Despite K-Rock Flip, Rock's Alive In NYC
March 12, 2009 at 5:36 AM (PT)
Rock may be gone on CBS' WXRK/NEW YORK, but the city's surviving rock radio stations say there are plenty of Rock fans out there, writes DAVID HINKLEY in THE DAILY NEWS. EMMIS AAA WRXP has averaged fewer listeners than WXRK, which went Top 40 YESTERDAY (NET NEWS 3/11), but that's still about a million a week and 'RXP says it's confident of getting traction.
"Rock is alive," said WRXP morning man MATT PINFIELD. Non-Comm WSOU/SOUTH ORANGE, NJ GM MARK MABEN said, "We're still rockin.'"
But the best rock-fan numbers in the city belong to CLEAR CHANNEL Classic Rock WAXQ. "We average about 3 million listeners a week," said PD ERIC WELLMAN. "That's not too shabby. If there are 18 million listeners, a sixth of them hear us every week, and even if a few just get exposed in the deli, I think most of them really like us."
WELLMAN suggests K-Rock had two problems. "First," he said, "you can't change formats every year or two and expect anything to stick. They need some time. Second, you can't run a station on the HOWARD STERN model if you don't have HOWARD STERN. Even when STERN was there, the station's listenership was like a ski jump. After HOWARD, it went straight down. Without HOWARD, it wasn't going to work."
WAXQ's secret, he said, isn't really a secret at all: "You find out what listeners want, and you play it." He said K-ROCK's departure could send a few listeners to Q. "Since NOVEMBER, they'd moved much closer to what we play, anyway. It certainly can't hurt when one of your competitors folds. But we had two or three times their audience already. If they had that big an audience, they wouldn't have switched."
Nor does he envy the new team at K-ROCK as it challenges WAXQ's sister station WHTZ (Z100). "You're not only going against the biggest Top 40 station in NEW YORK," he said, "but the biggest one in the country. Good luck."