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Colorado Media Newsroom
April 30th, 2013, 12:56 PM
From Radio Insight:

Last night I came across a Twitter discussion that shows some of the difficulties faced by AM brands that have made the move to FM over the past few years.

Am I weird that I like the way the game sounds on AM better?

— metspolice.com (@metspolice) April 30, 2013

The topic was in regards to New York Mets radio broadcasts which are in their first season being available on FM since the 1970′s in addition to their longtime home on 660 WFAN. Since the launch of the FM simulcast in November, WFAN has been attempting to move its audience to the new signal. Currently the station is running an “FM Means Free Money” contest.

The responses to the original Twitter shared similar sentiments.

@pedrobeatofc @metspolice Much warmer sound on AM. Sports on FM sounds like college radio re-creation.

— Greg Prince (@greg_prince) April 30, 2013

@mitfein @metspolice There’s a certain nostalgia to the way baseball sounds on AM radio. Not the same on FM/Internet at all.

— Michael Baron (@michaelgbaron) April 30, 2013

@metspolice Always sounds better on AM. Will never get used to WFAN FM signal. Just sounds too…clear.

— Sam Levitt (@SammyLev) April 30, 2013

@readtheapple @michaelgbaron @metspolice listening to baseball on AM radio harkens back to the old days listening to transistor radios

— Mitchell Fein (@MitFein) April 30, 2013

Wow everyone is down with the old school AM.I agree, the FM game sounds too clean, dry, polished. AM sounds warm and cozy

— metspolice.com (@metspolice) April 30, 2013

While these comments are coming from a traditionalist belief based on how they’ve listened to baseball and sports on radio their whole lives, it is also likely they make up a significant portion of the station’s audience. Some stations have already retreated from their FM simulcasts as they were unable to move and expand their audience on FM.

Is WFAN’s mistake that they are keeping the station available on both bands? The station is still reliant on the AM signal to reach the fringe of the market and adjacent markets, yet it is expected that CBS’ long-term plan is to move the station exclusively to FM and use the AM to clear the CBS Sports Radio network. However, the station doesn’t want to give their current audience any reason to abandon them for “ESPN 98.7” WEPN-FM just yet. But that may be costing the company the ability to currently shift the remaining AM listeners to FM.

Many sports franchises are actively pursuing FM flagship stations in their markets. 28 out of the 32 NFL teams will be heard on a full-signaled FM in their home market this upcoming season, while 12 of the 30 MLB teams have FM flagships or co-flagships including the aforementioned Mets, Philadelphia Phillies, Atlanta Braves, Washington Nationals, and Detroit Tigers. With all leagues also offering their games on digital properties and SiriusXM the need for 50kW AM signals to distribute their games is no longer necessary. While it was a great thing to be able to use a transistor radio and hear multiple games and voices on the AM band each evening, DXing is now a novelty at best.

WTOP Washington and WXYT Detroit became powerhouses following their moves from AM to FM in the past decade. If the brand is strong it will survive regardless of where its located on the dial.


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