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Phillies Radio Broadcasts Moving to FM Only for 2016

Anyone who drives late at night outside the immediate radius of Philadephia will mourn the loss of games on 1210 AM.

Jessica Hromas/Getty Images

I am naturally a late night person. If I had my druthers, I'd hit the sack around 1am or later every night. Which is why I love late night long-distance driving. I'm awake and it's much better to get your traveling done at night and not waste the day.

Throughout my life, one of the joys of late night long-distance driving has been listening to Phillies games on the radio.  It has seemed that no matter where I go, as long as I'm west east of the Mississippi River, I've been able to listen to the Phils at night on the car radio.  I have clear memories of listening as far north as Canada and as far south as Georgia.  In central Vermont, where my family has been going on winter and summer vacations for decades, I would regularly listen to Phils' games at night -- almost as clearly as if I were in Philadelphia.

But no more -- the Phillies have moved their radio broadcasts exclusively to the FM dial on WIP 94.1.  They've been broadcasting on both 94.1FM and 1210AM since 2012, but as of this season, all 162 games and spring training will be only on the FM station.

It's the end of an era, and the end of being able to listen to the Phillies almost anywhere.

The Phillies were broadcast over what seemed like half the continent of North America thanks to 1210 WPHT being a 50,000 watt clear channel station.  The 50,000 watts gave the station the power to be received hundreds of miles from the source.  The clear channel designation gave the station a clear pathway to broadcast without interference from other stations.

In other words, 1210 was as powerful as radio stations get and had no competition.  For Phillies fans who found themselves outside the Philadelphia area, it was a godsend.  Hearing Harry Kalas and Richie Ashburn calling games when you were far from home made summer nights in the middle of nowhere seem familiar.  Knowing that you could listen to the home team broadcast during the playoff runs of 2007 to 2011, no matter where you were, was glorious.

Listening to Phillies games also made night time driving pass more easily.  For those who are Delaware Valley ex-pats, it made living far from Philadelphia more palatable as well.

Sure, we had to deal with the horrors of hearing Rush Limbaugh's spittle on our radio when we forgot to change the station after a game and then came back to the radio the next day, but that was a small price to pay for the access we got from being on 1210.

Now?  Now the Phillies are going to have the same broadcast radius as Eagles games and the rest of WIP's schtick.  It'll sound great in and around Philadelphia, but forget about hearing the Phillies once you get past exits 8 or 9 on the NJ Turnpike.

It's hard to know just how much of an impact 1210 had on the size of the Phillies fanbase, but it's impossible to discount the possibility that it kept fans more interested in the team than they otherwise would have been.  Yes, we live in a world of greater access thanks to satellite and internet broadcasts, but regular ol' AM radio still has the capability of reaching more people free of cost, especially on a 50,000 watt clear channel station.

For that reason, and for my own selfish reason that I still want to listen to the Phillies late at night in the middle of nowhere, today's announcement is a sad one for the franchise.