When 1350 AM/93.1 FM KTIK parted ways with ESPN Radio, Treasure Valley sports fans were left with lots of options — and a dilemma. Would they switch to lesser-known KINF 730 AM, the new home of “ESPN Boise,” and put up with the staticky familiarity of Grandpa’s AM radio? Or would they stick with the only FM station in the market — 93.1 — and tolerate sports airwaves without ESPN?
It’s no longer a dilemma. (Well, sort of. More on that in a moment.) KINF, obviously sensing opportunity, has begun broadcasting at 96.5 FM.
How will the reception be on your radio? That’s the catch. To continue the baseball terminology, 96.5 FM will be a whiff for some listeners. I couldn’t get it to come in without holding onto an antenna here in the Statesman building. Even then, it wasn’t great. (Granted, my radio sucks.) The frequency was fighting for space between the classic rockin’ on 96.1 Bob FM and 96.9 The Eagle.
Update: Darrell Calton, CEO at Impact Radio Group, explains:
The signal is a low wattage translator meant to augment or fill the signal on 730 AM. You may not get in office or in home listening with it. It is designed for in car use. For in office listening click on our streaming player link here or go to the website.
ESPN Boise also added a new local sports show Monday that airs weekdays from 2 to 4 p.m.: “The Ballgame Show with Rick and Johnny,” aka Rick Worthington and John Mallory.
Worthington explained via email:
The program will consist of local and national sports topics, with emphasis on local teams and events. ESPN 730 is also being given access to ESPN Television Network talent and writers for on-air interviews. Guests for the first week of the program include: ESPN.com College Football contributor Andrea Adelson, ESPN Pro Football Scout Todd McShay, BSU Softball coach Erin Thorpe, Boise Hawks GM Todd Rahr, and Robert Baun, the host of MLB’s Country Fastball.
Sports junkies will notice that “The Ballgame Show” airs before the three-hour “Idaho Sports Talk” on KTIK and overlaps by one hour. So even though it’s competition, KINF is avoiding entirely direct competition. Maybe this is sort of like radio intramurals.