Cubs’ success prompts KRNT to make contingency plans
The Chicago Cubs may be Des Moines’ most popular baseball team, but KRNT (1350 AM) is still the “home” of Drake University athletics.
That will likely lead to Saturday scheduling conflicts when the MLB postseason begins. If so, Drake football will stay on KRNT, while the Cubs will move to sister station PRAISE (940 AM).
“If it comes down to the World Series, we might have to beg, borrow or plead with Drake,” said Kate Garner, news director for the Des Moines Radio Group. “But for now, that’s the plan.”
Why does Drake take precedence?
Seniority. Bulldogs sports have aired on KRNT for as long as anyone can remember. The Cubs, however, have generated an unprecedented buzz.
Several months ago, Garner and her crew gave away 2,500 Cubs schedules in a single day. And that was well before they rolled to the National League’s Central Division title.
“I have never in my lifetime seen it at this point of fervor,” Garner said. “Mostly, because they appear to be able to go beyond this moment. Winning their division is one thing, but they’ve faltered a lot after that.
“I feel like this is a year when they can take those next steps and hopefully they go all the way, because, you know, it’s been over 100 years.”
Playoff games will obviously air on television, but listening to baseball on the radio is a tradition that dates back to the 1920s.
And many central Iowa listeners have gotten used to tuning in during the regular season, since the Cubs are usually blacked out in this area.
KRNT also broadcasts the Green Bay Packers, but the Cubs have an edge in that matchup.
“If the Cubs are in the playoffs or World Series,” Garner explained, “most likely the Packers would then be tape delayed and the Cubs would go live.”
North Dakota State beat Iowa, and WHO’s Andy Fales took a Twitter beating from Bison fans. In the days leading up to the game, Fales suggested, tongue in cheek, that NDSU supporters ask for the game to be canceled. He also recommended women who follow the Bison shave their mustaches. Fales’ taunts, which originally aired on WHO Channel 13’s SoundOff, got air play in Minnesota and the Dakotas. Most understood it as good-natured, but some offered responses such as “it’s like he tries to be Skip Bayless, and wind people up. But it actually comes off more delusional and sad. Somehow.”
A poster for the Clarke of Osceola girls’ basketball team drew harsh attention from ESPN, the New York Daily News and Deadspin. It featured players in traditional Native American attire, face paint and headdress. Ben Shirk, owner of Shirk Photography, told Deadspin his company was responsible for the idea, not the school. The Daily News asked “How tone deaf can you possibly be?”
The next time North Dakota State visits our state, it will be for an Oct. 29 game at Northern Iowa. The Missouri Valley Conference showdown will air on WHO’s Channel 13.2, Comcast SportsNet Chicago and ESPN3.
Andrew Logue has been with the Register for 20 years. Follow him @AndrewMLogue.