WFNX sold to Clear Channel

Thu May 17 12:12:36 EDT 2012

If CCU does indeed simulcast Talk1200 on 101.7, it will show that the
company (or someone at the company who can sign off on
a--reportedly--$11M purchase) believes that the reason for Talk1200's
low ratings is not so much related to the 50-kW AM signal's limited
geographic reach as to the fact that it is not an FM signal. I don't
know how many Arbitron "books" it takes before those who follow
Arbitron say that they have spotted a trend, but my guess is that if,
after three months of a simulcast, the Talk101.7/1200 combo is getting
3.0 (6+) shares or better, we will be able to dispense with the idea
that lack of suburban coverage (especially at night) was Talk1200's
problem--because, as Scott Fybush pointed out yesterday--101.7 will
not bring many suburban listeners to the (Tea) Party.

It would be interesting to compile a table of the recent ratings
history of major-market AMs with news or news/talk formats and decent
(or better than just decent) signals that have added FM simulcasts
(and especially a table of such stations whose FM simulcasts have
relatively poor suburban coverage). If, in multiple markets, a
weak-signaled FM simulcast can provide a major ratings boost to a
big-signal AM with a news or news/talk format, the point will be
proven that FM _coverage_ is not the issue. Rather, the issue is that
listeners are simply too lazy or stupid to flip the band switch on
their AM/FM receivers.

It would probably also show that a 97.7 simulcast could resuscitate
WRKO. If so, it's time to end the 107.3/97.7 simulcast and move WAAF
back to Paxton. (I have, alas, no hope that anyone in a position of
authority at Entercom would be smart enough to move WAAF back where it

Also at issue is, if a 101.7 simulcast can transform the ratings
picture at Talk1200, why would the AM side of the 101.7/1200 simulcast
even be necessary? If 101.7 can, by itself, pull 3 shares (or close)
by running what is today still the Talk1200 format, what should CCU do
with 1200? Maybe move Mia there from 1430? And then, what becomes of
1430? It has been only a couple of years since CCU had Spanish formats
on both 1200 and 1430.

Dan Strassberg (
eFax 1-707-215-6367

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Bob Nelson" <>
To: "Donna Halper" <>
Cc: "(newsgroup) Boston-Radio-Interest"
Sent: Thursday, May 17, 2012 11:23 AM
Subject: Re: WFNX sold to Clear Channel

>I was just about to link to the article; my own comments:
> >>
> Part of it could indeed be the deregulation that allowed multiple
> stations in the same market. Part of it also is today's exploding
> media environment, where there are smart phones, mp3 players, the
> Net, and so on. A friend of mine--who is 66--has a smart phone and
> raved about "with Pandora I can do what I want--do an all Fats
> Domino playlist!"
> People have shorter attention spans. Do you want music followed by 5
> minute commercial breaks, or just music? Do you want DJs to come on
> and blab? We grew up with personality radio. Do people today want
> that? I speak as someone who has been on college radio up in Salem
> for 31 years. We just had our station banquet--awards given out,
> etc. We love doing alternative rock, blues, jazz, and so on. And we
> do have some listeners--but people today have other alternatives.
> Entercom was actually doing pretty well with Mike 93.7 before it got
> killed off to simulcast WEEI. People wanted a glorified mp3 player.
> (I worked as a news intern for 4 months at WFNX, 1983-84.)
> So yes the deregulation can create big profits but take away the
> local aspect of radio, and the emotional commitment. When Hurricane
> Irene hit last year, I did my show as usual but we had people
> calling in with updates
> (Bill Newell ex-WESX) and I helped pass along info to the listeners.
> Local, local, local. Of course on a small college station. Even that
> could be disappearing--look at what happened with Bryant college's
> station in R.I.
> Now simulcasting WCRB.
> >>As an addendum to this conversation, my friend media critic Dan
> >>Kennedy kindly published my commentary about the end of WFNX, on
> >>his blog Media Nation:
> >>

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