When will KIRO news talk switch over to FM, leaving the historic AM band to... ESPN sports?
The scuttlebutt around KIRO gives it six months. But that it will happen, a staffer told us it's "not a matter of if, but a matter of when."
Since last week, KIRO is calling itself "97.3FM" and the newscasts have taken an FM sound and feel.
But note the logo above, it's about a cue-to-call contest, register online; change your radio preset button to 97.3FM; four names a day will be drawn and announced on air, if you call in an hour, you get $1000.
KIRO's big move means great news for everyone. Now that we're on 97.3 FM, you'll get crystal clear reception, everywhere you go - at your office, under bridges, and even in tunnels! But great reception isn't our only story. Just confirm that you've set a new button for KIRO on all of your radios at 97.3 FM and you could win $1000 in cash!
(Lots of $1000 bills flying around for talk radio listeners at the moment -- KOMOAM is offering a cue-to-call contest to get you to listen to The Commentators 10a-2p weekdays)
It's not mother love that's spurring the KIRO giveway -- they're building audience for the FM side. They won't dumping this 87-year old format from this heritage station without some good numbers. This will be the most significant format change for the station in anyone's memory.
We and everyone else has been predicting this for months: not a difficult call after KIRO got the Mariners baseball broadcast contract, (they already had the Seahawks) and flipped FM oldies station KBSG to simulcast.
The change would mean sports won't interrupt regular programming: hear Dori and Ron & Don during baseball games; listen to TBTL without the interruption of the homoerotic Seahawk Cuddle (Wednesdays, 7-9p). Tom Douglas will have to work every Saturday (4-7p).
We doubt it will happen before the election Nov. 4th -- too many political ads on the books.
Solid KRKO sources told us in August that that ESPN wants out of their KRKO agreement by January, freeing up the network for KIRO in the first or second quarter.
Could it be there will be more live & local evenings and weekends on 97.3? Be still our hearts, and don't hold your breath. The potential is there, but the daunting economy at the moment makes that growth unlikely.