On Sunday, the Raiders will be hosting what, for most of the country, is its first-ever late night contest, an 8:35 p.m. kickoff against the Chargers. For the explanation as to why the originally-scheduled 1:25 p.m. kickoff was postponed for over seven hours, read this.
Aside from the unprecedented lateness, there’s another oddity associated with this broadcast. It marks the return of the Raiders to KRON channel 4.
If you’ve lived in the Bay Area for over 15 years, you may remember that KRON used to bill itself as “Your Raiders Station.” That’s because it used to be the Bay Area’s NBC affiliate, and NBC had the rights to air AFC games on Sunday mornings and afternoons. So most Raiders contests aired on KRON in the Bay Area, even when the team moved to LA. In fact, KRON was able to air more Raiders games from LA than they were from Oakland since the LA games weren’t subject to blackouts here.
Until Sunday night.
Not only has the station surprised everyone who follows sports broadcasting in these parts by taking this opportunity to grab the NFL Network telecast, it’s also producing a half-hour pregame show as well as one for postgame. This means a chance to relive the old days and see sportscaster Gary Radnich back in the saddle.
Again, old-timers may recall that back when KRON was an NBC affil, Radnich used to regularly host local postgame shows following certain sports events. It was called “Sit Down With Gary Radnich”, remember?
Now we know Radnich as the co-host of KNBR-AM’s morning show, but you may be surprised to learn he’s still at KRON. That’s because, if you’re a sports fan, you probably never watch KRON since they don’t have any sports.
They must be paying Radnich a king’s ransom because otherwise it’s unfathomable why another station, one that has a network attached to it and therefore airs sports, wouldn’t have grabbed him.
Nevertheless, he’ll be sitting down once again before and after Sunday’s Raiders telecast. So if you squint your eyes a little, maybe it’ll seem like it’s 1997 again and this is his regular gig.
Is this the start of the Bay Area’s cheapest TV station loosening its purse strings and actually spending some coin (other than what they're paying Radnich)? Is this a changed directive from the station’s new corporate overlords, Media General?
Or just a one-time opportunity to grab a contest that the big network stations couldn’t justify preempting their new fall lineups for?
Time will tell.
Meanwhile, enjoy Gary After Dark on Sunday night, and remind him he’s on the radio Monday morning.