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A’s flagship station, 95.7 FM, switches to all-sports format

The A’s flagship station, KBWF 95.7 FM, announced Friday that it’s switching from a country music format to an all-sports station – SportsRadio 95.7. That’s a big win for the A’s and their fans because it will mean more A’s programming throughout the day, though the station hasn’t announced a daily lineup yet. If you turn the station on right now, you’ll hear a loop of Bay Area sports highlights. But at 4 p.m., an extended A’s pregame show will begin, hosted by Chris Townsend. I’m told the pregame show won’t typically start this early, but Townsend will remain part of the daily package with his pre- and postgame show. Bottom line, the A’s will be on longer — before and after games – than they were previously on 95.7, which had been trying to shoe-horn A’s broadcasts in between the country music. The station is also the broadcast partner of the San Jose Sharks. And though Sharks games will continue airing on KFOX 98.5, the plan is to have substantial A’s and Sharks talk throughout the day on 95.7, as well as talk about the other Bay Area teams.

“We just think there’s a tremendous opportunity to grow the sports audience in the Bay Area,” said Dwight Walker, vice president and market manager for 95.7’s parent company, Entercom. “You’ve got passion, an underserved audience and teams to support that.”

Aside from the A’s buying their own station, which they tried to do with KTRB, this is the best situation for them. They’re guaranteed a bigger presence on an all-sports station. People in the radio industry talk very highly of Entercom, which owns other FM all-sports stations around the country, including WEEI in Boston, a giant in the business. One person I spoke to expects 95.7 to receive the backing to form a serious challenge to KNBR’s supremacy in the Bay Area sports radio landscape. Might 95.7 try to land the Raiders or other Bay Area teams? I could see the station making a run at it.

Certainly, the timing is right to launch a second Bay Area sports station. KTRB, the A’s previous flagship station, has an all-sports format, but it isn’t likely to stay that way considering the station is in receivership and up for sale.

I’ll be reporting more on this story as 95.7 announces its on-air hosts and programming. For now, what are your thoughts on this development, A’s fans?

Joe Stiglich