[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Lowell-Nashua (was: WOTW Calls Returning to Nashua NH?)

Sean Smith writes:
> I can understand why it may not have been successful then -- local
radio was
> strong in Lowell. But why not now? Nashua's not THAT far away.
> wouldn't now be a good time to try cracking into Lowell? With the
demise of
> WLLH and only one local English language station, I would think 900
could be
> somewhat effective -- and I would think Lowellites would rather
> with a Nashua station than one from Lahrance.
> Or am I totally up the creek?

Creek, river, what's the difference...and NO, I don't think you are.
I was at WCAP when WLLH flipped ethnic.  Leading up to that there had
begun a "last gasp" of interesting competition-driven initiatives at
BOTH stations that only served to improve both operations (I won't get
into them all here, but they were fairly significant in scope and
placement.)  Once WLLH, essentially, "went away" (I'll insert the
words "from that demo" for PC reasons) WCAP's inertia also slipped.
And the drive to grab the freed-up sales didn't pan out, IMO, because
there was lost synergy (plus WCAP could have tried a lot harder.)

There's no question that WCAP could garner the Nashua audience as
easily as 900 kHz could grab some of Lowell's.  In fact, I'd bet that
WCAP's 5 kW day pattern puts up stronger signal numbers in Nashua than
900's 1 kW does by day in Lowell.  WCAP barely makes it in Nashua in
night pattern (shooting 5 kW SE), and 900 is flea from the stick after
dark, hence some level to that aspect.

Downside/reality check: It sounds like the 900 owner has no better, or
worse historical sales numbers in his own playground, so it's highly
doubtful that he'd grab any outside.  Old time Lowell listerners as
with old guard Nashua folks, as characterists of that demo dictate,
are tough to accept change.  Even with a better product elsewhere, it
would be tough to get that squeaky knob on the Realistic table radio
to make the ride, albeit 80 kHz in either direction.  The only way I
could see it working could only be a 50% benefit, or a wash.  900
would need to grab a known Lowell commodity and vice versa.  How could
that, however, help the home-base?  The signal that had an AM team
with a very well known voice from each location.  And they'd have to
be able to balance the discussion without alienating the other

History has been tough on this model.  Witness WLLH Lowell//WLLH
Lawrence.  Synchronous AM kilowatts ten miles apart.  At one time,
WLLH had a Lawrence "bureau" and incarnations of a stand-up booth in
the Lawrence newpaper's building.  What WLLH finally learned
(witnessed by their morning program) were a couple of political
dropins 5-10 min., 2-4 times per month just to gab about city hall and
that was about it.

If you 're not from the Merrimack Valley, you can NOT possibly believe
just how far Lowell would like Lawrence to go just to keep its
distance.  "Flus twice, it's a long way to Lawrence...." just to name
one.  Lowellians cringe whenever someone attibutes a Lawrence crime or
problem to Lowell.  (Does Lowell even play Lawrence anymore in
football?!)  That dynamic is not present between Lowell and Nashua,
but the colloquial interests of each are so demanding to a local
talker, that most polled would tell you that limiting to a morning
local is not enough.  To, in effect, dilute local talk by sharing it
with another city, if you  didn't just flip all news (ya, right) would

Bill O'Neill