Listening to a baseball game on the radio is something that is built into the fiber of Cincinnati Reds baseball fans. Marty and Joe carried the play-by-play for three decades to a wide ranging area over the airwaves of 700 WLW. Over the last decade and a half those names have changed, first when Joe Nuxhall retired, and then when Marty Brennaman followed along two years ago with his own retirement. What also changed is how much of the technology is used. With the internet, and now phones and tablets – many younger fans don’t own radios that aren’t in the dashboard of their cars.
That has made it more difficult to listen to baseball games because while you can stream, for free, nearly every radio station in the United States via an app or their website, Major League Baseball has “blacked out” radio broadcasts via the internet and apps for over a decade, instead forcing you to pay for their app to listen to the games. That is changing this year. At least sort of.
On Tuesday morning it was announced that 700 WLW got permission to stream Cincinnati Reds baseball games through their website, apps, smart devices, etc. without fees as long as the user is “in market”. How far that range extends was not detailed, but if you are in the greater Cincinnati area it certainly would seem to allow you to open up your iheartradio app and listen to the games this year. For the first two spring training games I was able to listen to them through my Amazon Echo – at the time I assumed that someone just forgot to hit the “nuke” button on the broadcast because it was early in spring training.
While this may not help someone living in Cleveland listen to Cincinnati Reds games, for many people in the Cincinnati area this is a big deal. You take your phone everywhere with you. Now you can listen to the game wherever you go, if you choose, without having to also either take a radio, or fork over some cash to MLB simply because you didn’t want to buy a radio to carry around with you in Cincinnati.