Michaels On WWWN/Chicago Flip: 'It's Time For Spoken Word To Move To FM'
August 1, 2011 at 1:19 PM (PT)
FRIDAY's quiet launch of MERLIN MEDIA's WWWN/CHICAGO, the former Alternative WKQX (Q101), which formally flipped to News as "FM NEWS 101.1" after several weeks of stunting in a Hot AC format with news reports (NET NEWS 7/29), came without a formal announcement at the time, but on SUNDAY (7/31), the company finally issued a press release touting the change. The release called WWWN "CHICAGO's only 24-hour all-news station," a shot at format leader CBS RADIO News WBBM-A, which is getting its FM simulcast TODAY (8/1) on the former AC WCFS and which breaks format for CHICAGO BEARS football.
“My favorite format has always been spoken radio,” said MERLIN CEO RANDY MICHAELS in the press release. “I’ve long had a nostalgic love affair with the big AM stations known for the format, and today -- as music moves to the iPOD -- it’s time for spoken word to move to FM. I’m proud to be part of CHICAGO’s only 24-hour all-news station.”
COO WALTER SABO's statement in the release read, “Busy adults have told us they need their information on FM, online and through social media. Our team is prepared to serve them with unparalleled content on every stage.”
“We’ve put together a stellar group of CHICAGO information news hosts, writers and producers,” said VP/Programming ANDY FRIEDMAN in the release. “They will identify precisely the stories our listeners demand.”
WBBM Throws The Switch
WBBM-A's addition of the FM simulcast at 105.9 FM went off as scheduled this morning at about 8a (CT) with Mayor RAHM EMANUEL on hand to help throw the switch and Governor PAT QUINN visiting anchors FELICIA MIDDLEBROOKS and PAT CASSIDY for the occasion.
Meanwhile, with the CHICAGO flip, speculation turned to MERLIN's NEW YORK station, the former WRXP (now WEMP), which continued with its Hot AC stunt over the weekend. Rumors of an imminent flip remained in the air over the weekend, and additional rumors of CBS RADIO flipping one of its NEW YORK FMs, possibly Top 40 WXRK (92.3 NOW), to a simulcast of News WINS-A by TODAY (8/1) have not yet proven accurate.
The NEW YORK POST's PHIL MUSHNICK speculated that the new WEMP will be a player in the bidding for NEW YORK YANKEES baseball, guessing that MERLIN "would love to make an extra-big splash by adding the YANKEES" and that CBS, which holds the rights now for News WCBS-A, might renew the deal and "dump the METS" from Sports WFAN-A to move the YANKEES there in 2013.