MLB Network Radio
|Broadcast area||United States
|Branding||MLB Network Radio|
|Slogan||XM's 24/7 Major League Baseball Channel|
|First air date||2005|
|Class||Satellite Radio Station|
|Owner||Sirius XM Radio|
MLB Network Radio (formerly MLB Home Plate) is an American sports talk radio station on XM Satellite Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio that features Major League Baseball related talk shows, as well as archives and live reports.
MLB Home Plate launched in February 2005, as an incentive to entertain the new listeners who signed up for XM's Major League Baseball deal when the games were not on. MLB Network Radio is carried on XM channel 89, and was added to the "Best of XM" package on Sirius Satellite Radio on December 10, 2008, airing on channel 209.
First season on the air
MLB Home Plate launched at the start of the Major League Baseball season in 2005, ready to entertain the new customers who bought XM to hear their favorite teams. It launched with a full lineup, and several guests immediately. On day one of broadcast, José Canseco made the claim to his former manager turned Home Plate host Kevin Kennedy that Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire took steroids during the 1998 Home Run Chase. XM Satellite Radio even put out a press release about the broadcast. Around launch time, XM announced that they had signed Cal Ripken, Jr. to do a Saturday mid-morning show on Home Plate. The channel was aided throughout the season as XM's subscriber growth prediction exceeded what they expected, with retailers claiming that 15-17% of people who signed up for XM did it for baseball.
The end of the 2005 season was especially active as the satellite company carried both feeds of both teams during the post-season games, and four feeds per world series game (which included a promotion where XM gave out free Roady XTs to all who attended the first World Series 2005 game).
2006 - 2009
At the beginning of MLB's second season on XM Radio, XM Radio Canada decided to add all 14 MLB Play-by-Play channels to their platform. Canada already carried Home Plate, and now they would carry the complete Major League Baseball package barring XM 174 (Spanish broadcasts). In exchange, they would produce channel 179 with some select exclusive content, and make that channel the home for all the Toronto Blue Jays home games. XM Canada also produced interviews for play on the other play-by-play channels when no games were being aired.
In late April 2006, DirecTV removed the MLB Home Plate channel from their lineup. DirecTV wanted to go completely music programming. Talk channel High Voltage was also removed, but put back on the lineup within a week due to fan response. DirecTV also claims that there is a rights issue brewing over the MLB audio broadcasts, but this has been debated. On March 29, 2008, Home Plate was added to XM Radio Online.
On March 26, 2010, it was announced that MLB Home Plate will be rebranded to MLB Network Radio which will simulcast some MLB Network programs such as MLB Tonight and Hot Stove. Their programming was also changed with the rebranding.
Effective May 4, 2011 SiriusXM revamped their entire channel line up. For the first time MLB Network Radio was moved away from the play by play to channel 89, after 6 years on channel 175. The Sirius channel was also changed from channel 210 to 209.
See also MLB Network#On-air staff
- Jim Memolo - Host of First Pitch weekdays 7am - 10am ET.
- Jim Duquette - Former New York Mets general manager and Baltimore Orioles executive co-hosts Power Alley, weekdays from 10 am-2 pm ET. His co-host is Kevin Kennedy.
- Kevin Kennedy - Former manager of the Boston Red Sox and the Texas Rangers, and regular contributor to MLB's Game of the Week coverage. He co-hosted Inside Pitch with Casey Stern, weekdays from 1-4 pm ET and now hosts Power Alley, weekdays from 10 am-2 pm ET with Duquette.
- Casey Stern - Co-hosts Inside Pitch weekdays from 2pm - 6pm with Jim Bowden.
- Jim Bowden - The former Cincinnati Reds and Washington Nationals GM Co-hosts Inside Pitch weekdays from 2pm - 6pm with Casey Stern.
- Cal Ripken Jr. - Hall of Fame shortstop, Ripken played his entire 21-year career with the Baltimore Orioles. The baseball legend now hosts a weekly program Fridays 12pm - 2pm, where all baseball topics are discussed. Joining Cal on the show will be his brother, fellow MLB veteran Billy Ripken.
- Ed Randall - Randall's call-in show, Taking Baseball, airs Saturdays from 9 am-12 pm ET.
Holden Kushner - Co-host of Baseball Today along with Jim Duquette airs Sunday's from 10am-1pm est. Kushner has been with the channel since its inception in 2005.
Former on-air staff
- Rob Dibble - Former MLB pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds, Chicago White Sox and Milwaukee Brewers. After 7 seasons, he turned to broadcasting, and added his commentary to such shows as The Best Damn Sports Show Period and Gameday on ESPNRadio. He co-hosted The Show with Jody MacDonald, weekdays from 4-6 pm ET, and First Pitch with Jim Memolo, weekdays 7am - 10am ET. He now hosts on Fox Sports Radio from 10 pm-1 am ET
- Jeff Erickson - The senior editor of RotoWire.com and winner of the 2007 AL Tout Wars fantasy baseball title hosted Fantasy Focus on XM from 2005 to 2008. John Sickels hosted the show on Fridays, when it is was often called Down on the Farm. Fantasy Focus moved to Blogtalkradio/RotoWire. Sirius/XM has brought back Jeff and Chris Liss to host RotoWire Fantasy Sports Today on Sirius 125/XM 241, running Monday-Friday from 11-2 ET. The new show started on Mar. 29, 2010.
- Mark Patrick - Former host of Mark Patrick on Sports on Fox Sports Radio. Mark has had a long radio career, including a stint at The Bob and Tom Show. With Buck Martinez, Patrick co-hosted Baseball This Morning exclusively on XM each morning from 6-9 a.m. ET until November 12, 2008. Patrick is no longer with Sirius XM.
- Charley Steiner - Sportscaster for the Dodgers, and best known for his 15-year service on ESPN's SportsCenter. As the host of Baseball Beat, Steiner had six writers, authors, columnists, broadcasters, or celebrities as guests daily. Sirius XM ended the show in January 2009.
- Buck Martinez - 17-year MLB catcher with the Kansas City Royals, Milwaukee Brewers and Toronto Blue Jays. He won an Emmy Award for Best Sports Special in 1995 for his work as an analyst on ESPN's telecast of the game in which Cal Ripken, Jr. broke Lou Gehrig's record for consecutive games played. On MLB Home Plate he co-hosted Baseball This Morning with Scott Graham, weekdays from 7-10 am ET. Martinez left Sirius XM to dedicate time to the Toronto Blue Jays where he is the full-time play-by-play broadcaster beginning in 2010.
- Joe Castellano - Veteran broadcaster and former commentator for Westwood One and CBS Sports. He hosted MLB Live - Late Edition weeknights from 9 pm-12 am ET.
- "JOSE CANSECO CLAIMS SAMMY SOSA AND MARK McGWIRE TOOK STEROIDS DURING 1998 HOME RUN CHASE ON XM SATELLITE RADIO'S MLB HOME PLATE CHANNEL; PETE ROSE TELLS XM HE SUSPECTS CANSECO MOTIVATED BY MONEY" (Press release). XM Satellite Radio. 2005-02-15. Retrieved 2007-03-22.
- "XM Satellite Radio's MLB Home Plate to Air on XM Radio Online" (Press release). PR Newswirevia xmradio.com. 2008-03-26. Retrieved 2008-03-29. "Starting March 29, MLB Home Plate Channel Will be Available on the Internet for the First Time."
- MLB Rebrands XM Radio Channel to MLB Network Radio - Extending television brand, programs to satellite radio service Broadcasting & Cable March 26, 2010
- XM's 'Baseball Beat' Signs Off
- MLB Home Plate on XM
- MLB Home Plate Lineup - Printable PDF grid featuring the complete MLB Home Plate lineup.