Will WYSP/Philly Be In "The Zone"?
In Rochester, there is a station known as 94.1 The Zone, which was recently sold from CBS Radio to Entercom, and is in fact currently pending a sale from Entercom.
Meanwhile, WYSP is seeking to drop its "Free-FM" identity and likely rebrand itself to a format retaining Opie & Anthony in the morning, and rock, talk and God knows what the rest of the day.
Look no further than down the Turnpike in Pittsburgh, where CBS recently flipped to an all-talk format, though not as "Free-FM", but as "The Zone".
Meanwhile, notice that you can access WZNE's website via thezone941.com, but recently, not via 941thezone.com, which is still owned by "Infinity Broadcasting".
Stand back, because 94.1 is about to blow WYSP out of the box, dawg.
K-Rock Is Back
An Open Letter To Dan Mason Re: 92.3
So you're in a tough spot regarding the future of 92.3, and the possibility that given today's broadcasting climate - and especially following the departure of Imus - that the talk format can't be very "free". And with the ratings for the station perennially entrenched at the bottom of the Arbitrons, a drastic change is necessary.
I have your solution for this imminent change, and it's quite an unlikely one in these parts: Country.
I'm sure you're aware of the bonndoggle that prevents radio operators from taking a risk and putting this format on a major city signal for the first time since WYNY over ten years ago. As you may also be aware, this format has enjoyed a renewed success in recent years. Therefore, it could be very easy to adopt this format and, while it could never be a n overall ratings winner here, it'll certainly do better than Free-FM has been.
All you have to remember are three things when putting country on 92.3:
1. Image and advertising. First, you need a name. How about "92.3 The Wolf"? And a tagline like "Putting the country back in the city." You can roll out an advertising campaign that features, for example, the Statue of Liberty wearing a cowboy hat; or a shot of a pair of cowboy boots on Rockefeller Center's ice skating rink. And an equally clever TV advertising campaign. You can have a spot where a couple sit down for dinner at a swanky Upper East Side restaurant, and tell the waiter that they'd like chicken fried steak and turnip greens. And sweet tea.
2. The playlist. Programming this kind of format for New York may be tough, so use your own discretion as to which songs are "too country" for New York, but remember to play the hits (Garth, Brooks & Dunn, etc.). and I cannot stress this enough: Go ahead and play Carrie Underwood to death! Her popularity resulting from her success on "American Idol" is one of the factors attributed to the resurgence of country. So clearly her music has to be rooted in your playlist. Play one of her songs each hour.
3. Get out there! Yes, there are a few country-themed places in the city like the Rodeo Bar & Grill, Yogi's and, of course, Coyote Ugly Saloon. Get the "Wolf Van", or whatever you'll call it, out and about. Even at a few venues that aren't country. Get out there, get around, and spread the word that you're putting country back in the city.
In the last few years, Los Angeles and San Francisco have lost country formats and subsequently regained them. Country's return in New York is definitely a long time coming. And if you use these three tips I've laid out for you, it could make it a little easier this time around to sell the format.
Thanks for your time,
But it was not what was on the billboard ("One tackled tight ends; one tackles split ends") that was interesting. It was the entity that is hosting the billboard. That billboard company - you guessed it, CBS.
Hello, Imus Be Going
This is exactly what happened five years ago. August 2002. Opie & Anthony had their third go-round of the "Sex for Sam" contest, which gives you "points" for simulating sex - or even going all the way -at various venues in New York City. And every year, on the list of venues just happened to be St. Patrick's Cathedral. Nobody cited its existence on the list the first two years of the contest. Why? Because nobody had the brass bells to go there. And rightly so. And guess what happened in Year 3? Yup, someone went there, ensuing an uproar; an uproar led to a suspension; the suspension led to the eventual firing of Opie & Anthony by CBS. If you recall, the day after the contest, they were back on the air the next day; this would be the last live show before a week of "best-of" shows would start. Same thing here with Imus: he also stayed on the air for roughly a week after the day the bomb dropped; only all of his shows were live, and he had the opportunity to apologize for his remark. Every single day. You think he's of the opinion that this story's got a little more exposure than it should have over a throwaway "two second line"? Not that I'm defending him, mind you. But realize that there were no FCC rules or First Amendment rights violated with that statement. And other radio hosts have said worse.
Incidentally - or should I say, ironically - this was deja vu all over again not just for CBS, but MSNBC, which in that same summer of 2002, cancelled Michael Savage's Saturday afternoon show when he wished death (and homosexual slanders) on a prank caller who had a less demeaning comment on the host's teeth. Ah, birds of a feather.
One underserved part of this story was the fact that Sid Rosenberg may have led that horse Imus to those dark career-ending waters. During the sports update, Imus had only commented about the Rutgers players' tattoos, before Sid - or was it Bernard McGuirk, his producer? - would jump in with, "They're hardcore hos". Maybe Imus tried to get the last word in by turning "hardcore" into "nappy-headed", as if to say, "Can you top this?" Still, "hardcore hos" sounds like a Sid line, given his colorful line of work (remember that equally mindless joke about Kylie Minogue?) . Heck, perhaps he wrote it for Bernard. Maybe Imus always feeds off of this brand of "humor", but given Sid's past, it's really a shock he's returned to the show at all.
But given the show's climate, should it, really? And is Imus indeed a racist? Hey, you make the call. If you want to take Imus to task for all the controversial racially charged statements he's made throughout his career, this album he released in the former half of his career tells you all you need to know: http://www.amazon.com/This-Honkys-Nuts-Don-Imus/dp/B00000I8Y4 You might want to check out Track 2.
What's interesting is that, while Don Imus clearly is a top newsmaker this week, every time I access Google News (http://news.google.com/) - or maybe it's only the times I happen to go to the website - the name "Don Imus" is not listen among the ten "In The News" keywords. Yet I'll see others related to the story like "Rutgers University" show up. Heck, even "Snoop Dogg" has surfaced among those keywords. But no sign of Mr. Imus. By comparison, when Howard Stern announced his satellite radio deal, his name was all over those keywords on the Google News page. Of course, I really want to see if that tasteless phrase Imus used actually shows up as one of those keywords. But I digress.
But as I mentioned earlier, that phrase, while tasteless coming from a white man - and a repeat offender - as Mr. Imus, didn't violate any major broadcasting rules to warrant termination. Suspension, definitely. But some may think that termination over that comment is just the beginning of the end of free speech as we know it. (Or is it only for those on CBS' or MSNBC's air?) But really, if this case went further, to depths even those unfazed by the comments wouldn't have imagined, it may be quite possible that Rev. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson could ultimately end up ruining Christmas. I mean, think about it: the word "ho" is immoral. What does Santa Claus greet kids with? Not once, but THREE TIMES? Yup - "Ho, ho, ho!" Are we going to have to scramble to edit Santa's joyful comments out of movies and cartoons now? And where does The Green Giant stand in all of this? Is any of his classic TV commercials going to end up being pulled from YouTube, not for copyright infringement, but for immoral comments?And while we're at it, is it now time to edit Howard Stern's movie "Private Parts"? Not of all Imus references, mind you, but maybe that part where Pig Vomit tells Stern, "You've got to learn to do what Imus does". That statement sounds pretty un-American at this time, doesn't it? Hey, with everyone coming out of the woodwork on the Imus issue, I wonder what the real-life Pig Vomit - Kevin Metheny, now a regional VP at Clear Channel - thinks about all this. It would be interesting to hear.
I don't know. Maybe Imus is getting senile - or has been for awhile, depending on your point of view. Maybe he's out of touch with reality. Maybe that op-ed columnist on AOL was right: What if the hair he poked fun at was not of the Rutgers Lady Scarlet Knights, but of Sanjaya Malakar?
Which reminds me: do you remember who got sent home on "American Idol" last night?
Yes, folks - this Imus story is THAT big.
Does 102.1/SF Have The "Power"?
Interestingly, on 2/28, the domain "power1021.com" was registered - but no registrant information was attached.
WPEN To Be Rebranded "Sports Radio 950"?
"Fresh 98.1": The Reaction
First, let me make something clear right off the bat: I have no knowledge of a pending format flip. I'm just a radio geek, who doesn't mean nor wish any harm, and when I come across a unique domain name purchased by a distinguished entity, I just find it very interesting. I'm not out for anyone, nor do I want to see anyone dismissed; in a perfect world, that would never happen to anyone. And keep in mind, had it not been for Ben, WOGL likely wouldn't be on the air in its current state, anyhow. But for the sake of speculation, I brought it to public view. Anyone had the opportunity to sound the alarm, but I seized it.
And no sooner than the blog was posted, there was so much reaction, I may as well have been writing about why I thought the Bears would win the Super Bowl. But seriously, on a weekend, when radio forum traffic is usually light, I must say I'm quite impressed with the feedback that's been churning since my discovery. To give you an idea on what an impact it had: people were starting threads asking which station will "carry the torch" for oldies if and when WOGL flips.
"Those RRRRs" suggests that oldies-cum-sports WPEN would thrive with the format "with WOGL out of the way". I like the way you think, but consider the fact that WOGL has already worked some of the older oldies out of the playlist. Most of the stuff they can get now is on Ben or WMGK or even B101. Therefore, anyone looking for a replacement for WOGL, i.e. those not investing in satellite radio, will most likely gravitate to another FM station, and probably one of the three I mentioned. The AM band is relegated to news, traffic and weather for the big boys, and dollar-a-hollers for the little people. The radio landscape has changed. The days of Musicradio 77 and Wibbage are long gone. People have outgrown listening to music on AM. That's just the way it is. That's why everyone's collective jaw dropped when it discovered WHAT 1340 AM would be switching to an alternative music format. As a format, oldies may eventually "belong" to the AM band like standards, but how much money can you make with it in the long run. Not that I'm making an argument that WOGL's billing is not affable; if they're rakin' it in, great. And if so, stick to your word and commit to the format. This is why domain registrations are brought to the forefront: because in radio, you can never predict what the next step will be. And, as "mwebster" claims, WPEN is making more money with sports than when it was standards. And from what I see, they appear to have a strong listenership building. So things appear to be working out for everybody.
And while I'm at it, let me address some of the feedback I've got from my other discovery - or shall I say, discoveries (see below) regarding the 99.5 frequency. I'm well aware that WXRT is a heritage station in Chicago and that they'd be the last city to get the new AAA "Globe" format. But consider the fact that heritage stations are starting to become a thing of the past. I mean, Clear Channel alone has blown up several heritage stations in the last several months: 96rock, Atlanta; WRDU, Raleigh; WRNO, New Orleans, and so on, and so forth. Heck, CBS even "retired" the WNEW call letters to West Palm Beach, placing them on "B106.3" - I know, typical CBS Radio move. But as some agree with me, CBS Radio has made many questionable moves. And keep in mind the process of elimination: Between Tampa Bay, Detroit and Chicago, the most likely candidate to switch from country would be the Windy City, just like its bigger counterparts on the Left and Right Coasts. WUSN is good, but WQYK and WYCD are so good that they egged on Clear Channel to create competing stations, and I don't think they'd be too keen to pull out now. Meanwhile, is there a major Chicago station trying to eat away at WUSN's huge share?
On the contrary of what one poster writes, I am not "making crap up" - it's just typical radio geek speculation.
Is Philly Fresh-ening Up For 98.1?
Shortly after, I predicted on "The Radio Racket" that if the format did well there, CBS Radio might start farming it out to other markets (see: Jack-FM).
Well, lookee here: fresh981.com was registered two months ago by CBS!
They only own one other 98.1 and it's in St. Louis, and I doubt they're going to cut off their nose to spite their face and go up against their own KEZK. Then again, this is CBS we're talking about here...
No other "fresh" domains have been registered by CBS at this time. But perhaps this is the calm before the storm...
But imagine the similarities here: WLTW in New York has long been the "lite music" leader in New York. And people have long been wondering when CBS would finally come up with a worthy competitor to Lite-FM.
The same situation stands in Philadelphia, where B101 is still gangbusters after all these years - not bad for a privately owned station - and if they're going to be intimidated by the likes of WJBR out of Delaware, clearly they're vulnerable.
And everybody knows that WOGL should be a goner today; had it not been for Greater Media's 95.7, you people in Philly would be getting your "adult hits" from Jack and not Ben.
The day is coming, and CBS is waiting to pull the trigger.
Roll those tapes, people.
CBS Goes Globe-Trotting... Is Chicago Next?
Anyway, what's interesting is that CBS also registered "985theglobe.com" and "995theglobe.com" on the same day they registered "947theglobe.com".
The 98.5 stations CBS owns are in Vegas, Cleveland and Boston. It would be easier to convert an existing classic rocker to "world class rock" (also known as AAA) which is what they have in Cleveland on 98.5, but I'd put my money on Boston, since environmentalism is an issue that the Democratic demos can relate to...
As far as the 99.5ers, they own three of them in Chicago, Detroit and Tampa - all country. They've created competitions in the latter two markets with Clear Channel, while they're all alone in Chicago. You're aware that Market No. 1 has had no country station for over a decade, and Market No. 2 lost theirs just last year. With many asking when Market No. 3 will lose their country station, I think they might strike the iron this year if the Globe starts spinning the meters in D.C. They would effectively revamp their AAA format from WXRT - also on 94.7 - on 99.5, making 94.7 - I dunno, Fresh? Ironically, WLIT just rebounded from one of their worst books - below 3! - to bounce back into the top 5, so they're vulnerable...
Also interesting: On that same day, CBS has also registered, for each frequency, domains ending with: theearth.com, thefish.com, themoon.com, thesun.com and theworld.com . For them to go through all that trouble for each frequency, clearly there will be changes for at least one of the other two frequencies somewhere.
Fresh: No Fluke?
One can only imagine if CBS took the opportunity to bring "Fresh" or any other competitor to New York earlier on. Although I always thought that was the idea of the first incarnation of "Mix" in early 2004.
I'd also like to see if more radios made the switch to 102.7 when they went all-Christmas prior to that flip.
Of course, the sheer irony would be if the only establishments that don't have "Fresh 102.7" piped in are the ones that its logo tends to aim toward - laundromats.
Memo To WWRL: It's Miller Time
I'll be straight with you: I don't listen to WWRL not "progressive talk" programming, nor am I known to lean that way exlcusively. Also, I don't know Miller personally, and for the record, I don't even know where her show is syndicated out of. But the public has spoken, and they agree: It's Miller Time.
So WWRL, with that huge increase in the last book, you could make it a little bigger by adding her to the lineup full-time. Even if you have to put her or Seder on tape-delay, do it. Don't tease your listeners, or - allegedly - tell them it's an "Air America" show when they call to ask why Seder is not on the air.
And if Access1 (1600's owner) won't do it, maybe Air America can pull a Springer-esque deal and "buy" her show to put it on the network. If they can afford it, that is...
Briefly, it appears Richard French (owner of WRNN-TV, upstate NY) will become the new owner of the Air America network pending approval of the sale. He does an interesting show on WRNN and said he would farm himself out on the Air America network if he owned it. But with all due respect to Richard French, he should realize that Stephanie Miller's face value nationally trumps Richard French, and if he had to choose between one of them for the air, my advice: Tooth and nail, Rich. Fight tooth and nail for the rights to her show from Jones, just like the former AA owners dragged Springer away from Clear Channel. It would be a perfect fit and hopefully won't have disastrous results like the Springer deal.
Ironically, Springer is known universally for his talk show more than his radio work. Miller, few recall, had a failed late-night talker in 1995.
No Calm Before The Storm At My9
While the article did not cite the reason for his dismissal, the second paragraph in the story refers to, ironically, Puente enduring a "similar ugly contract deal" at her former employer, WCBS/2.
While Field did not grant a comment to the New York Post, their story on this transaction today noted it's the first time "since the 1960's" that a Field - neither Storm nor his father Dr. Frank - has not done weather on New York TV.
If what went down at 9 Broadcast Plaza - or is it now 205 E. 67th, I don't know - is as "inhumane" as the younger Field said it was, I do wish him all the best, and he certainly shouldn't have a problem landing another gig - if not here, then elsewhere. Someone with that much experience should be given a fair opportunity.
For example - and with all due respect to Storm, if you did a word association with me and asked the first word that comes to mind when you say "WWOR" and "weather", my word would be, "HELLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" Yup, good ol' Lloyd Lindsay Young. In case you're wondering how he's doing these days, he's actually in Bakersfield right now doing the weather for McGraw-Hill's KERO ABC 23 News. And not only is he still doing the "HELLOOOOOOOO" schtick (and allowing viewers to write in who they want him to say "HELLOOOOOOOO" to on the air), he's also accepting suggestions as to what to use as a pointer (look for the button on 23's site called "Get to the Point" for more information).
As far as the hiring of Tito Puente's daughter at WWOR, clearly it shouldn't be compared to CBS putting Katie Couric in the anchor chair over at CBS. Audrey actually knows what she's doing, and has a passion for it, to boot. And with WWOR previously shooting for the ethnic demos under its former affiliation with UPN, and now aiming at the ladies with their "My" branding, Audrey and My9 seem like a perfect fit. I guess that contract dispute at WCBS/2 that Huff refers to could be the best thing that ever happened to her. She's got a bright future ahead of her, and WWOR seems like the best launching pad. Who knows, after 25 years, she may have made the rounds with the other area stations like her predecessor, Storm Field. But hopefully, News Corp. won't drop the ball when they get to that bridge. Don't blow it, Channel 9.
The New Stale 102.7.
I mean, you want to finally put together a station that can take a run at WLTW, whose vulnerability after the recent cutbacks and other changes (e.g. Delilah) has nowhere to go but up? Props to you. But with a few exceptions, it is never a good idea to position your station after an adjective. Just ask "Fickle 93.3" up in Rochester, or even the former WTFM here in New York - you know, "Mellow T"? Ironically, one of the songs you will probably never hear on Fresh 102.7? "Fresh" from Kool & The Gang, since his music is not "contemporary" enough, according to someone from CBS.
Actually, I think I see what CBS is trying to do here: They're trying to create a niche format with a certain set of songs from a certain generation, then wait for the ratings to go higher and effectively start putting it on other stations across the country. (See KCBS-FM aka Jack in L.A.)
But what they're really doing with this format is actually rewriting history - and I'm talking the dubious kind. See, New York already had this kinda format - and I'm not talking about back in the spring of 2003, pre-Blink. Raise your hand if you remember a "big" station with Danny Bonaduce in the morning? Right - "Big 105", whose soccer mom-geared playlist Fresh appears to be copying most, if not all, of. But wait, there's more: Remember when WRFM switched to WNSR - which stood for "New York's Soft Rock"? And it eventually evolved into "Mix 105" - which, you guessed it, was another brilliant format idea for 102.7?
You see what's happening here, folks: Every single format - fabled and failed - that had ever existed on 105.1 FM post-WRFM and pre-WWPR, is having a resurrection in some form on 102.7. We've heard "Mix", whose playlist was mostly similar to that of the old Jammin' 105; now we get a station pretty much modeled like Big 105, and in addition, pushing a playlist of "soft" songs, like the old WNSR. Really, how long until they bring back Abby & John for afternoons?
And your liners - yes, we know you're going after the already diluted female demographics, okay, we get it! Why should each liner sound like a Maybelline jingle? Granted, while I'm clearly out of 102.7's demos, to be fair, I should say that some of the older songs - just like Big before it - were ones that I "grew up" with. After all, why should I write that the station is the most emasculating frequency on your dial? Music is music. (Although I should add you will never find me caught dead listening to anything from Sylvester or Village People.)
Which brings me to the death of WNEW-FM. Yup, they're finally dropping the vaunted call letters - but they're parking them on a station in West Palm Beach, which has yet to be determined. How funny would it be if they quietly moved those calls to their station on 107.9 to replace WIRK? Yes, they stress their calls, but they also position themselves as "today's hot new country". Hey, all you radio know-it-alls, those of you who predicted country on WNEW-FM, your wish has come true!
So the new calls will be WWFS. Which, even if Fresh decomposes, would still be pretty good call letters if they ever did want to go country with "The Wolf" - although my proposal of country on 92.3 WFNY-FM would fit a little more - alas, there goes Opie & Anthony's shot at returning to 102.7.
Of course, country on WNEW would be even more ironic.
Happy New Year.
The Radio Exercise Game.
Was It Q - Or Was It TDK?
Happy Turkey Day.
Till next time, be seeing you...
SIGHTING: Lite Holiday Ad
"106.7 Lite FM, Non-Stop Holiday Hits."
Of course, "106.7 Lite FM" is in logo form, and the background was a festive type - I think I saw some holly on it... Anyway, how weird is it that the Christmas format is not yet on 106.7, yet there are already ads promoting it, misguiding the average listener into thinking it's on the radio right now.
It leads one to think that this time around, especially given the surrounding atmosphere, this format could be the most overhyped since... well, Blink.
Jack's Excellent Redundancy!
So imagine my surprise when this afternoon, Jack started its first themed weekend... "An Excellent 80's Weekend!" Huh? Isn't that kinda like the music selections you play during the week, let alone on the weekend? Gee, Jack, what are you gonna do for an encore next weekend, "The Monsters of Rock Weekend"?
By the way, do you think there can be a pattern emerging: CBS-FM, releases popular personalities, takes a big ratings hit. Lite-FM just let some people go, though not the direct result of a format flip like CBS-FM. Middays - not affected by host changes - are a strong daypart, but the fact is, mornings and evenings were, as well. Will there be a domino effect caving in Lite's listenership? Only time will tell.
And Speaking Of Delilah...
Sadly, the site isn't online anymore - but thanks to good ol' archive.org, it's part of the Time Capsule de los Internets.
Click and enjoy:
The I Hate Delilah Website (Circa 2004)
Atlanta's Got A Project
Whatever the case, Clear Channel has registered project961.com on November 9 - and just for good measure, they snapped up project961.net also. But something new and interesting: instead of the usual MarkMonitor service that they've traditionally used to register station websites, they've actually registered these domains through... GoDaddy! Yep, they of the "$2 a holler domains" GoDaddy. Boy, I know Clear Channel has been making drastic cuts, but to now be using GoDaddy for your domain registrations - that's a little pedestrian, don't you think?
Anyway, back to "project961.com" - or, as the station will be known, "Project 9-6-1" - which sounds like the name of a low-budget PBS science show, doesn't it? Anyway, either this will ultimately be the alternative format, or something similar to the stunting they've instilled in Detroit pre-Fox and Milwaukee pre-whatever-the-hell-95.7-is-right-now. When I heard the word "project", I think the latter. So get ready, Peach City, for a very diverse playlist and prompts to "help 96.1" because "you can make a difference".
Or will I be choking on a peach pit eating my words? Find out Friday.
By the way, if the Atlanta Braves - whom I imagine will still air on the new incarnation of 96.1 FM - sign Travis Hafner from the Indians, would the station change its name to "Pronk 96.1"? Just wondering.
UPDATE 11.17.06: At 9 am, the new format was unveiled, apparently an "Everything That Rocks" hybrid. So its on-air moniker is indeed "Project". Still, the name sounds so stunty to me. Can you imagine Chip or Skip Caray uttering the name "Project 96.1" during a Braves broadcast? (Yes, I know they refer only to the Braves Radio Network, but they'll cut some spots, I'm sure.)
New York's Worst Nightmare Come True: Delilah On 106.7 Lite FM
If the mere rumor of it made you a little nauseous seven years ago, reading the news on AllAccess.com or Radio and Records probably hit you like a bird flu.
The part about PD Jim Ryan "customizing" her show for New York (as has been hinted in a past Daily News story) has been confirmed. But there's another angle of this story that seems to be coming out of left field: They're apparently keeping the "Lite at Night" name that J.J. Kennedy had made popular over the last couple decades, and rebranding the show as - get ready to cringe - "Delilah's Lite at Night". Yecch!
The following quotes are from the Radio & Records article (click here) :
What Jim Ryan says: "I've spent time with Delilah and her team since they became a part of Premiere. I have the greatest respect for how well the show relates to the audience and it is going to be great to have a superstar like Delilah on the WLTW air staff in New York."
What Jim Ryan actually means: "It's going to be quite interesting hearing Delilah talking to an emotional caller segueing into "You Should Be Dancing" - which is in hot rotation! This will clearly give Casey Kasem's famous "dead dog dedication" a run for the money!"
Nah, I can't be one to put words in Jim Ryan's mouth. So allow me to speak for Delilah:
What Delilah says: “I couldn’t be more excited about talking to people in one of my favorite cities in the world, New York. I know the connection between Lite FM and its listeners is profound and I consider it a real honor to be a part of that relationship. I can’t wait to laugh and cry with my new listeners and share in their lives.”
What Delilah actually means: "Despite the fact that I have never lived in New York, or most of my callers have probably never spent more than a single week in New York, it really strokes my ego that I put a legendary jock out to pasture just so I can be heard in the greatest city in the world - which, I wouldn't know for sure, since I'm here in Seattle, where the suicide rate's as high as the Empire State Building! Hey, I just made a New York reference - was that good? Anyway, Delilah is now on in New York, so start spreading the news - oooh, another sly New York reference - damn, I'm good - actually, I know I am, because I'm now on in Market Number One... and I'm looking forward to being on in New York for years to come."
What Delilah actually means (alternate version) : "Cha-ching!"
Now, perhaps I'm speaking a little outside the lines here, since I, a blue collar 30-year-old straight male isn't in her target demographic. But trust me, if you observed the radio business like I observe the radio business... you'd be saying the same thing, too.
Clear Channel: Putting The "Over" in "Overnight"
So far today:
"Overnight jocks? We don't need no overnight jocks... We don't have to hire no stinkin' overnight jocks!"
Apparently, that was not necessarily the president of Clear Channel New York this morning, but I'm sure that's how everyone feels after this decision. I am aware Charlie Burger is out at WKTU. I am sure Lite overnighter Victor Sosa is going to remain with Lite, as he should, he's a bright young talent - I know, but if it isn't at the expense of Bernstein or Smaldone, then where? Let's hope those two big dominoes stay in place for awhile. Q104 overnights I'll get to in a moment, and truthfully, I have no clue who the overnight jocks are at Z and Power...
In other news: WKTU loses Lil Cee and Speedy...
But most of the damage was done at Q104.3. A few shocking transactions: A voice is as New York as they come, Marc Coppola exits - or according to All Access, "no longer in a full-time capacity". Which might explain the departure of weekender and WNEW alum Pat St. John. Also, morning show producer Eric Margolis, who withstood the morning show changing from "The Rock & Roll Morning Show with Bob Buchmann" to "Leslie Gold & Bob Buchmann" to "The Radio Chick Show" to currently "The Jim Kerr Morning Show", is also sent packing.
And while this next transaction may be a surprise to some, given the names and long careers of the jocks they've previously let go, I do have to give Clear Channel a little respect for doing so: The aforementioned Coppola's evening slot was given to... former overnighter Carol Miller. Like the now-departed Pat St. John, a WNEW alum. You've read my blog last week basically pleading to Clear Channel to spare her the ax during this time. And while I'm not certain that it persuaded them to make that decision, I'm sure my request didn't fall on deaf ears. I mean, I'm shocked that it came at the expense of "the Cope" - but then again, he isn't the first big name to get their walking papers from CC this month. At any rate, now Carol is back in the evening slot, just like years ago during the final years at WNEW-FM, "where rock lived". I can only hope that, in this not-so-rock town, CC can continue with this format for years to come - in other words, it won't be deja vu all over again. And I also applaud them with not easily outsourcing the evening slot altogether to Alice Cooper or another syndicated show.
Finally, All Access posted an interesting blurb a few moments ago: "Despite denials today by [PD] Jim Ryan, ALL ACCESS hears that a deal is thisclose to being announced that DELILAH will take over nights at WLTW." They also provide a link to a Daily News article in which he entertains the "possibility" of that taking place - but that he would program the music. But can he program the callers? Read the story from last week. My hunch is that her show will usher in the all-Christmas format over at Lite.
WHAT About WLIB?
Turn Out The Lite, The Party's Over: Buchner, Kennedy Dimmed At WLTW
Today, Clear Channel turned out the "Lite" on not only longtime evening personality J.J. Kennedy, but longtime morning man Bill Buchner. This on the heels of WLTW releasing other household names over the past several months, like Steven E. Roy and Rick Sommers - whom both, if I'm not mistaken, have found new opportunities on the dial, and it wouldn't surprise me if Bill and J.J. returned to the air in some form.
Clearly, one can't help if the move was being made not by Jim Ryan, but by Clear Channel corporate. They've been known to call plenty of shots that resulted in the termination of a legendary presence on the radio (most recently, putting the 22-year-old rock format on WRDU Raleigh-Durham out to pasture). Some are speculating that it was a money decision to let Bill and J.J. go. (A possible sale of the percentage of CC shares to Google is said to be the motivator for all the recent bloodletting, errr, housecleaning in recent months.) Now, I realize the radio business isn't all chutes and ladders, but hell, if you're a valued employee of at least 20 years, you should be given the opportunity to take a pay cut to stay *on* the air!
Unless, of course, that's another hidden factor of the Lite cuts today. It's interesting if what some people are saying is true about wanting to take the station in a younger direction, with jocks that don't sound old. If that's the case, explain then why WAXQ recently resigned morning man Jim Kerr to a contract extension? Hey, I respect Jim Kerr, and do occassionally listen to portions of his show. He's still got it. But didn't they hire Leslie Gold & Co. - who would eventually be replaced by Kerr - in a desperate attempt to skew younger?
I again refer to the aforementioned flipping of WRDU here. Is there some kind of magic formula that can market classic rock to a younger demographic? Because if it doesn't exist, if age is part of the reason why Bill and J.J. left Lite, I can't imagine how many heads will roll at Q104.3. And I certainly don't wish that, nor is it the time to speculate on who will get the boot - hey, I have a job myself that I enjoy; I certainly wouldn't want outsiders telling me when I get the boot. But with all that said, you've got to say a prayer for the airstaff at the Q - whom, mind you, has been running promos telling the listeners "You made us Number One!" (in some unspecified demographic). Bob Buchmann has years of success programming the format, and shouldn't be asked not to continue his two-hour Monday-Thursday show. Ever. Don't throw out the baby with the bath water. And please spare the rest of the airstaff, from Maria Milito all the way down to Carol Miller, who was not fired, but the victim of a format change at the legendary WNEW in 1999. I'll never forget the conclusion of her final airshift, then weeknights 7 to 10 pm after Opie & Anthony - those were the days, huh? - and her voice cracking over the intro to Billy Joel's "Miami 2017 (I've Seen The Lights Go Out On Broadway)". Memo to Clear Channel management: Take a page from the WNEW scrapbook - and not the Scott Muni/Dave Herman chapter. These personalities are dedicated to the format, and should leave on their own terms. Given the business climate of radio these days, it may be a little too much to ask, but don't screw the Q like you did Lite in many listeners' eyes.
And to any concerned Q listeners reading this blog, fear not: I know of no such impending dismissals at the station. None. Luckily, I just have a tendency of jumping to conclusions, and sometimes making these predictions - but no, no news here.
I can confirm one tidbit of information, however:
According to colleague Matt Craig, he has confirmed - through J.J. herself - that her airshift is being replaced by Delilah, whose show is syndicated by - anyone? Bueller? - yep, Clear Channel's Premiere Radio Networks wing. I tell ya, how times change. Remember back in 1999, and a little internet rumor sprouted on Lance Venta's old Mid-Atlantic Radio Board, and spread to Allan Sniffen's board - or vice versa, I don't remember - that suggested the Delilah program - which at the time was catching like wildfire, and at the same time, heard on several suburban stations in the New York metro area - was going to replace J.J.'s popular "Lite At Night" all-request program? It didn't take long before Allan confirmed straight from the horse's mouth - Jim Ryan - that there are no such plans to instill Delilah anywhere on the WLTW schedule. Remember, this was 1999. Delilah was syndicated through Jones Radio at the time. Boy, how times change. You may recall back in July, the aforementioned Lance broke a story (see "Delilah Coming To 10X.X FM", 7.26.06) regarding a "pending New York City clearance" of her show. Was this really in the works for three months? Was there any reason to leave Marianne "J.J. Kennedy" Roque twisting in the wind for over a quarter of a year? Such is the radio business, I guess. That's the thanks you get for all your years of service.
And again, while I'm not predicting anyone's dismissal at Clear Channel New York, with such a one-two punch like this - and by the way, don't be stupid and ax Valerie Smaldone, Al Bernstein or Victor Sosa, either - it makes me wonder if they're going to voicetrack overnights? I believe there was some union contract clause that prohibits voicetracking overnight in the top 3 radio markets, so there really shouldn't be a problem. And Victor Sosa, currently holding down the overnights, is good at what he does, and it wouldn't surprise me if he did move up to another daypart, but especially after what's happened today, don't make it at Al Bernstein's expense. Or Valerie Smaldone's. Like the Q104.3 staff, they should be given the choice to leave on their own terms. The fact that now over half of the household names that made "106.7 Lite FM" what it is today - a billing monster, according to BIAFN - have not had that opportunity, has the entire New York City radio community, including myself, up in arms.
Look, Clear Channel has already made several cuts this year at its other New York stations - remember WKTU's Bill Lee, and Baltazar, and (the eventually hired back for afternoons) Goumba Johnny? (In fact today, All Access.com reports that longtime production director Valerie Palma has left WKTU.) Power 105.1 let people go this year - okay, so perhaps Star and Buc Wild don't really count in this instance. But when WLTW is consistently your money maker, you continue to shake it. Not shake it up.
If it ain't broke, bring in a traffic reporter to co-host the show with the longtime morning guy.
If it ain't broke, fire said morning guy.
If it ain't broke, replace the evening queen with one piped in from Seattle.
I know that in an era where we saw WCBS-FM "The Golden 101" get Jack-ed, the "Z Morning Zoo" being outsourced to Miami, and the place "Where Rock Lives" lose their lease to the likes of Tom Leykis, such drastic moves shouldn't surprise us radio listeners. Perhaps it's the connection we felt to these personalities, and the fact that they won't be heard on the radio again (at least on that frequency, in some cases) is just hard to accept. It's times like these where, if you're in the position, you have to thank your lucky stars that you're just a casual radio listener - or a half-assed observer like me - and not in the radio business itself.
In closing: Lite Mornings. Well, we know that Delilah is replacing J.J. and "the Lite at Night" (and if they start calling it "The Lite at Night with Delilah", they will really disgrace J.J.'s reputation). But whither mornings? Is Christine Nagy going to fly solo? Or is what some are speculating true that she will be effectively babysitting Whoopi, currently on WKTU? Okay, I know we're all a little loopy from today's transactions, but let's put this into perspective here: To launch Whoopi's show on WKTU, and less than four months later, bring it over to WLTW - not only will it confuse whatever audience it already has, but it'll really sully Lite's format, and by that, I mean the presentation that we've all come to know, listen to, and love over the past 20 years. When you have Whoopi and Cubby yukking it up, going into a Billy Joel song, coming back with more chit-chat, and then the Lite work day kicks off, you know what that sounds like? That sounds like Lite FM in Charlotte, maybe. That doesn't sound like New York's Lite FM. Also, where are Lite's listeners going to go if they don't want to hear Christmas music? They clearly don't want all them bah-humbuggers to go outside their cluster to PLJ. They've groomed KTU's playlist so that it might hold them over during that period. What's more, keep in mind that WKTU, as I stated earlier, just recently brought back Goumba Johnny and reunited him with Hollywood Hamilton for afternoon drive, so I don't think WKTU - in this incarnation, anyway - is going anywhere for a while. And when it does, the format wheel will land on Spanish, and rival WNEW - because it has to be a follower, not a leader - will compete with their own Spanish format.
Let me ask you: are the chances of WNEW picking up all these free agents and starting their own station to compete with Lite FM really that great? Smart move, sure, but as much as I'd like to see that happen, and all these WLTW castoffs get another opportunity, if the motivation didn't exist for WNEW to compete with 106.7 before, it shouldn't make any difference to them now. In fact, I'd venture to guess country would return to FM radio in New York before WNEW competes with Lite FM.
But I sincerely hope the same can be said for Bill and Marianne.
Oh yeah... Merry Christmas. I'm assuming you two will be looking elsewhere for your holiday hits.
Baby, If You've Ever Wondered...
But I just have one question - and rather than just post the facts outright, then get a guilty conscience for making it possible to allow vital information to be accessed, like the 101.9 thing awhile ago, instead I'm going to write in code. Meaning the information will be in a riddle, and people will have to do a little work to try and unlock the code.
As I was saying: Why would a very important person from the old powers that be, summon a country animal in mid-September?
Meanwhile, in Greenville, SC: Walk on Ice
There is currently a countdown clock similar to the one Entercom instilled on the eventual stations in Seattle and Greensboro that became Wolf country outlets in their respective markets.
However, the eventual format will be... talk. Yep, FM talk. The new URL - registered by Entercom last Monday:
Effective Thursday morning at 6 am - which is what time the countdown apparently counts down until.
WGVC's stream URL is mms://wmc1.liquidcompass.cc/WGVC - alas, you cannot hear the stunting online.
Jane Dornacker: It Was 20 Years Ago Today
I hope that even twenty years after, her family is still able to get by, with the grace of God.
Hear audio of the incident as it happened on-air.
If you don't wish to hear it, Jane's Wikipedia entry has a transcript.
And Allan Sniffen's New York Radio Message Board currently has a thread marking the anniversary, including input from then-fellow WNBC personality Big Jay Sorensen.
Format Flip Prediction: Pittsburgh
Let's face it: This blue-collar town embraces mainstay Y-108 (4th place 12+ in the most recent Summer '06 book) whose ratings nearly double that of "Froggyland" (T-10th, 12+).
And we know that Clear Channel has a successful stable of country stations that is still growing. And not only do we know that Clear Channel loves to throw its ten-gallon hat in the ring with country monolopies from CBS Radio (read: Tampa and Detroit) but we learned earlier this month that they're not fearless to go up against two country stations, as they are doing in Raleigh-Durham with "The Rooster" formerly 106.1 WRDU, which faces a real cockfight (and yes, pun is intended) against established Curtis-owned WQDR (who, mind you, was country about as long as WRDU had been a rocker) and upstart Capitol-owned WCMC. In the most recent trend, WQDR has five times the ratings as WCMC! The next full Summer book is due Wednesday.
The question is, of course, which station Clear Channel will flip in Pittsburgh to take on Y-108 and the Frog. It's a toss-up between Oldies/Classic Hits WWSW and Alternative WXDX. Clear Channel is no stranger to flipping from either of those formats.
It'll be a wait and see approach from here on out. But if there is a format flip in Pittsburgh in the near future, despite CBS' underperforming WRKZ, it'll likely be Clear Channel making the move, and it will most likely be country.
Memo To Domain Squatter Guy: Thanks For Ruining The Fun.
Well, here it is: Thanks for nothing.
Anyway, what a wild and wooly week it has been in terms of format flips - as well as prospective ones.
First and foremost, I'd like to set the record straight about a prior post regarding movin1019.com. Know that it was never my intent to intentionally disseminate any of Mr. Lawrence's personal information. At all. I didn't copy and paste that information over here, nor did I post a direct link to the whois information for that domain. I was only reporting this discovery as fact, and that the trust of this blog's readers wouldn't lead them to do their own search and confirm what I've already reported.
That said, the fact that the registrant info has been changed to private definitely raised my eyebrows. And it doesn't have anything to do with whether WQCD does change formats down the road: I'm actually wondering if there was any harm done. And if there happens to be, I sincerely apologize. Of course, the domain's registration was over a week old, so anybody could have broke the same news. Yes, it can be fun to scoop Clear Channel whenever they register a new domain - but they use a business address. This was something completely different. Yet interesting to those who follow radio. At any rate, I never mean to do any harm, and if such was done, I'm sorry.
Movin' on... I'd like to take full responsibility for WMQX/Greensboro's premature flip to country as 93.1 The Wolf, scheduled for Thursday at 3 PM, as the computerized countdown voice was scheduled to count to - was actually established on Wednesday after 12 noon. 27 hours early. Could it be related to my report the day they dropped oldies, that 931wolfcountry.com was recently registered? Hmmm...
And ya know, sometimes, you can't scoop 'em all. Thursday, word leaked - not by me - that WRDU/Raleigh would be dropping its heritage rock format for country. Of course, any genius could assume such after sister 100.7 The River stockpiled its playlist with classic rock. Of course, this had gnomes doing what gnomes do - try to figure out what the new domain is. Sure enough, moments before 5 PM on Friday, someone actually scooped me - that roostercountry1061.com was actually registered on Thursday, the day before the flip. Maybe they're thinking twice about preregistering domains so far ahead of the actual format flips, I dunno... but that's the magic of radio, and trying to pull back the curtain... but not too far.
T-1 Day, Etc. Until... Wolf Country
You can hear it online.
But why wait until Thursday to find out what the new format is - I've got the new format right here!
Just registered on September 26:
c/o Network Solutions
I notice a lot of "Wolf" country stations springing up all over the place... Entercome actually flipped hot talker KQBZ in Seattle to KKWF over a year ago, with instant results. And of course, Nashville's own Wolf in Music City (WSM-FM) has got some good ratings. And earlier this week, Denver's "Willie" morphed into "Wolf". I guess that's the new buzzword for country music on the radio...
Anyway, their competitor will mainly be WTQR. This of course on the heels of the passing of former WTQR PD (and actor) George Lee. Wonder if he's spinning in his grave over this development? Anyway, godspeed...
... and good country, to all...
Once again, 93.1 Wolf Country launches in "T-minus one day, blah blah blah..."
Thank you, thank you very much.
(Follow-Up) The Nerve, The Nerve, Watch Clear Channel Swerve
On Friday, as predicted, the "Snap! 107.3" material (see screenprint below) was removed in favor of a message reading:
Rochester's Classic Country Station.
Website under construction.
Laughable. But wait, there's more: Upon logging on today, not only do you see a different message, but it's chased by a poor attempt at prose that has even Clement Clarke Moore spinning in his grave:
Rochester's New Jazz Station
Website Under Construction
Twas a holiday weekend
And all through the industry
Everyone was curious
Fybush cried "Stunt!"
R&R asked "Jazz?"
"Snap!" cracked the competition
As if to razz
But Fuccillo's moving Hyundais
Faster than a luge
Has been absolutely huuuge!
Country? Urban? Sports?
Or maybe FM Talk
Or will the Wheel of Formats
Really fly like a Hawk?
People love a radio station
That's not in a pickle
Like that station down the dial
That's now known as...The Fox ;)
So what's really happening?
Could it stay this way?
A station sells its name?
Is that OK?
Listen... If you've been found out - admit it. Don't sugarcoat it with a sorry attempt at reworking a holiday classic. I mean, when in the domain search there arose such a clatter, did you take a look to see what was the matter? Nope, you're afraid to admit that you've been scooped. Your faces right now are as red as a cherry; If I were to say I'm flattered, I would say very.
Here's a few responsorial poems for you, Clear Channel Rochester, so print these:
Roses are red
Violets are blue
You've been scooped on a format flip
What say you?
Jack and Jill went up the hill
To fetch a barrel of honey
Whoopi will do wakeups on 107.3
I'm willing to bet all my money
Little Miss Muffet sat on a tuffet
Eating a TV dinner
Along came a gnome, found 107.3's new home
And they both agreed "Snap" will be the winner
("Yeah, good ol' Mother Goose, remember her? I f***ed her!")
This whole thing is all in good fun, of course. Really, I can't believe how unbelievably easy it is to find out when new domains have been registered, and by whom. And to uncover this criteria and in the process scoop the radio industry with these discoveries is in no way illegal: It's public domain. Now, if I were to libel Clear Channel in the process of promoting these findings, that would be going over the line. I'm not crossing that line - I'm an "Internet Gnome" - not a pest - there's a difference...
Denver... Say Hola To Whoopi!
Last month, it was revealed that the domain 957needshelp.com was registered by Clear Channel, and while it might be speculated that Denver's Mega was the target station to flip, it was eventually discovered that it was intended for Milwaukee's WRIT - which is stunting right now with its "needs help" multi-format playlist.
Anyway, I stumbled across another domain and... yep, Denver, THIS one's yours:
It's title header is the misleading "Bloomington's #1 Music Station". And of course, Whoopi's mug is all over it (even a misspelling of her name - "Whoopie" on the left - priceless!)...
So I did a little more research, and found out that somewhere on the website, you can get the weather from Denver.
Here's a screenprint to prove I'm not making this up (and of course, before the IT guys freak that they've been found out and fumble to throw up a "Forbidden" page) :
But hey, at least you get the pick the name, kids!
(Yeah, right - I'll be back as soon as I figure out what THAT one is, too...)
Snap! Goes 107.3 In Rochester
So I read that "The Nerve" flipped to "Huge 107.3" as of today. With product placement by the good ol' folks at Fuccillo Hyundai. Neat - sponsored stunting. Who knew, right?
So I consult my source which disclosed that the domain huge1073.com was registered back on August 22. So you know this was in the works for well over a week.
Eventually, I discovered another website registered on the same day by Clear Channel - snap1073.com. Whose website, by the way, is partly functioning right now:
They're already promoting "Wake Up With Whoopi". And don't forget to read about the "Wacky Rochester Weather"!
As far as their format, I'm guessing a rhythmic AC, kinda like the one in Philly that also houses the Whoopi morning show.
I'm sure the geniuses in CC's tech department will change the page to a "Forbidden" message, so here's a screenprint to prove I'm not making the above up:
Another case in the books for Diamond Joe, Internet Gnome.
Ed Walsh Out... Glenn Beck In?
At any rate, here's what I hope they establish in time for the fall: Take either one or both of the talent from the allegedly syndicated Ellis Henican and Lynne White morning show, put one or both of them in the morning show mix alongside Donna HAnover and Joe Bartlett, and... since they clearly wouldn't bump their hot commodity Joan Hamburg... place Glenn Beck in afternoon drive from 4-6 pm. I know, a three-hour show broken down into a two-hour tape-delay show, but you know what, it's time. Beck's entire operations have moved to New York with the genesis of his CNN Headline News TV show. Heck, why doesn't Premiere or CNN or both simply BUY the 4-6 pm slot from WOR: they can clear his radio show, and promote his TV show, which airs later on at 7 PM (rebroadcast at 9 PM).
In other words, just so Opie & Anthony couldn't just swoop in to replace Howard Stern, I'm sure it couldn't be easy for Glenn Beck to walk right in and claim the time slot that once belonged to area radio legend Bob Grant - whom Beck often gives homage to by telling his own erratic callers to "get off my phone" - he has once acknowledged that. Therefore, it is in WOR's best interest for Henican & White to make like David Lee Roth and split. Then again, Roth didn't do too well in mornings - but he was syndicated.
Hate To Be In Boston Right Now...
Haven't Forgotten About You...
But I know you New Yorkers - save the hardcore radio geeks - might not care about that. At any rate, you can read my argument over on RadioInsight.com: http://radioinsight.com/boards/index.php?t=msg&th=3928&start=0
You're free to read, and sign up for free to dispute my argument.
That said, I can see the "Philly has their second country station, and we don't even have one" posts on Mr. Sniffen's message board now...