Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Radio Waves

Another writer...this time the excellent Pat Gauen who writes for Illinois editions of the Post-Dispatch...has found it necessary to explore the Cardinals/KMOX/KTRS deal and the significance of the variances in the radio signals. His piece deals primarily with the realities of the KTRS nighttime signal for residents in Illinois. I thought this territory was pretty well explored a few weeks ago, but let's see if I can ease some troubled minds.

There's a website that offers a color coverage map of every radio station in the country. www.radio-locator.com shows you that the night time signal of KTRS is restricted to the east. Everybody knows that. It also shows you that the signal of WSMI-FM, the station lined up to simulcast the games to fill in the weak area in the metro-east, will more than adequately pick up the slack. Maybe you didn't know that. Check it out.

It is abdundantly clear that the games will not, because KTRS is not a 50-thousand watt, clear- channel station, be heard in Alaska, Nova Scotia, and Mexico any more. But the Cardinals network of stations should adequately serve the markets that are more than casually interested in the broadcasts. Anyone who listened in far away places could not count on the broadcast being available anyway. Therefore, hearing those games in places thousands of miles away is a listening luxury that the Cardinals can live, and more importantly do business, without. Even KMOX won't gurantee that you will hear the game in Knockemstiff, Ohio on a given night because they have no control over weather conditions that might play havoc with skip waves bouncing off the ionosphere. We used to get calls at KMOX all the time from people in "the outback" asking why they couldn't hear the game that night. Our pat answers were, "Because the weather isn't cooperating" or "Just one of those nights".

The folks who can't hear KTRS in Illinois at night will be adequately served by audio of the games in some form.
  • WSMI-FM (previously not on the network)
  • Another network station (Sparta, Mount Vernon, Murphysboro, Herrin, Jacksonville, Springfield and Taylorville in Southern Illinois all have Cardinals affiliate stations)
  • XM-Satellite
  • Internet audio

As I've said in past posts, the serious Cardinals fan is finding a television set to watch the game. And, we've all noticed that there are TVs with the Cardinals game on them everywhere. The inconvenienced serious Cardinals fan is listening on the radio, and he/she will still be able to find a radio signal with the game on it. The not-so-serious Cardinals fan probably won't notice that anything has changed (much to the chagrin of KTRS bosses when the ratings come out).

I believe the major problem most people have with this thing has more to do with comfort than any potential reception issue. We folks here in St. Louis, and the Midwest, "don't cotton much to change". Not that that's a bad thing. Nobody likes to see a marriage break up. And our Cardinals were definintely married to KMOX for 51 years. But divorce happens all the time. Usually the people find a new way to make their lives work. But we conservative midwesterners get used to things being a certain way and any disruption in the daily routine throws us all into a hand-wringing, prozac-taking tizzy. Am I right?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Why do these impish writers continue on this diatribe concerning KMOX (AKA the voice of medicare)? It is time to move on the deal is done and KTRS won! Now we should all be concerned with post season play...now that IS IMPORTANT!!!