signal quality after dark.

Whole sections of the state of Ohio would be cut off after dark. Basically anything north of Troy to south of Wapakoneta, east of Fort Wayne and West of Columbus would be without a quality radio signal.

If that is a concern, then the Reds need to get back to the business of signing up more affiliates around the state to up their coverage range.

This whole conversation really begs the question of how important radio is for following the Reds. I'd argue that today, with some 65-70% of the country hooked up to the internet and cable numbers at roughly the same rate (64.1% by the most recent studies), radio has become the secondary and, in some cases, tertiary way of following a sports franchise. I'd say it is almost certain that radio doesn't attract new, young fans to the sport the way it once did. Kids are more likely to watch games on TV or follow them online than spend time trying to find an AM signal out of Cincinnati to listen to the games at night.

Plus, there is definitely an argument to be made that if you're living in Wapakoneta and refuse to pay for cable to follow the Reds that it makes you a less than desirable demographic for the ballclub and the advertisers that support its product on radio.

I'm not sure what the right answer is, but I'm pretty confident having a 50,000 watt flagship station doesn't mean nearly as much as it once did.

Unassisted
10-08-2007, 01:31 AM
Actually, John Allen kept the status quo the way Marge left it.
The radio contract was renewed under his watch.
My guess is that it's Cast's people that are thinking bigger.
Maybe John wanted to do this before, but the previous regime wouldn't let him? Regardless, he's the point man on it, so if it works, he should get some credit.

WVRedsFan
10-08-2007, 02:39 AM
I'm not sure what the right answer is, but I'm pretty confident having a 50,000 watt flagship station doesn't mean nearly as much as it once did.

It does if you live in a rural area (which takes in most of Kentucky and West Virginia--two prime markets for the Reds) and don't have the desire or the money to subscribe to XM.

Plain an simple, the outlaying areas, if they are to become rabid Reds fans, need the exposure to the product. I'll admit that over the last 7 or so seasons, it was probably a good thing that the Reds didn't have the exposure, but in the future, the hope would be that they do.

One of the things that management and the PR department hasn't realized in the near past is that you reach the fan base whenever and wherever you can. They hacked off local affiliates becasue they thought they could ride the BRM forever and it didn't happen. They need WLW now. When you consider that all of WV is considered Pirate country by MLB and having internet access in WV means dialup to over 60% of the state, you need a 50K station to beam the good news to us in the hinterlands. If you want to give that up and make it a Cincinnati-only (and Northern Kentucky) team, then alright.

redsmetz
10-08-2007, 06:39 AM
Once more the Reds play most of their games after dark.

Low Powered Stations have atrocious low powered signal quality after dark.

Whole sections of the state of Ohio would be cut off after dark. Basically anything north of Troy to south of Wapakoneta, east of Fort Wayne and West of Columbus would be without a quality radio signal.

I will not buy XM, WLW is the only quality signal for those of us who live in the sticks. I know some of you don't like their right leaning politics, but cut them some slack they do a good job covering the Reds.

I'm left leaning and the station's general politics don't bother regarding Reds games, albeit with one exception. My exception is the faux ads that WLW runs from time to time which were fairly derogatory and had no place running during the Reds games. I meant to write to the Reds to complain, but then didn't follow through (that was my bad). That said, I think they need a good combination of a high wattage broadcaster and local stations. On the other hand, maybe it's time for the FCC to reconsider the set up of "clear channel" stations - it's a 70 year old anachronism - the public interest might be better served by eliminating the archaic rule that these local stations have to drop down their broadcasting wattage at night.

Ltlabner
10-08-2007, 12:09 PM
This whole conversation really begs the question of how important radio is for following the Reds.


Spring 2007 ratings, the most recent available, show that WLW's weeknight listeners from 7-10 p.m., the normal game time, increased 5.3 percent from 2004.

I agree that amoungst younger folks, with internet access, radio is down the list of options. But for rural folks unable to access high-speed internet, or older folks it appears that radio is still a viable way to listen to a ballgame. And much of Reds territory includes areas with lower high-speed internet usage (as WVRedsfan pointed out), WVA, Eastern and Western Kentucky, even parts of Tenn. And not everybody wants to shell out the jack for the cable/direct TV packages to catch bits and pieces of every game (and then you are tied to the TV to view it).

One thing the radio offers is the ability to do other things while listening. Internet means you are tied to wherever the computer is. No working in the garage. No headphones while mowing the yard. No listening while folding laundry in the laundry room. You have to be within hearing distance of the computer room.

I agree that the radio broadcasts are only on part of the puzzel with the advent of internet, direct TV, etc. But it's still a piece of the pie that should be considered.

WVRedsFan
10-08-2007, 12:27 PM
I agree that amoungst younger folks, with internet access, radio is down the list of options. But for rural folks unable to access high-speed internet, or older folks it appears that radio is still a viable way to listen to a ballgame. And much of Reds territory includes areas with lower high-speed internet usage (as WVRedsfan pointed out), WVA, Eastern and Western Kentucky, even parts of Tenn. And not everybody wants to shell out the jack for the cable/direct TV packages to catch bits and pieces of every game (and then you are tied to the TV to view it).

One thing the radio offers is the ability to do other things while listening. Internet means you are tied to wherever the computer is. No working in the garage. No headphones while mowing the yard. No listening while folding laundry in the laundry room. You have to be within hearing distance of the computer room.

I agree that the radio broadcasts are only on part of the puzzel with the advent of internet, direct TV, etc. But it's still a piece of the pie that should be considered.

Well put.

I always think about driving in the car at night. On summer evenings, what would I do if the Reds were playing? Wait until I got home to my computer or TV to see what happened? There would be no other way to keep up if not for radio. It's made a lot of long trips bearable.

Yachtzee
10-08-2007, 12:49 PM
I agree that amoungst younger folks, with internet access, radio is down the list of options. But for rural folks unable to access high-speed internet, or older folks it appears that radio is still a viable way to listen to a ballgame. And much of Reds territory includes areas with lower high-speed internet usage (as WVRedsfan pointed out), WVA, Eastern and Western Kentucky, even parts of Tenn. And not everybody wants to shell out the jack for the cable/direct TV packages to catch bits and pieces of every game (and then you are tied to the TV to view it).

One thing the radio offers is the ability to do other things while listening. Internet means you are tied to wherever the computer is. No working in the garage. No headphones while mowing the yard. No listening while folding laundry in the laundry room. You have to be within hearing distance of the computer room.

I agree that the radio broadcasts are only on part of the puzzel with the advent of internet, direct TV, etc. But it's still a piece of the pie that should be considered.

I think you also have to consider that often the feed that is sent over the internet, through XM, and by other non-TV channels is the radio feed. XM puts in some of their own ads, but a lot of that ad time is just passed through from the radio feed. I don't know if they control the promos that Marty, Thom, Jeff, and Joe do during the broadcast, but they should. The Reds are playing to a broader audience and should be able to maximize ad revenue accordingly.

LoganBuck
10-08-2007, 02:52 PM
If that is a concern, then the Reds need to get back to the business of signing up more affiliates around the state to up their coverage range.

This whole conversation really begs the question of how important radio is for following the Reds. I'd argue that today, with some 65-70% of the country hooked up to the internet and cable numbers at roughly the same rate (64.1% by the most recent studies), radio has become the secondary and, in some cases, tertiary way of following a sports franchise. I'd say it is almost certain that radio doesn't attract new, young fans to the sport the way it once did. Kids are more likely to watch games on TV or follow them online than spend time trying to find an AM signal out of Cincinnati to listen to the games at night.

Plus, there is definitely an argument to be made that if you're living in Wapakoneta and refuse to pay for cable to follow the Reds that it makes you a less than desirable demographic for the ballclub and the advertisers that support its product on radio.

I'm not sure what the right answer is, but I'm pretty confident having a 50,000 watt flagship station doesn't mean nearly as much as it once did.

The area I described doesn't have more radio stations to "sign up" unless they go FM, (doubtful). They can not be heard at night unless you are within 10 miles of the transmitter. I go through this every fall with Ohio State football, and their radio network has much greater statewide coverage than the Reds could ever hope to get. You just can't get a signal.

I have DirectTV but I can not be tethered to a TV. I can't get high speed internet access, unless I shell out the absurd money for WildBlue High Speed via satellite, ~$60/month.

I guess I come from a rural background and know how important Reds broadcasts on WLW are to the average Reds fan in this area. Those of you that live within 60 miles of the stadium, have plenty of quality radio signals to pick up. Those outside that radius must listen to WLW. Cutting us off, would cost the Reds fans, I have no doubt about that.

Chip R
10-08-2007, 03:35 PM
I guess I come from a rural background and know how important Reds broadcasts on WLW are to the average Reds fan in this area. Those of you that live within 60 miles of the stadium, have plenty of quality radio signals to pick up. Those outside that radius must listen to WLW. Cutting us off, would cost the Reds fans, I have no doubt about that.


I don't think anyone is suggesting that the Reds - or other teams - go without a 50K affiliate. I think what CE is saying is that with the advent of the internet, XM, Extra Innings and the like, it's not as important to have an affiliate that can reach into 30-some states. To those who don't have that technology, it's still very important. But people like those are in the minimum these days. The Reds need a station to broadcast their games. Right now it doesn't matter much whether it's 50K watts or 5K watts.

Would the Reds lose fans if their broadcasts no longer reached as many as they have in the past? Perhaps. However, the older fans who have rooted for the Reds for decades are probably not going to change their allegiences. 20 years ago they may have done that since they could turn on their TVs and see the Cubs and Braves on almost every day and night. But the superstation era has become less of a factor due to the Braves no longer showing their games on TBS and the Cubs not showing quite as many on WGN as they used to. The younger fans are probably less likely to listen to games on the radio as they used to be because of the alternatives.

The Reds aren't as stupid as we think they are. I would think they have done research into this subject and if they feel that it will benefit them by having games broadcast on their own station whatever the wattage, they are going to do it. If they think that tens of thousands of fans are going to rise up and protest that and it makes them lose money, they will probably not go there. It's impossible to please everyone. The Reds are going to have to please as many fans as they can.

LoganBuck
10-08-2007, 10:03 PM
I don't think anyone is suggesting that the Reds - or other teams - go without a 50K affiliate. I think what CE is saying is that with the advent of the internet, XM, Extra Innings and the like, it's not as important to have an affiliate that can reach into 30-some states. To those who don't have that technology, it's still very important. But people like those are in the minimum these days. The Reds need a station to broadcast their games. Right now it doesn't matter much whether it's 50K watts or 5K watts.



But that is exactly what you are saying. Find me another 50,000 watt stick that can broadcast at night.

WVRedsFan
10-09-2007, 12:28 AM
Yes he was and I can understand why.

It's pretty tough for anyone living in the greater Cincinnati area to understand the needs and wants of us who live in the outer areas. For me, it makes no diffrence. I have XM, EI, broadband internet, and a cable company that understands that my area wants the Reds, but not all rural areas are this lucky.

I'll make a bold statement. since I was a child (which was a long time ago, btw), a 50,000 watt station beamed the Reds to my town. Whether it was WCKY or WLW, at night we got the Reds on radio. Take away WLW and you disenfranchise a whole lot of people. I know people in Logan, WV and Pulaski, VA and even Asheboro, NC that get the Reds via WLW at night. Going to a 5,000 watt station will cut them out of following the Reds because I know that no stations in that area will carry the schedule.

Ltlabner
10-09-2007, 09:55 AM
But people like those are in the minimum these days. The Reds need a station to broadcast their games. Right now it doesn't matter much whether it's 50K watts or 5K watts..

Wow.

Sorry, but that seems like a very urban-centric and short-sighted view. There is a world beyond the I275 beltway. There's plently of folks who either don't have access to the other technologies or would rather not pay for them. Every one of them is a potential customer to either come to the ballpark, buy Reds merchandise or support the Reds in some other financial way.

We've talked about expanding the Reds marketing efforts in outlying areas many times, and here you want to completley eliminate one avenue that thousands of people rely on.

Radio is only one of many choices now, but to totally eliminate it (which I'm sure has nothing to do with your love of the Brenemans) is flat out silly.

Now, if the reds go to a 5,000watt station locally, and quadrouple the affilites in outlying areas to maintain coverage then I think you make a good point. Otherwise, I'm not sure where the logic in cutting off thousands of fans by eliminating 50,000watts of WLW lies.

Chip R
10-09-2007, 10:21 AM
Wow.

Sorry, but that seems like a very urban-centric and short-sighted view. There is a world beyond the I275 beltway. There's plently of folks who either don't have access to the other technologies or would rather not pay for them. Every one of them is a potential customer to either come to the ballpark, buy Reds merchandise or support the Reds in some other financial way.

We've talked about expanding the Reds marketing efforts in outlying areas many times, and here you want to completley eliminate one avenue that thousands of people rely on.

Radio is only one of many choices now, but to totally eliminate it (which I'm sure has nothing to do with your love of the Brenemans) is flat out silly.

Now, if the reds go to a 5,000watt station locally, and quadrouple the affilites in outlying areas to maintain coverage then I think you make a good point. Otherwise, I'm not sure where the logic in cutting off thousands of fans by eliminating 50,000watts of WLW lies.


Nobody's talking about eliminating radio coverage here. I'm not even saying cut out WLW. All I'm saying is that having a 50K watt station isn't as important now as it was 20 years ago. 20 years ago you didn't have the internet or XM or Extra Innings. Now you have alternatives.

Hey, I know what you're talking about. I didn't grow up here with my ear glued to the radio every night. I used to live 500 miles away praying for a clear signal so I could at least catch the last few innings of the Reds game. But that's because I had no alternative. If I still lived in Iowa I would either have Extra Innings or listen to games on the internet or get XM. I certainly wouldn't start rooting for the Cubs or Cardinals just because I couldn't listen to WLW. I know Logan, WV and Pulaski, VA and Asheboro, NC aren't the biggest towns in the world but I'll bet they have cable and if they don't I'll bet they can get a dish.

Change is tough. But you eventually have to sack up and accept it. If it means more money for the Reds to improve their team, I wouldn't care if they broadcast the games using smoke signals.

Unassisted
10-09-2007, 10:30 AM
Now, if the reds go to a 5,000watt station locally, and quadrouple the affilites in outlying areas to maintain coverage then I think you make a good point. Otherwise, I'm not sure where the logic in cutting off thousands of fans by eliminating 50,000watts of WLW lies.I doubt they would quadruple the number of affiliates, but clearly moving games off of WLW would open a window of opportunity to sign new ones.

There's a larger trend in AM radio, which you may not be aware of. The FCC recently began allowing AM stations to broadcast HD radio between sunset and sunrise. (Previously, it was restricted to daylight hours only.) HD radio adds digital noise (aka, static) to either side of a station's analog frequency. If you're distant from WLW and close to a station broadcasting HD radio within a frequency or two either side of WLW's 700 frequency, the FCC just made it difficult for you to listen to WLW at night. In making the rule change which allowed HD radio at night, the FCC stated that it was favoring local stations over distant ones. In other words, the FCC doesn't care if you can pick up distant stations on AM at night and isn't going to make it any easier for you to do so.

I feel certain that the Reds management is paying attention to this and other larger trends in the broadcasting industry. The advantages of having games on a 50,000 watt blowtorch look smaller every year.

Ltlabner
10-09-2007, 10:34 AM
I know Logan, WV and Pulaski, VA and Asheboro, NC aren't the biggest towns in the world but I'll bet they have cable and if they don't I'll bet they can get a dish.

Change is tough. But you eventually have to sack up and accept it. If it means more money for the Reds to improve their team, I wouldn't care if they broadcast the games using smoke signals.

There are plenty of reds fans outside the city limits of even Logan, Pulaski and Asheboro where high speed internet is likely cost prohibitive. Dish, (I believe) is still an option. But the folks I'm thinking of are the millions of people who live off of "state route nowhere". There's a lot of fans out there. You are right, they are likely to not switch teams, but they are likely to quit spending their money on the Reds if they suddenly have no access to the team.

Thanks for the "sack up lesson". Change and advancement is hunky dory. In your rush to be the tech-wizzard you are cutting off the rural foks, people over 60 (who aren't likely to run out and buy a computer to be part of your high-tech gang) and those who can't afford either technological choice. But hey, it's their fault for not being hippersters eh? Maybe they should just sack-up. Better yet, maybe they should all move to the big city so they can be part of the wiz-kid movement?

I'm all for the Reds pursuing new and exciting ways to go to market. There's plethoria of ways to do it now, and I think with a little creativity they could both expand their markets and review streams by using the newer technologies. But looking down our nose at radio in the process strikes me as short-sighted. It's no longer the crown jewell anymore, I agree. But it's still an important way to reach a segment of fans.

LoganBuck
10-09-2007, 02:22 PM
I doubt they would quadruple the number of affiliates, but clearly moving games off of WLW would open a window of opportunity to sign new ones.

There's a larger trend in AM radio, which you may not be aware of. The FCC recently began allowing AM stations to broadcast HD radio between sunset and sunrise. (Previously, it was restricted to daylight hours only.) HD radio adds digital noise (aka, static) to either side of a station's analog frequency. If you're distant from WLW and close to a station broadcasting HD radio within a frequency or two either side of WLW's 700 frequency, the FCC just made it difficult for you to listen to WLW at night. In making the rule change which allowed HD radio at night, the FCC stated that it was favoring local stations over distant ones. In other words, the FCC doesn't care if you can pick up distant stations on AM at night and isn't going to make it any easier for you to do so.

I feel certain that the Reds management is paying attention to this and other larger trends in the broadcasting industry. The advantages of having games on a 50,000 watt blowtorch look smaller every year.

There is not an army of small stations in rural areas to sign up. They are spread out. I live nearly equidistant to Sidney, Bellfontaine, and Wapakoneta. I can not get an AM radio station at night from any of those towns. I have to drive 3 miles to get to a small town, and 10 miles to get to a McDonalds. I don't care about broadcasting to Great Falls, Montana just get me a good clear signal across the state of Ohio.

Caveat Emperor
10-09-2007, 02:40 PM
There is a world beyond the I275 beltway. There's plently of folks who either don't have access to the other technologies or would rather not pay for them. Every one of them is a potential customer to either come to the ballpark, buy Reds merchandise or support the Reds in some other financial way.

In the case bolded above, the person you're reaching likely isn't a very good customer to target. Not a lot of advertisers target the ultra-frugal demographic and if someone doesn't want to pay to hear the games, they certainly aren't going to be too likely to drive/fly to Cincinnati FOR a game.

Ltlabner
10-09-2007, 03:00 PM
In the case bolded above, the person you're reaching likely isn't a very good customer to target. Not a lot of advertisers target the ultra-frugal demographic and if someone doesn't want to pay to hear the games, they certainly aren't going to be too likely to drive/fly to Cincinnati FOR a game.

Let's see...high speed internet service for say $60/month (I think someone mentioned that figure earlier) for a rural area. That is $720 per year. Then you have MLB.radio, or MLB.TV which tacks something extra onto that. Not wanting to spend $700+ per year just to listen to the team stink doesn't strike me as being "ultra frugal".

Seems to me, most people with a car and sense of direction can make it to a couple of games per year for less than the $700-$800 investment needed for for the internet route. I'm not sure of the direct TV costs and don't have time to look them up.

Sticking with the 5,000watt flagship station concept....a person in Peebles, Ohio, a mere 68 miles from downtown Cincinnati would likely not be able to hear the games on the "flagship" radio station, nor would they likely have an local radio station carrying the games. So now you are asking them to invest $700+ per year for the pleasure of hearing the Reds suck. Seems to me those casual fans will say forget it, and spend that money on other entertainment options.

Now, you've eliminated a casual fan, likely caused them to not make a trip or two a year to the games, and possibly cut down on merchandise sales also.

How is that progress ?

Jpup
10-09-2007, 03:02 PM
I agree that amoungst younger folks, with internet access, radio is down the list of options. But for rural folks unable to access high-speed internet, or older folks it appears that radio is still a viable way to listen to a ballgame. And much of Reds territory includes areas with lower high-speed internet usage (as WVRedsfan pointed out), WVA, Eastern and Western Kentucky, even parts of Tenn. And not everybody wants to shell out the jack for the cable/direct TV packages to catch bits and pieces of every game (and then you are tied to the TV to view it).

One thing the radio offers is the ability to do other things while listening. Internet means you are tied to wherever the computer is. No working in the garage. No headphones while mowing the yard. No listening while folding laundry in the laundry room. You have to be within hearing distance of the computer room.

I agree that the radio broadcasts are only on part of the puzzel with the advent of internet, direct TV, etc. But it's still a piece of the pie that should be considered.

MyFi

REDREAD
10-10-2007, 11:23 PM
Maybe John wanted to do this before, but the previous regime wouldn't let him? Regardless, he's the point man on it, so if it works, he should get some credit.

Nope, John Allen had total control of all media contracts. I remember Richard Hand suggesting that Allen could use a little help in that area to him at Redsfest, and Allen not being very pleased. :lol:

I will say that maybe Allen has learned from his past mistakes.. maybe, but I doubt it. Allen is ultraconservative. He'll gladly take the guaranteed $1 over the $10000 that might have a little risk involved. There are countless examples of his priorities. For example, he once made a comment that he didn't care that attendence was down for the year because higher ticket prices made up for it.. He didn't care that the Reds' brand was eroding under his watch, as long as he made his numbers for that year.

I find it hard to believe that Allen came up with anything innovative after watching the Reds stagnate for the approximately 10 years he was in charge.

REDREAD
10-10-2007, 11:27 PM
I agree that amoungst younger folks, with internet access, radio is down the list of options. But for rural folks unable to access high-speed internet, or older folks it appears that radio is still a viable way to listen to a ballgame. .

Radio is my primary way to follow the Reds.
It allows you to do other things while following the game.
Most people aren't going to sit in front of a computer for 3-4 hours every night and listen to MLB radio over the internet. Sure, the diehard fans will, but not the causal guy.

I'm surprised by how many times I hear the Reds on radio from other people's cars in traffic.

For me, the ideal solution would be to let WLW continue to broadcast the games, but allow the Reds to add other affiliates as well.

WVRedsFan
10-11-2007, 01:05 AM
MyFi

Well...my MyFi (once again I am in a rural area) was a failure. So much so, that I gave up and put it out of service in favor of Roady 2 with the now discontinued mobile kit. I never could get a consistent signal in rural WV with the MyFi and the Roady 2 with kit does much better. XM has a new series that are much better.

WVRedsFan
10-11-2007, 01:07 AM
Nope, John Allen had total control of all media contracts. I remember Richard Hand suggesting that Allen could use a little help in that area to him at Redsfest, and Allen not being very pleased. :lol:

I will say that maybe Allen has learned from his past mistakes.. maybe, but I doubt it. Allen is ultraconservative. He'll gladly take the guaranteed $1 over the $10000 that might have a little risk involved. There are countless examples of his priorities. For example, he once made a comment that he didn't care that attendence was down for the year because higher ticket prices made up for it.. He didn't care that the Reds' brand was eroding under his watch, as long as he made his numbers for that year.

I find it hard to believe that Allen came up with anything innovative after watching the Reds stagnate for the approximately 10 years he was in charge.

Bob Castellini is the fire behind this. Bob said "do it" and John jumped right on it. That's John.

IMHO, we have GABP because of John's bean counting. I really like GABP, but I look at other new stadiums and wonder what it would have been without John watching every penny.

KronoRed
10-11-2007, 03:04 AM
IMHO, we have GABP because of John's bean counting. I really like GABP, but I look at other new stadiums and wonder what it would have been without John watching every penny.

I personally blame the Bengals, their place cost twice as much and gets used 73 less times a year.

MartyFan
10-11-2007, 04:38 AM
Will Rural and Urban fans of the Reds benefit from the team moving off a signal like WLW, there will be more local affiliates meaning the team presence will be more local...that would be a good thing.

Having lived in rural areas over the years, hearing a ball game on FM isn't unlikely at all.

With the evil empire now at least negotiating the sale (ie freedom) of some of their small market radio stations to regional and local owners, I'd say the number of affiliates would grow.

Still, the reality is that some fans would undoubtedly be without the ability to listen to the game on AM/FM radio and would be forced to follow it via another method on the Internet or another method.

Bottom line is, this sort of move would be a financial windfall for the Reds because it would allow a stronger LOCAL presence for the team in each market that had an affiliate and also increase the amount of revenue because of the increased number of affiliates.

Ltlabner
10-11-2007, 07:53 AM
Radio is my primary way to follow the Reds.
It allows you to do other things while following the game.
Most people aren't going to sit in front of a computer for 3-4 hours every night and listen to MLB radio over the internet. Sure, the diehard fans will, but not the causal guy.

I'm surprised by how many times I hear the Reds on radio from other people's cars in traffic.

For me, the ideal solution would be to let WLW continue to broadcast the games, but allow the Reds to add other affiliates as well.

Agree 1000%

gonelong
10-11-2007, 10:28 AM
I personally blame the Bengals, their place cost twice as much and gets used 73 less times a year.

I blame Marge much more than the Bengals ... though lots of people share the blame IMO.

GL

Chip R
10-11-2007, 11:25 AM
I blame Marge much more than the Bengals ... though lots of people share the blame IMO.

GL


Lots of people share the blame but the Reds weren't in as advantegeous of a situation as the Bengals were. The Bengals threatened to leave if they didn't get what they wanted and it wouldn't have been difficult. OTOH, the Reds would have had to have got approval from MLB to move and most cities had teams already. I think Marge threatened to move to NKY at one point but no one took that seriously.

Here's a dated but interesting read on the whole situation.

http://brookings.nap.edu/books/0815761112/html/282.html#pagetop

Unassisted
10-11-2007, 11:53 AM
XM has a new series that are much better.
I've heard that the FM modulators on the new models with SureConnect are much weaker than the current models, because the FCC wanted them to cause less interference. I have a Roady XT hooked up to a home kit. I can receive whatever the Roady is tuned to with a portable FM radio anywhere in my 2-story house. I don't think I'd be able to do that if I had a SureConnect unit.

Getting back to the baseball topic, before I got XM I was skeptical that I would get much use out of it for listening to baseball. I thought of it as a car radio enhancement and I am usually home rather than in the car when games are broadcast. Using the home kit with my XM radio has been great for baseball and for listening to WLW (which I can almost never receive on AM, day or night) at times when games are not broadcast. Installation was simple. It doesn't take up a lot of space, so Mrs. U is happy with it. I highly recommend taking the plunge if you want a dependable way to listen to games on the radio. It's a much more flexible solution than MLB.TV or MLB Gameday Audio, in that you're not tied to a computer.

OldRightHander
10-11-2007, 12:44 PM
Hopefully they can market it better. It's like the dog who chased cars and he finally caught one. Now what does he do with it?

But the problem here is that over the years the dog was too lazy to chase cars. It just sat on the front porch and took down license plate numbers.

LoganBuck
10-11-2007, 01:47 PM
Will Rural and Urban fans of the Reds benefit from the team moving off a signal like WLW, there will be more local affiliates meaning the team presence will be more local...that would be a good thing.


There are not more signals to be had in some rural areas. That is what you are not comprehending.


Having lived in rural areas over the years, hearing a ball game on FM isn't unlikely at all.


Most FM stations are not going to play baseball in my area.


With the evil empire now at least negotiating the sale (ie freedom) of some of their small market radio stations to regional and local owners, I'd say the number of affiliates would grow.

Your dislike of ClearChannel is showing.


Still, the reality is that some fans would undoubtedly be without the ability to listen to the game on AM/FM radio and would be forced to follow it via another method on the Internet or another method.


You obviously don't care about people in rural areas. They do buy tickets, and merchandise. Cutting them off to gain an extra few dollars of radio revenue would be stupid.


Bottom line is, this sort of move would be a financial windfall for the Reds because it would allow a stronger LOCAL presence for the team in each market that had an affiliate and also increase the amount of revenue because of the increased number of affiliates.


The number of fans alienated and the loss of that revenue, tickets and merchandise, would far exceed the limited gain you seek in radio royalties.

MartyFan
10-11-2007, 07:21 PM
There are not more signals to be had in some rural areas. That is what you are not comprehending.

What you are not comprehending is that there doesn't need to be more signals in your area.

The same signals in your market...will add programming that may not be available too them currently or programming that may be available but not attainable under the current deal.

If you live in Logan, OH area there are more frequencies available...promise!


Your dislike of ClearChannel is showing.

20 years in an industry will do that for you. When a corporation has such a strong stranglehold on an industry that influences so many people it is easy to rage against that machine.


You obviously don't care about people in rural areas. They do buy tickets, and merchandise. Cutting them off to gain an extra few dollars of radio revenue would be stupid.

It's not that I don't care about rural listeners, it's that I believe there will be other options put into play, some of which may not be in play currently.

There are specific benefits and drawbacks to living in rural communities, sometimes one of the drawbacks is limiting access to some of the things you enjoy.

If changing the network of Reds Affiliates like we are talking about would generate more cash then the tickets sold to listeners in rural communities, that is a gain.

If that cash goes to putting a better team on the field or more persuasive marketing programs which bring more people into the stands then that is also a gain.

If a better team is on the field, I bet rural residents who are fans of the Reds will be in those seats as well...if the Reds are better on the field I would imagine that their network would also expand.

It isn't as cut and dry as you make it but if I am the Reds (which I am not) and I have an opportunity to increase revenues to help meet the goal of putting a better team on the field at the cost of SOME rural or even urban listeners...then I do it.



The number of fans alienated and the loss of that revenue, tickets and merchandise, would far exceed the limited gain you seek in radio royalties.

You are assuming that no local, rural stations would jump on board...with the change of a GM or PD at any station in your area, a format can change...and even without format changes specialty programming can change when the advertising dollars warrant them to do so...also, don't forget that there is NEW TECHNOLOGY being introduced that will expand every signal by three in EVERY area...with that said, I think there are going to be more opportunities to expand the network without "alienating" anyone.

BTW, the limited gain in radio royalties you mention isn't limited when you expand the network by partnering with local stations to PROMOTE the product...that is something CC has had no incentive to do...on the contrary, the Reds have all the incentive in the world to control how and where their product is placed.

KittyDuran
10-11-2007, 08:39 PM
The Reds Radio Network (2001 - 2007)



Stations lost from 2006
Information from 2007 Media Guide
Ohio:
Gallipolis - WJEH-AM 990
Kentucky:
Burnside - WKEQ-AM 910
Louisville - WKRD-AM 790

New stations added since 2006
Kentucky:
Middleboro - WFXY-AM 1490
Shelbyville - WKRD-FM 101.7 (?)
Somerset - WSFC-AM 1240
Whitesburg - WTCW-AM 920

The Reds Radio Network from 2001 - 2007
2001 (60)
OH - 16
IN - 13
TN - 1
KY - 19
WV - 11

2002 (60)
OH - 17
IN - 14
KY - 18
TN - 1
WV - 10

2003 (54)
OH - 17
IN - 13
KY - 15
TN - 1
VA - 1
WV - 7

2004 (51)
OH - 17
IN - 10
KY - 15
MS - 1
VA - 1
WV - 7

2005 (51)
OH - 18
IN - 10
KY - 16
MS - 1
VA - 1
WV - 5

2006 (45)
OH - 19
IN - 8
KY - 12
MS - 1
VA - 1
WV - 4

2007 (46)
OH - 18
IN - 8
KY - 14
MS - 1
VA - 1
WV - 4

redsmetz
10-11-2007, 09:10 PM
Kitty, thanks for the chart. We need to bump the local affiliates up back to 60+ and spread the market. I think that's the point of this move. I'm not sure it's to move WLW out, but to augment their coverage.

REDREAD
10-11-2007, 10:57 PM
Bob Castellini is the fire behind this. Bob said "do it" and John jumped right on it. That's John.

IMHO, we have GABP because of John's bean counting. I really like GABP, but I look at other new stadiums and wonder what it would have been without John watching every penny.

Exactly.

John Allen did not see the GAB as a once in a 20-30 year opportunity for the franchise. He saw it as an expense that should be minimized as much as possible.

Again, the fans got screwed because all Lindner and Allen cared about was the short term profitablity of the franchise. They didn't really give a rat's behind about the longterm health. They didn't care if the team was competitve in 2003 or not.. they knew a lot fans were gullible enough to buy into their empty promises.

Carl figured all he had to do was buy a Milton and Ortiz right before he sold and "Bingo" the team would win again, and he could sell his team as a contender. Thank God that idiot Carl is gone. It's a shame that Cast has kept Allen on board. Allen should've been swept out with all the other trash of the Lindner era.

LoganBuck
10-11-2007, 10:59 PM
What you are not comprehending is that there doesn't need to be more signals in your area.

The same signals in your market...will add programming that may not be available too them currently or programming that may be available but not attainable under the current deal.

If you live in Logan, OH area there are more frequencies available...promise!



20 years in an industry will do that for you. When a corporation has such a strong stranglehold on an industry that influences so many people it is easy to rage against that machine.



It's not that I don't care about rural listeners, it's that I believe there will be other options put into play, some of which may not be in play currently.

There are specific benefits and drawbacks to living in rural communities, sometimes one of the drawbacks is limiting access to some of the things you enjoy.

If changing the network of Reds Affiliates like we are talking about would generate more cash then the tickets sold to listeners in rural communities, that is a gain.

If that cash goes to putting a better team on the field or more persuasive marketing programs which bring more people into the stands then that is also a gain.

If a better team is on the field, I bet rural residents who are fans of the Reds will be in those seats as well...if the Reds are better on the field I would imagine that their network would also expand.

It isn't as cut and dry as you make it but if I am the Reds (which I am not) and I have an opportunity to increase revenues to help meet the goal of putting a better team on the field at the cost of SOME rural or even urban listeners...then I do it.




You are assuming that no local, rural stations would jump on board...with the change of a GM or PD at any station in your area, a format can change...and even without format changes specialty programming can change when the advertising dollars warrant them to do so...also, don't forget that there is NEW TECHNOLOGY being introduced that will expand every signal by three in EVERY area...with that said, I think there are going to be more opportunities to expand the network without "alienating" anyone.

BTW, the limited gain in radio royalties you mention isn't limited when you expand the network by partnering with local stations to PROMOTE the product...that is something CC has had no incentive to do...on the contrary, the Reds have all the incentive in the world to control how and where their product is placed.

I live in Logan County. There are not stations that will change format to be had. I can count the local stations on both hands, and those are either FM, or AM stations you can only pick up during the day. You don't get that. Fine. I am through with this. You want to cut off people who live in rural areas, because you don't like WLW. The revenues would not increase enough to cover the loss of fans. Tickets sold, are just part of the picture, you are talking about alienating fans that will not buy hats, jerseys, or other merchandise. Shooting the cow, will let you eat for a couple months, instead of milking her for a lifetime.

MartyFan
10-12-2007, 02:40 AM
Kitty, thanks for the chart. We need to bump the local affiliates up back to 60+ and spread the market. I think that's the point of this move. I'm not sure it's to move WLW out, but to augment their coverage.

I'm not sure "the move" is on at all...totally hypothetical on my part ...As you can tell I am a fan of them dumping WLW and growing their network.

The 60+ number is good but I honestly would think that it could push somewhere around 80 signals if packaged right...and yes, this includes rural markets like Logan county.

LoganBuck...imagine this...every local frequency you have that you can listen to multiplied by three...the technology and FCC approval are already in place for those stations on the FM dial...so, regardless of what market you live in there will be room for more content, like Reds Baseball...especially if the team performs well....nobody is getting alienated, revenues increase, fanbase increases, it's all LOVE.

You may not be able to see a potential for it now...but it is there, exactly like the field of dreams.