Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Home Team

Rangers or Astros on TV, But Where?

Are you at home with the Texas Rangers, or are you at home with the Houston Astros. According to Fox Sports or Major League Baseball, in Austin and Central Texas we are at home with the Astros.

But, you say, the Round Rock Express is the AAA club for last year’s American League champions, the Texas Rangers. Doesn’t that make a difference?

Further, we know the Texas Rangers stars—Josh Hamilton, Nelson Cruz, and Michael Young to name three. Can you name three Astros “stars”? Who knows? By the time they play 162 games these Astros may indeed be legitimate stars. Stranger things have happened in baseball.

We also know names of several of the Round Rock Express. Some of them have been up to the “show” with the big club, particularly at the end of the season. I particularly like yeoman player Matt Kata; he’s capable of being spectacular. Also, center fielder Julio Borbon started last year in the Major League.

These are familiar names, but they aren’t part of the “home market” team. The home market team for Austin and Central Texas is the Houston Astros.

Therefore, when you tune in Fox Southwest during baseball season within the next few days, more than likely you’ll see the Houston Astros, even though we know only a few of their names (Carlos Lee, Wandy Rodriguez, and Chris Johnson). You’ll have to look elsewhere for the Rangers.

“The Austin area is considered a home market for the Astros but when those games are on Fox SW and the Rangers are playing at the same time, then the Rangers game will be on Channel 77 there in Austin,” says Melissa Sorola, regional communications director for Time Warner Cable.

One notable problem is that Channel 77 is digital, meaning a viewer must have a cable box to view it. Secondly, it is not a High Definition (HD) telecast. It is available, however.

Now, there is a third option for 25 of the Ranger’s regular season games. KBVO, another digital channel, will broadcast 25 Texas Rangers baseball games live in HD beginning Friday night, April 13th through September 28th. “Every Friday night KBVO will bring the excitement and tradition of the reigning American League Champs into the homes of Central Texas,” their news release says.

LIN Media is trying to position KBVO as a regional sports channel. “KBVO brings Austin viewers local and regional sports such as San Antonio Spurs, Houston Texans pre-season football, Big 12 college basketball including the University of Texas Longhorns and live broadcasts of local high school football and basketball,” according to the news release. Other than these Friday night Rangers games, the sports programming on KBVO is rather sporadic however.

A complete listing of all Texas Rangers games airing on KBVO is available at www.kbvotv.com.

[To clear up possible confusion: KBVO used to be the call letters for what is now KEYE TV when it was an independent, non-network station. When the station became a CBS affiliate, the call letters were changed to KEYE, and KBVO was dropped, making them available to some other station. The current KBVO used to be full-power hill country station broadcasting from a tower in Llano called KXAM TV, it repeated the programming of KXAN TV to a wider audience in the Hill Country, referred to in the Neilson Ratings as KXAN +. When LIN management decided to reprogram the station, the changed the call letters to KBVO. Clear?]

© Jim McNabb, 2012


jas said...

Hi Jim,

How do you reach the brass at local Time Warner? Their published numbers and addresses only get you to a droid. I want to reach someone in person at the local office, and encourage others to do the same, in order to make some noise about the ongoing situation as regards the Rangers telecasts. Can you help us out with some contact info?

Anonymous said...

Austin Astros fans have only seen 1 of the 4 Astros games so far. All 4 of the Rangers games have been on. For the past decade, both teams have consistently been on TV. Why change things in 2012?

NewsMcNabb said...

The Astros were said to be the "Home Market Team" but the Rangers seem to suddenly appearing on Fox Southwest.

I'll have to check to see if that's changed since my inquiry.

At any rate, I watched the Astros tonight (April 10) on Time Warner Cable Channel 77.

So, even if the newspaper doesn't indicate coverage, even if TWC's listings don't indicate coverage, check Channel 77.