On The Radio…or Off

As readers of this blog you may know my undying quest to see that the Reds on Radio broadcast is loud and clear from the beginning of the game to the end, without interruption.  That, however, is proving to be elusive.

Last year I contacted Joe Zerhusen and met him in person at RedsFest.  He told me that they were trying everything to get a reliable signal to Louisville for all of the games.  Someone at the Reds Winter Caravan stop here in Louisville also asked the same question but got the brush off by George Grande who was mceeing the event.

If I thought another letter would help the situation, I would definintely write one.  I know Joe Zerhusen is working hard.  The problem is that there aren’t any stations with strong signals willing to give up their nightly programming so a small but dedicated audience can listen to a baseball game.

If you are so inclined and still feel that this situation needs to be changed, please feel free to contact Joe via letter or e-mail yourself (send it c/o The Reds using the Great American Ballpark address) and tell him that you are still unsatisified with the way things are going.

Reds Winter Caravan:Louisville

So yesterday was the start of the Reds Winter Caravan and one of the first stops was Louisville Slugger Field.  The event was held in the ballpark’s foyer (think concrete slab floor, florescent lights) as opposed to the last two years at the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory.  The event was moved due to renovations to the factory site to make room for new exhibits coming this summer.

The caravan carrying Chris Dickerson, Jerry Hairston, Yonder Alanso, Jeff Brantley,  Dusty and George Grande arrived forty-five minutes late to the site since they were held up at a Frankfort, KY radio station.

A great majority of the crowd (about 600 or so) was there seeking autographs and were lined up even before the caravan arrived.

One thing that stood out was the fact that while there were some kids, there wern’t many.  At 4:30 in the afternoon it is a horrible time to have an event like this as it should have been scheduled for a time when more people could get out of work or school so that they could drive to the stadium.  There wasn’t much promotion of the event which was strange.

The one bit of good news was when CEO Bob Castellini announced that the Reds and Bats are going to extend their relationshiop through the 2012 season.  This is big news and it is nice to know that we’ll be able to see many of the Reds up and coming prospects for the next several years.  I don’t really know how I would feel about going to games if the Bats were affiliated with another team.

Notable Quotes:

From Dusty

“I won’t put a governor on them. I want them to use their arms, legs, bats, everything in order to win”

Translation: CREATE HAVOC!

Jerry Hairston:

“We are young, but talented.  There is a difference”

Yeah, and Grizzly Adams had a beard.

Other than Dusty babbling about winning and going to the inauguration on Tuesday with his son, George Grande took only one question from those assembled.  It was about the radio affiliate (not from me) and pretty much dismissed it by saying, “The Reds are doing everything to bring Reds fans the best radio and TV coverage”.  Joe Zerhusen, the broadcast affiliate manager, was also in attendance.  Presumeably he will be around tonight checking various spots in the city for the horrible reliablity of the signal and continue to see if there are other options for another affiliate.

All in all it was a poorly timed event that seemed hastily put together with little fanfare or excitement.  The people running the caravan should have put more into the event (promotion) and at the very least they should have apologized for being late.

When you give out free copies of Baseball America’s NL Central prospect report that says, “Reds are a long way away”, while trying to promote the team as a winner, you have some serious problems.

Another RedsFest Note

Just a final note to wrap-up RedsFest and the weekend.

I talked to Joe Zerhusen, the PA announcer at GABP and Reds on Radio affiliatte manager, face to face on Saturday at the Duke Energy Center.

He was a very nice man and told me that he had recieved my letter about the problems we’ve been having in Louisville over the broadcast here the past few seasons.

Zerhusen told me that it really is a matter of not having an alternative station to the only sports station in town (WKRD) to use as an affiliate here in Louisville.  For now, Reds broadcasts will be on 1450 AM, which drops significantly at night right around the 8PM hour.

He acknowldeged the problem and said that he would even consider making the trek down to Louisville in order to check on the signal at night at different parts around town in hopes of improving the situation.

I really want to thank him for his sincerity and helpfulness during this whole ordeal and he really is trying to do his best to remedy the situation.

Hopefully something can be resovled soon and they can have an announcement during the winter caravan tour to Louisville in late January.

Reds Broadcast in Jeopardy

Here we go again.

Rick Redding, a local media critic and journalist has reveled that the Louisville affiliate for Reds broadcasts will be pulling the plug on their sports-talk format.  A move that could leave the Louisville market without any radio broadcast of Reds games.

A dispute has developed between 93.9 The Ticket (Reds affiliate) and 790 WKRD, the latter of which is operated by the University of Louisville Clear Channel.  Each station has poached talent and has taken pot shots at each other for one reason or another.

For the purposes of full disclosure, I am a University of Louisville fan, but the programming on WKRD has been controlled and manipulated by the University, almost to the point of censorship, which totally disgusts me.

I have posted on this blog before about the difficulties of finding a reliable affiliate that had a clear signal around town for me and others to enjoy the Reds down here in Louisville, but this is getting a bit out of hand.  Of course, if I had the money (any donations?) I would have bought a 50,000 watt station and broadcast Reds games and other national programming (Fox Sports has gotten the shaft here locally as well) since I like it much more than most radio shows around the area.

I guess I will have to make another call to Joe Zerhusen, the Reds affiliate coordinator, to make sure that fans in Louisville can hear Marty, Jeff, and Thom next season.  Joel was very helpful the last time around and I have no reason think that he won’t work his hardest to make sure fans are satisfied.

EDIT: Clear Channel operates the station, not the University of Louisville.  Sorry for the error.

New Radio Affiliate in Louisville Brings New Problem

When we wrote earlier about the problems we were having with our local Reds on Radio affiliate being a very weak station and we were happy to hear that a new partner had stepped up.  93.9 WQKC FM “The Ticket” will be the new radio affiliate for the Reds in Louisville.  That’s good news.  A strong station that we can get in the house and in our car.  The only bad thing about this station is that it is run by like 3 guys out of a corner of a building in downtown Louisville.  As you can see, the website hasn’t been updated since March.

All mention of the Reds has been wiped clean from the WKRD site.  Perhaps they have ended all affiliation with the Reds and they won’t be on two stations at once. It is a shame that they couldn’t do something to help out fans and keep both the Reds and Louisville Bats on the same sister station.  The signal improved enough so that we could get the games at home since our original post.

However, a new problem has cropped up.

WQKC also broadcasts the Louisville Fire, an Arena2 Football League team.  They have games at the same time as the Reds (most start around 7 or 8 PM). The Fire signed a deal in February of this year with WQKC.  We weren’t able to contact WQKC for comment or get any explination of what will happen when the two games are played at the same time.  As soon as we do, we will post something here.

Hopefully they will do what is right and broadcast the Reds games instead of the Fire or else we will have to send another letter to Joe Zerhusen (who was very nice on the phone by the way) and let him know about the new problem.

Thanks to John Fay for the tip.

WKRD and the Reds on Radio

For those of you not aware of the situation here in Louisville, the Reds radio affiliate WKRD 790-AM/101.7 FM has been a sore point of contention starting last year when the station became the primary radio affiliate for the Triple-A Louisville Bats leaving Reds fans out in the cold.

WKRD 790 AM, a much stronger station, broadcasted Reds games since at least 2004 but was switched to their sister station at the beginning of the 2006 season. When the games were moved to 101.7 FM, a station broadcast out of Shelbyville, KY, 45 miles from Louisville, Reds fans began to contact the program director Jim Fenn with no response.

So, in the last few weeks, we decided to take our complaints to the Reds directly hoping they would apply pressure to the local affiliate to either boost the signal or switch stations.

Here is the text of that letter:

“I am writing as a fan of the Cincinnati Reds and Louisville resident to relay to you a problem with the local radio broadcast of Cincinnati Reds baseball games. After repeated failed attempts to contact the program director Jim Fenn at 790-AM WKRD/101.7-FM, I bring my appeal to you in an attempt to resolve a problem we have been having in Louisville over the past year.

After the 2006 season, WKRD moved the Reds on Radio broadcast to an inferior station (101.7 FM) that does not reach a majority of the fans in the Louisville area. The coverage area of this affiliate is inadequate since the broadcasting location is located in Shelbyville, Kentucky, 45 miles outside of Louisville. At night, when a majority of Reds games are played, the station drops out and Reds fans in the area do not receive a satisfactory signal. Personally I have tried three different radios with minimal success.

To resolve the problem I would appreciate if you would speak with Mr. Fenn to find an amicable solution to the problem by either boosting the signal from 101.7 FM or to move the broadcast to a stronger radio station so that that Reds fans in Louisville can enjoy the ballgame via the radio.”

One of those letters was sent to Joe Zerhusen, the Reds PA announcer for Great American Ballpark and broadcast affiliate manager. Joe has since called us to inform us that they are “well aware of the situation in Louisville” (we assume recieveing a lot of complaints?) and are “working hard” to solve the situation. We certainly appreciate him calling us directly and letting us know that everything is being done to get things changed for Reds fans in Louisville.

What happens from here remains to be seen, but we are confident that Joe will make things right so that the listeners in Louisville can have our radio broadcast come in loud and clear.