M.Casey map@mapinternet.com
Thu Jul 10 13:46:40 EDT 2014

With Conneisseur Media's purchase of the Buckley stations in Connecticut, 
things have really changed at WDRC-FM 102.9. Although it is difficult to get 
extremely reliable listenership reports, those available (combined with 
historic data as it relates to adjoining markets where WDRC-FM was formerly 
listed) show that WDRC-FM has consistently been in the 5-7 share range in 
not only the Hartford market, but also in adjoining New Haven and 
Springfield, MA markets where WDRC-FM has a city-grade or near city-grade 
signal. (Note that if the markets in this area were defined similar to the 
Boston market, and many other areas of the country, Hartford-Springfield-New 
Haven might actually be one market.)

The new owners have changed the format from a very successful 
broad-based/chart-based Classic Hits of the late 60's through early 90's to 
a limited rock-only-based Classic Hits of the 70's through early 90's.  The 
only complaint I've heard about the recent Buckley format was that it seemed 
to some listeners to lean a bit too much toward the disco hits. But, despite 
this, the ratings for the past couple of years showed steady listenership. 
Now, listeners are without a real broad-based Classic Hits station in the 
Hartford and adjoining markets of New Haven and Springfield, MA. The new, 
Conneisseur formatted WDRC 102.9 and competitors WPLR 99.1 (New Haven), WHCN 
105.9 (Hartford), and WAQY 102.1 (Springfield, MA) are almost 
indistinguishable. To add to the competition, 3 more stations WCCC 106.9 
(Hartford), WRCH 100.5(Hartford) and WRKI 95.1 (Brookfield, CT) compete for 
the "Classic" listeners also. With the exception of WRCH, all of the 
pre-mentioned stations competed on a much, much lesser scale with WDRC-FM's 
pre July 6 format.

Conneisseur's spokesperson claimed that the Hartford market had a "hole" for 
a classic hits based station. With very similiar versions of that type of 
that classic hits format already in existence on stations  WPLR, WHCN and 
WAQY, (that each cover the majority of the market and duplicate each other), 
the new WDRC format does not fill any hole. Now, a real "hole" exists where 
the pre-July 6, 2014 WDRC-FM format once existed. Listening to WDRC-FM 
before and after the format change, the listener would be hard pressed to 
find more than 10% of the pre-July 6 songs in the new format. So, using some 
twisted math for entertainment purposes here, (I just can't help it-ha!) 
maybe 90% of the listeners will go elsewhere.

But, seriously, it's really hard to figure from both a sales/financial and 
listener viewpoint why Buckley's unduplicated WDRC-FM format was so changed 
to one already over-duplicated in the Hartford market, and why it wasn't 
just fine tuned a bit. Hopefully the Conneisseur folks will take a hard look 
at the format, the competition, (some of which is their own!), listenership 
figures and demographics as they relate to sales, and also appreciate the 
historical lesson of WCBS-FM's 2005-07 change to an unsuccessful "Jack FM", 
then back to a successful WCBS-FM.

Mark Casey
Hampden, MA

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