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The Battle of Evermore - ESPN FM vs. WCBS


Mood Music - The Battle Of Evermore by Led Zeppelin

In the midst of all the rotation talks and all that happy nonsense, I thought I might bring up a different topic which I, I'mGivingYouARaise, find appropriate to talk about today. Why today, you might ask? Well, a NYC radio station by the name 98.7 KISS FM is no longer there. The famous NYC R&B station, around even before I was born, is now the new FM home of ESPN Radio, which was previously 1050 AM, a station that on September 1st will become ESPN Deportes New York, an all Spanish New York radio sports station. I think it's pretty obvious to all native New Yorkers that FM stations come in a lot better than AM stations. Lord knows that when I'm driving through Manhattan listening to Sterling and Waldman, I don't love the random static when I'm trying to hear the game. Okay sure, it helps to drown the both of them out, but still I want my Yankees like I want my women, to be clear and precise and not having me guessing what just happened. That also means you, Ibanez in the OF!!

As you may or may not know, the WCBS contract with the Yankees Radio Network, driven by Jeep, will end after this season and it's pretty obvious that ESPN Radio wants a piece of that sweet Yankees Radio Network nectar. This move to FM radio might help them secure their pinstriped ambrosia, since the Yankees would now have a much clearer radio station in NYC, which would fit with the Yankees mantra of excellence, producing a quality product, and to always be better than the Mets. Ultimately though, what does this mean for the likes of Sterling and Waldman? Should they stay with WCBS? Is there another option we haven't considered? Also, how does this whole broadcasting thing work?

I'mGivingYouAnExplanation after the jump...

For those who do not know how the broadcast system works, allow me to give you that explanation I promised you before the jump. Before the Yankees had the super wealth and fabulous success to have their own TV station, they use to be on the MSG Network. How this system works is that MSG and the Yankees had a contract that gave them broadcasting rights for the New York Yankees. Essentially. MSG paid the Yankees so that they could have the exclusive rights to broadcast the Yankees and collect all the sweet, sweet advertising money that came along with it. Although really, I wonder at times how much Bob's Sneaker Corner paid for those rights back in the day. For another example, if you watch the Yankees on YES you'll see ads for Nets games all the time, as well as actual Nets games if you choose to watch the Nets. (And please do not post another giant picture in this thread, you know who!) What this means is that in addition to broadcasting the Yankees, YES makes the Yankees enough money where they can afford to pay the Nets for the right to broadcast their basketball games, something that will probably make the Yankees a lot more money when they make the move to Brooklyn.

If you ever watch away broadcasts of baseball games, you may notice that the majority of them are on a FOX Sports Station of some kind. At work, I have the distinct pleasure of hearing the FOX MLB Baseball Theme probably 700 times during the year. Seriously, sometimes my co-workers and I just start singing it randomly cause we've been driven insane by it. Other such stations or MASN, NESN, and Comcast Sports Network also broadcast some teams. Now while FOX and the other stations I mentioned may have to pay for the broadcast rights for a specific team, what FOX gains in return are the money from advertisements. With the Yankees, the financial benefits of them having their own TV station are incredible, mainly because of the money generated by advertisements. People pay the Yankees, not FOX or another broadcast station, for the right to advertise. It's really a win-win-cha-ching situation for them. The same can be said of the Mets and SNY. It's actually part of the reason, I imagine, their fans get so pissed at them at times, cause with the money they should be able to generate in a heavy sports market like NYC, their financial woes are really troubling. Meanwhile, due to the constant success and YES money, the Yankees have filled their money bin pretty high.

This brings us back to the radio station situation. I think I got my point across up above that advertisements equal Benjamins. If you've ever listened to a Yankees Radio Network broadcast on WCBS, driven by Jeep, you have heard so many advertisements during the actual broadcast that it's downright laughable. The 15th out reminds us that a 15 minute call can save us hundreds on car insurance. When a Yankee is safe, whether at 2nd, at home, or in the dugout, we are reminded to help keep our family safe and secure. I could seriously go on, but I think you get the point. Seriously though, the "painting the corners" paint ad slightly irked me the first time I heard it. The Yankees have the option to extend their contract with WCBS to 2013. If they do not, ESPN Radio can try to move right in on that C.R.E.A.M.

ESPN Radio already broadcasts the New York Knicks, New York Rangers, and New York Jets. Adding the Yankees would be an immense boost in ad rights, as they would be adding, without a shadow of a doubt, the most popular sports team in all of New York. The benefits of having the Yankees on an FM station would be pretty nice, being that FM stations definitely come in clearer here in the city. I cannot speak for outside the city, since I do not live their, but it should also mean that the station should hopefully be clearer if you have as well. I have no proof of that, as I've never used the function, but it's possible. What I am curious about though is how ESPN Radio will manage having all those teams on one channel. This Saturday, both the Yankees and Rangers game were being played at relatively the same time. So how would ESPN Radio manage that if something like that occurs? I know that WFAN has the broadcast rights for the Mets, Giants, Nets, and Devils so I'm guessing they manage it well enough. It could just mean that the schedules are altered to accommodate every team. They better, as I do not want to miss a Yankees game for anything!

Now if you're hoping that this means that Sterling and Waldman would be fired, think again. ESPN Radio would have no control over that. Sterling and Waldman are hired by the Yankees Radio Network, driven by Jeep, and not WCBS. This is why you'll see John Sterling on YES at times, because that's who his employer is. Even if the Yankees do move from WCBS to ESPN Radio, Sterling and Waldman will most likely be staying on with the Yankees, unless the Yankees decide to fire either of them. I do admire the loyalty to their employees, but I find it curious that they keep either of them on when I don't think that there's a Yankees fan who likes them. I mean, even if you wanted to keep on Sterling because he's been there for so long, with all the former Yankees out there I just find it hard to believe that one of them would not want to broadcast the Yankees on the radio. Who knows?

Finally, another option the Yankees might have available to them is to simply just buy their own NYC radio station, similar to how they have their own TV station with YES. Except for the really popular stations, NYC radio stations seem to come and go like crazy and I'm sure they could find one out there that they could potential purchase, whether on the AM or FM dial. Just like with YES, they would maintain the ad money since they would own the station. The potential problem with doing this though would be filling the station with content other than Yankee games, especially content people would listen to. WFAN has a bunch of sports shows throughout the entire day to fill content with when their are no sports going on. The same is true of ESPN Radio. So if the Yankees were to have their own radio station, either they would have to fill it with sports programming that would have to compete against the already popular WFAN sports programming or they could fill it with non-sports content like actual music or other types of talk shows. I know I wouldn't mind another rock station or an 80's station in NYC, but I don't think it would go well for a Yankees radio station. It would most likely have to be sports related, and I don't know if they can compete against both WFAN and ESPN Radio when it comes to that. Anything's possible though. Imagine a baseball radio show devoted to newer age stats hosted by David Cone? Sweet dreams are made of these!

So with the Yankees Radio Network, driven by Jeep, possibly up for grabs at the end of the year, do you actually care where they wind up? Would you prefer they stay on WCBS or move to ESPN Radio's new shiny FM station? Would you want them to have their own radio station with different types of sports analysis shows to compete against the talking heads of the sports radio world? Or are you just going to watch them on TV anyway?