Los Angeles Kings fans will not have traditional terrestrial radio as an option to listen to games this season. The team has announced that their games will be available online through the iHeartRadio app via the LA Kings Audio Network. Games were previously available through Cumulus Radio station KABC since 2014.
The team decided to terminate its partnership with Cumulus after the company filed for bankruptcy in 2017, and the Kings began to look for different ways to deliver its audio content. Radio announcers Nick Nickson and Darryl Evans will move over to the online medium.
Kings senior vice president of marketing, communications, and content Mike Altieri tells the Los Angeles Times that while there will be some complaints in the interim, fans will adjust:
“We think it’s definitely a forward-thinking approach to audio, a chance to do something different as the market keeps changing and a way to be more consistent,” Altieri said. “If there is any resistance initially, I think we can educate fans how to use it over time.”
It appears that the Kings will be the first NHL team to use online streaming as its exclusive delivery of audio. Their iHeartRadio contract allows not just for live games, but expansion of pregame and postgame shows (normally 30 minutes), plus podcasts, classic game replays, and archived material over the Kings’ 50 years of existence.
Teams have used online apps to complement their radio broadcasts, but the Kings are going all in online. Nickson tells the Times that fans can listen without losing the signal:
“What’s intriguing for me, with all we can do on this app, is that a Kings fan anywhere in the world can tap the phone and listen, and they could drive forever and never lose the signal.”
If Kings fans embrace this, expect more teams to move their content online. Expect other teams, not just those in the NHL, to monitor the success of the Kings’ concept.
Kings games will still be available on SiriusXM.