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MLB Team Worries About AM Coverage

Reds club owner pens letter to Wheeler on impact on fans

Will the FCC’s AM revitalization plan have an effect on America’s national pastime? Cincinnati Reds’ President and CEO Robert Castellini thinks it could.

Castellini wrote a letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler about his concern over the possible rule changes that he writes could cause interference on AM radios.

“Thousands of loyal fans rely on AM radio to access Reds baseball games,” wrote Castellini. “In fact, our flagship station WLW(AM) in Cincinnati carries our games on its signal to Reds fans throughout Ohio and beyond. For many Reds fans, WLW is their only access to play-by-play coverage.”

The letter did not discuss specific proposals, but WLW and its parent company iHeartRadio are among those that have expressed concern about the impact of easing signal protections, particularly at night, for big legacy Class A stations that traditionally have enjoyed a large nighttime signal footprint; and WLW has been conducting an online petition headlined “Save AM Radio.”

Given radio’s long relationship with Major League Baseball, it’ll be interesting to see if other ballclubs express similar concerns.

Castellini asserts that the FCC’s potential changes could impact the entire Reds Radio Network, which features more than 60 stations, according to Castellini.

“I hope the FCC will reject any proposal that will deny our fans access to the games they want to hear,” concludes Castellini.