Twins moving to KTWN-FM next season

MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Twins are moving to the FM dial.

The team announced Wednesday that the radio broadcasts for Twins games will be on KTWN (96.3 FM) beginning in 2013. The announcement was made at Target Field during a live broadcast on KTWN with host Eric Perkins and special co-host and former Twins first baseman Kent Hrbek. Twins president Dave St. Peter was also on hand for Wednesday’s announcement.

“We think this will increase the accessibility of our games going to the FM dial, having a better signal, having building penetration and then of course maintaining the 88-station network,” St. Peter said Wednesday.

The KTWN station is owned by the Pohlad family, which also owns the Twins.

Since 2007, Twins games had been broadcast on AM-1500, which is owned locally by Hubbard Broadcasting. Prior to that, the team’s lone broadcast partner had been WCCO (830 AM) from the time the team came to Minnesota in 1961.

“We had frankly been very vocal internally with Hubbard Broadcasting about our desire to be on FM,” St. Peter said. “That discussion dated back to the original deal with them. We just were unable to find that match with them.

“Obviously with 96.3 FM being a sister company, so to speak, we thought there was an opportunity there to not only move the Twins to FM — which we think is ultimately what our fans want — but also in this case be a part of what we think is going to be a pretty dynamic radio station.”

The radio broadcast also recently introduced a new play-by-play voice, as Cory Provus took over for John Gordon, who retired after the 2011 season.

“I think it’s an exciting time,” Provus said. “I think it’s a new era of Twins baseball. I love the medium of radio and baseball on the radio. It’s something that is timeless. … I’m excited for this opportunity and looking forward to building a great partnership.”

Currently, 96.3 FM is primarily a music station, while the Twins’ current broadcast partner, 1500ESPN, is a sports talk station. Only a handful of Major League Baseball teams currently broadcast on FM stations.

“It’s going to be unique, that’s for sure,” said Sam Elliot, vice president of Northern Lights Broadcasting. “There are examples in small markets and medium-sized markets, but not in a flagship type of a situation where you’re in the metro. … We’re committed to surrounding it with great programming.”

While no specific plans for upcoming programming changes were announced Wednesday, the Twins and KTWN believe the team’s move to 96.3 FM will be beneficial long-term for both sides.

“We’re going to try some fun things over time to try to incorporate the Twins brand into that,” St. Peter said. “I think it’ll be less about X’s and O’s and more about personality and human interest. But we think there’s a great fit for the Minnesota Twins, whether it be current players, former players, etc., to kind of coexist within a music radio format.”

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