West Michigan: May 2005 Archives

In another blow to fans of play-by-play coverage of the Detroit Tigers, the team's Grand Rapids affiliate has pulled the plug on the broadcasts, leaving the state's second largest city without a local radio outlet for Michigan's only Major League Baseball team. WMFN-AM 640 changed its format to Adult Urban Contemporary this week, and along with blowing out the old lineup of talk, sports, and comedy shows, Tyrone Bynum, WMFN's new general manager, has decided that the Tigers don't generate enough ratings or ad revenue to keep on the schedule of the revamped station.

Since the Tigers and Red Wings move off of WJR to WXYT several years ago, it has become increasingly difficult for fans to pick up the games -- both in the metro Detroit area because of reception problems on WXYT and outstate because a good number of former affiliates no longer carry the games. The Tigers also lost their over-the-air TV deal this season when WKBD-TV 50 Detroit couldn't reach an agreement with the club.

For those that *really* want to listen and watch, there are still options-- but you'll have to pay. Fox Sports Net Detroit will air nearly 120 Tigers' games on cable/satellite TV and XM radio provides radio coverage of every game (though you won't be able to hear the Tigers' announcers all the time).

The Tigers poor performance on the field in recent years has no doubt has helped stations make the decision to drop the games -- lack of fan interest leads to poor ratings and that usually means less money. In the broadcasting biz these days, keeping a non-performer on the schedule is increasingly difficult as the bottom line becomes more and more important. So it's understandable what is happening -- but still kind of sad for someone like me that grew up being able to hear the Tigers on free radio no matter where you were in Michigan.


Today's Grand Rapids Press reports that Detroit Tigers broadcasts have returned to WMFN-AM 640 as of yesterday's game. The station dropped the team's radio play-by-play 10 days ago when it changed its format from talk to adult urban. Commenting at the time of the format change and decision to drop the Tigers, the station's new general manager, Tyrone Bynum, told the Press that he wouldn't air the games if the station had to pay for them and that there wasn't much advertiser or listener support for the broadcasts. In today's story, Bynum now claims "the Tigers' return to the station is based upon a groundswell of support from local baseball fans and advertisers in the West Michigan community." "I'm not paying," Bynum said. "I wanted to put them on in the first place, but I'm trying not to go broke. This is a business. We've got sponsors who are deferring that cost, and we've got more sponsors coming on board."

One thing seems certain... the Tigers flagship station, Infinity-owned WYXT-AM 1270 Detroit, plans on holding its affiliates to its contracts.







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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the West Michigan category from May 2005.

West Michigan: April 2005 is the previous archive.

West Michigan: November 2005 is the next archive.

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