The last year has been a strange one for professional sports in San Diego.
Of course, the Chargers left for greener dollars in Los Angeles. The rise of professional hockey in San Diego with the Gulls has been fun to watch, and the city seems poised to welcome a Major League Soccer team in the next couple years.
A smaller but important story for baseball fans, however, has also been slowly playing out. At a time when terrestrial radio faces an uncertain future, two of San Diego’s iconic stations are making significant gambles in an effort to bring in new fans with new ideas. Last year, the Padres announced they would be leaving their longtime home radio station, the Mighty 1090 AM, for FM 94.9.
The move was interesting in a few ways. Traditionally sports stations are on the AM dial, and although it’s becoming more popular for sports talk radio to switch to FM, it’s still not common, like podcasts or Brussels sprouts.
It’s even rarer for a music station, especially an alternative rock station, to take a mid-day break from music to air live sporting events. In San Diego, we could hear Chargers games on Rock 105.3, an FM station, but that was only on Sundays and for a few hours out of the day, 16 times a year. The Padres play 162 games a year, and those games can last three and a half hours or longer. For a music heavy station to make that kind of regular programming change is so uncommon it can only be found in two other cities in America.
Listener reaction has been varied. 1090 fans are mixed on having to switch over to an FM station, and many 94.9 fans are upset the station stops playing music for hours at a time. Some baseball fans in the county say 94.9 doesn’t reach them in the first place, while others praise the audio quality since the Padres left 1090. Like with anything in the world: People like it or people hate it, like with podcasts or Brussels sprouts.
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Oh yeah, the game sounds great on FM. As long as you can pick it up. This radio arrangement is the going away gift former Padres President Mike Dee gave us.
You don't have any newer pictures of Petco and the surrounding area? That picture is from either 2005 or 2006.