KTRB Radio (860-AM) general manager Jim Pappas isn't pretending that his station can compete with KNBR. But he does believe it can provide some material that KNBR can't.
KTRB launched a new all-sports format on Monday featuring strictly syndicated programming. But Pappas plans on gradually introducing local programming that will be heavily focused on the A's and Raiders.
"We're not under any illusions that we're going to somehow beat KNBR," Pappas said. "KNBR is a wonderful radio station that has great local talent. KNBR's success cannot be disputed. Our objective is to be a good, viable alternative and to provide more content for those people who want to hear more of what KNBR just can't do enough of because there are only 24 hours in a day."
Pappas believes, through feedback from listeners and advertisers, that A's and Raiders fans are underserved in the local sports radio landscape because KNBR is the flagship station for the Giants and 49ers. Thus, KNBR's sports talk hosts spend more time talking about the teams that the station carries.
KTRB is in its first season carrying A's games, and Pappas said the station would be interested in striking up a relationship with the Raiders, who currently are in the middle of a contract with KSFO.
"People were giving us feedback that KNBR is great, but they really don't focus on the A's and Raiders," Pappas said. "KNBR's focus, rightly so, is on the Giants and 49ers. But what about those East Bay sports fans? What about those who like the Oakland sports teams?"
KNBR general manager Tony Salvadore acknowledged that his programming focuses more on the Giants and 49ers but rejected the notion that it doesn't pay enough attention to the A's and Raiders.
"I'm not buying that at all," Salvadore said. "For anyone to say that we don't cover the A's or we don't cover the Raiders is such a fabrication. Are we going to talk more about the Giants? Of course we are. But we're a sports station. We don't ignore the A's."
For now, KTRB is airing six nationally syndicated shows from 6 a.m. to 1 a.m. Included in the lineup is Chris Myers' show on Fox Sports Radio and "Sports Byline with Ron Barr," which has been on the air for more than 20 years. Barr is a former sports anchor at KRON-TV.
Pappas said part of the motivation from switching formats from political talk to all-sports was to be able to build programming around the A's broadcasts.
"The A's tended to go from station to station, and their programming was its own little island on whatever kind of station it was on," Pappas said. "This is a work in progress. We're going to be talking to a lot of different people about creatively bringing program elements into our format that are more localized that deal with the A's and the Raiders."
KTRB also carries Stanford football and men's basketball games.
Salvadore said all-sports is one of the hardest radio formats to have success in because it has to be local and is expensive to produce.
"Jim Pappas is a nice guy. I wish him the best of luck," Salvadore said. "But to say that we don't cover the A's and Raiders is just a way for them to rationalize what they are doing. Welcome to the sports radio business. It's a free country. I wish him the best."
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A look at the weekday schedule for KTRB (860-AM), the new all-sports radio station that launched Monday: