94.7 NashFM New York Debuts

94.7 NashFM WRXP Newark New York Country Wheel Of Formats Nash 947NashFM NashFM947 WNSH WFME Cumulus Scott ToddUpdate 1/21: Just shy of the seventeenth anniversary of 103.5 WYNY dropping Country, the format has finally returned to a full signaled station in New York for the first time since.

Cumulus Media finally ended the months of speculation at 9:47am, confirming what we’ve told you since November that the station would become “94.7 Nash-FM” as the flagship of a national Country brand.

The station debuted with a montage of New York references leading into artist drops from “the one thing missing”. The station is branded as “The World’s Biggest Country Station” and “Country For Life”. Listen to the launch of “94.7 Nash-FM at FormatChange.com.

The first hour consisted of:
Randy Houser – This Is How Country Feels
Alan Jackson – Gone Country
Brad Paisley – Southern Comfort Zone
Brooks & Dunn – Boot Scootin’ Boogie
Carrie Underwood – Blown Away
Lady Antebellum – I Run To You
The Band Perry – Better Dig Two
Garth Brooks – Friends In Low Places
Jason Aldean – My Kind Of Party
Taylor Swift – Begin Again
George Strait – Write This Down
Thompson Square – You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not
Lee Brice – I Drive Your Truck
Reba McIntyre – Turn On The Radio
Zac Brown Band – Free
Dierks Bentley – 5-1-5-0
Kenny Chesney – Big Star
Eric Church – Springsteen

Update 1/20: In what will probably be our final update before tomorrow’s launch, we can also add that a dozen trademark applications for “Nash” were made by Cumulus over the past few months. Any doubt over the new format should be lifted by this point.

Update 1/18: 94.7 has ended its weeklong simulcast of sister 95.5 WPLJ and has begun stunting with the “Wheel Of Formats“. The station will debut its new format on Monday, January 21 at 9:47am.

The stunt loop has included regular stalwarts such as Smooth Jazz, All Michael Jackson, Comedy, and Classic Country to all New Jersey artists and current hits mixed with 77 WABC airchecks. Listen to the complete loop on Airchexx.com.

Meanwhile, NashFM.com and 947NashFM.com are both now redirecting to NashFM947.com on a staging server. Are they being prepared for activation? We’ve yet to identify any other 94.7 related domain registrations made by Cumulus. As we first reported in November, it was likely Cumulus was going to use 94.7 to launch the NashFM Country brand.

Update 1/14: As 94.7 began its use of the WRXP call letters this morning, Cumulus made its first public reveal of the station as WPLJ morning hosts Scott Shannon and Todd Pettengill began asking listeners what they’d like to hear on 94.7 going forward (audio here).

INSTANT INSIGHT: We now have phase one in generating attention to the new signal. If/when Cumulus is ready to launch they now have begun a campaign to at least generate some attention to a station that has not served a secular audience in multiple generations.

On the other end of the deal, 106.3 WDVY Mount Kisco ended its simulcast of “Kicks 105.5” WDBY Patterson, NY/Danbury, CT at 6am this morning and went dark as it prepares to relaunch as part of Family Radio.

Update 1/11: Family Radio bid farewell to 94.7 WFME at 3:40pm this afternoon. After a few minutes of dead air as the programming source was moved to Cumulus’ studios at 2 Penn Plaza in Manhattan, the station returned to air under the WRXP call letters in a shadowcast of new sister 95.5 WPLJ. The audio of 94.7 is about 15 seconds ahead of 95.5 with many tweaks being made to the audio processing as Cumulus prepares its new acquisition for whatever’s next.

Listen to the sign-off of WFME under Family Radio control at FormatChange.com.

Update 1/10: Cumulus has yet to assume programming of 94.7, but wheels are in motion behind the scenes. We caught the station testing an HD signal for a couple hours earlier today.

More importantly, the company has applied for new call letters for the station that have some familiarity in the market. WRXP was applied for on January 7 by Radio Licensing X, LLC, the holding company that possesses the licenses to WFME and new sister 770 WABC.

The WRXP calls were used in New York for the two most recent attempts at Alternative Rock on 101.9 from 2008-2011 and again in 2012. Does this spell out the real direction or is it a potential decoy? As we’ve noted before, Cumulus is pretty strong in programming Country nationwide, however its largest market with an Alternative Rock format is Salt Lake City. And if attempting Alternative again, why resurrect call letters that technically have failed twice in the market? We’re still expecting to see Country when all is said and done.

Update 1/9: Cumulus has closed on its acquisition of WFME and dispersal of 106.3 WDVY Mount Kisco to Family Stations. Action in regards to programming should be fairly imminent.

Update 1/4: The FCC has approved Cumulus purchase of WFME today. No timetable yet on when the deal will close and Cumulus will begin operating the station.

As far as formats go, all signs continue to point towards the “Nash-FM” Country brand and the WNSH call letters parked in Minnesota.

Update 10/22: The acquisition of WFME by Cumulus has been filed with the FCC. The deal is not as straightforward as originally believed.

As part of the sale, Family Stations will receive Country “Kicks 106.3” WDVY Mount Kisco NY which serves portions of suburban Westchester County and $40 Million. There are a couple of clauses that will escalate the amount paid. Should Cumulus move WFME to any spot in the five boroughs of New York City as a Class A or B1 in the next five years, it will pay Family an additional $8.5 Million. If the upgrade is as something higher than a B1 the fee goes up to $10 Million. If Family resells WDVY before Cumulus makes an upgrade, the additional fee will be subtracted by the sale price of WDVY above $1 Million.

Both companies will retain the existing call letters of their stations.

Original Report 10/16: Family Stations has sold 94.7 WFME Newark NJ/New York to Cumulus Media.

WFME was the last commercial band FM in Family Stations portfolio following sales of stations in Maryland and Philadelphia last year. The station will now join a Cumulus cluster that includes Talk 770 WABC and Adult CHR 95.5 WPLJ along with a few suburban stations.

Cumulus plans on closing on the station by the end of the year and will announce programming plans at that time. In a statement to the press, Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey stated, “This strategic acquisition of our second FM in the nation’s largest market will enable us to provide compelling new programming for our listeners and a powerful marketing vehicle for our advertising partners.”

Update 5:10pm: Crain’s New York Business reports that Cumulus is paying $40 Million for WFME. TheDeal.com adds that Family Radio will acquire an AM to replace WFME in the New York market.

WFME’s signal is weaker than the rest of the commercial band FM’s in the market as its tower is in West Orange, NJ about 15 miles west of midtown Manhattan. It is shortspaced to multiple stations, including Cumulus’ 94.7 WMAS-FM Enfield CT/Springfield MA, a downgrade of which may remove the biggest hinderance to moving WFME to the city itself.

Comments

  1. M says

    I honestly hope they don’t move the signal to NYC. It’s better as an NJ station rather than an NYC station. Plus I hope they don’t put 770 on FM. That better not happen. It would be a waste of signal.

      • says

        Heck, they could even do “All News 94.7.” IMO, it’s all in whether or not Cumulus will have the resources to pull that off. Plus they’d have to zig where the Merlin Marlin zagged. And be prepared to go up against CBS’ one-two punch with a *quality* product, which is what Merlin never had.

        If 77WABC moved to FM, there probably wouldn’t be any appreciable differences in programming. Still would be a clearinghouse for Cumulus’ in-house shows. Still won’t fix many of the internal issues facing WABC, like, oh, the lack of a program director or a cohesive focus on the station. Yeah, it’s one of the largest talk stations in the US, but KFI/LA – which has a solid local focus – dwarfs WABC in ratings and revenue.

        Note, however, that Cumulus also has experience running country and rock outlets. But that may lend people to give their hopes up for something that may not come to pass, yet again…

  2. says

    I just hope they are watching WRXPs ratings CAREFULLY, I think they are a little off, I think their current ratings now are MUCH higher than the reported 2.1.

    I want to swamp these people in emails so that they realize Rock is what we need. It’s CRAZY that we don’t have it here, CRAZY… such a large listening audience. All of my friends listen to WRXP, and we are all in the 40-60 age range, not even the demographic that they THINK they are capturing… which ps they are, the 18-34….

    It’s pathetic that it’s going away, and this Cumulus acquisition could be the road to get it back…heck even the letters and website etc will be available, since Merlin bought those too… and will likely dump em.

    • says

      Cumulus is not known for modern rock. Witness how they left 99X in Atlanta out to dry two times over the past four years.

      It’s also sad how a go-nowhere, stopgap jukebox format programmed out of Chicago, with no live talent whatsoever, and no marketing campaign, did as well as it did.

      That being said, I see no third chance for a rebooted WRXP at 94.7. It. Just. Isn’t. Happening.

  3. m says

    Cumulus owns WRRV in Middletown/Poughkepsee which has been successful for years. They own WCYY in Portland another Alternative Rock station that has been successful although just recently they acquired WCYY, they’re still successful. Hence, Cumulus does know Alternative Rock/Rock very well.

    • says

      What will bill more: country or alt-rock, assuming those two formats are the two Cumulus are considering for 94.7? My money’s on country.

      And if it was rock, I honestly would see them have an opening with a combination of alt-rock and active rock, which is pretty much comprising the current WNNX in Atlanta, now known as “Rock 100.5″.

    • The Fat Man says

      WCYY does a nice job. I would argue the most variety of modern rock 2000 to today) than any other station in New England. Also, Nathan, they will have to ask themselves whether there is a stronger Rock base or Country base in NYC. My gut says rock as country has been absent from NYC for some time. Rock is fresh in people’s minds.

      • says

        Country has steadily become more pop in their presentation, the byproduct of crossover hits on the pop charts. Most contemporary country stations are eschewing the hits of the past 20 years as well. The format is quite different since Big City killed off the Y107 quadcast ten years ago.

        As there will only be Q104 playing rock music in the NYC market after 101.9’s conversion to WFAN-FM, there will be a significant opening in the market that 94.7 could take advantage of.

        I’m starting to think that 94.7 will probably go with rock, while 103.9 could pick up the simulcast of “Thunder Country” in an attempt to take that format into NYC. It probably should be the other way around, though. A country format would be best served with a coverage area like 94.7, while 103.9 would better serve the rock format audience, albeit with a signal that will pale in comparison to 101.9’s. But both 94.7 and 103.9 will have significant signal liabilities.

        • m says

          103.9 wouldn’t cover the market at all and they’d have to worry about it with WRRV/WRRB their other alternative station. They also own WPDH so I imagine that they won’t touch 103.9. I could see 103.9 becoming Country while 94.7 would become Modern Rock.

  4. Charles Everett says

    What Cumulus does with 94.7 is their business. They replaced an alt-rocker in D.C. with right-wing talk.

    Country is a rural, lily-white format. Greater New York is urban, suburban and heavily non-white. Want country on a full-market FM in market #1? Come up with the money to buy a station.

    • MattParker says

      “Their business?” So, everybody should just shut up and go along? Radio is a very public business. This kind of arrogance is what is killing radio.

      Country is successful in several major markets – urban, suburban and non-white. It has been successful in New York.

    • says

      WVRX-FM was NEVER, NEVER, NEVER an ‘alt-rocker.’ It was a straight-forward classic rocker, albeit with 90s tracks thrown here and there. But it that station was an alt-rocker, then the sky is purple.

      Simulcasting WMAL on the former WVRX was an attempt to get WMAL’s house in order, not to mention WVRX got ratings lower than WMAL. So far, it hasn’t worked, and there’s talk that the simulcast could get blown up for something else.

  5. Jeffrey Brothers says

    The only time country was successful was when WHN was on the air. The demographics of today and biast against the music is what has prevented country on the radio in New York. It won’t change anytime soon. Country doesn’t bill well in New York. It has been tried over the years and the demographics are even more ethnic today than the last time it was tried.

  6. MattParker says

    For part of the time WHN was country (WHN was on the air way before that), it divided the country audience with Kick-FM. When flipped to sports, NBC-FM briefly picked up country, changed owners, changed frequencies and then dropped it. Management incompetence killed country – as it kills most things in radio – not lack of an audience.

    • says

      I wouldn’t call WYNY’s 9 year run with the format being a brief pickup of Country.

      Country in New York since 1996 has been hampered by the combination of being on the suburban rimshot signals of Y107 from late 96 til 2002, companies with different motivations since deregulation, and no big push from Madison Avenue. Each on their own doesn’t help. All together have been devastating.

      Cumulus is a newish to New York owner that is very Country friendly around the country and 94.7 is a signal that currently is best served with a suburban focused format. Will that mean this is the opportunity the format has been looking for? Not necessarily, but this is the best chance the format could ever have to returning to New York.

  7. The Fat Man says

    I just don’t see a strong country fan base in a city like NYC. Let’s not forget WRKS. Killed to put ESPN on FM. I understand that there are other outlets, but whose not to say they try to compete in the urban market. A safer choice than country in a market like NYC.

    • says

      Except 94.7 will not be as strong in the Urban parts of the market for a year or two as Cumulus goes through the process of attempting to move it to the city itself. It will be strongest in the North Jersey suburbs and not in the areas where an Urban format needs to hit to succeed.

  8. required says

    Lance, you said: “why resurrect call letters that technically have failed twice in the market?” The call letters did not fail, nor did the format. If anything, bringing back RXP was the best thing Merlin did at 101.9, but, fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. It is the owners who failed the listeners.

  9. says

    I don’t get the point of the WRXP calls unless they seriously want to bring that brand back. Cumulus owns a few Alternative rockers and a few AAA-Hybrid stations even though they sold off a bunch of them (KRUZ for example) In Wisconsin they have WWWX (Modern Rock) in Oshkosh and WKRU (KRUZ @ 106.7, AAA-Hybrid) in Green Bay. They had 99X in Atlanta on a translator, but they took that off to replace Project 9-6-1’s active rock format. It was basically a tweak to a somewhat similar format.

    I highly doubt they would do country in New York. But looking at the steady numbers coming in out of WKMK when the signal can’t even cover New York proper most likely, given its proximity to 105.9 and 106.7. It wouldn’t be a surprise if they did country.

    94.7 does not have a full signal in New York market like the Empire State signals, but it’s close. Most of the coverage for now is in New Jersey. If they plan on doing country, chances are they will be going after Jersey listeners along with the few NYC listeners that want Country.

  10. says

    I was thinking they’d transfer the WNSH call letters onto 94.7/NYC. It’s parked on 105.3/Cambridge, MN (north Minneapolis/St. Paul metro frequency for the AC “Love 105″ trimulcast”). Either WNSH is going to move to another station or 105.3 will (hopefully) be serving Cambridge with a country format.

    • Nathan Obral says

      Those “WNSH” calls could still move to 94.7. There is a likely possibility that Cumulus only picked up the “WRXP” calls because A) they were available on the cheap, B) 94.7 needed a set of calls after WFME vacated the dial, and C) Cumulus is simply simulcasting WPLJ to help bring awareness to a frequency that people have ignored outright since 1963.

      In spite of the “alternative hits” approach that the 2nd WRXP used late last year, remember that the final decision is coming from corporate suits in Dallas. And Cumulus is not known for innovative, outside-the-box formats.

      • says

        A) All unused calls are the same. It doesn’t cost extra because a set of calls have “higher value”.
        B) Correct
        C) Correct

        The use of the WRXP calls were to get people talking. It has worked. Nothing is set in stone about those call letters staying in place.

        Everything we’ve heard towards Country is that it will be programmed out of Cumulus HQ in Atlanta. As I mentioned in the article explaining the NashFM domains, Cumulus took all Country music calls in house in Atlanta.

        • Nathan Obral says

          I meant “on the cheap” in that the calls had been discarded two times in the market in less than a year – for two different reasons – and thus could hold a perception of not having much value in the market. (Even WRXP’s usage on “New Rock 101.9″ was purely a stopgap measure for Merlin after “FM News 101.9″ historical implosion.) But it **has** gotten plenty of free attention and word-of-mouth.

          For what Cumulus has done with 94.7 so far, I do give them a solid A. They have hit the mark.

  11. oasisrulz says

    If 94.7 does flip to Country like everyone speculates, do you think PLJ would go full blown Alternative to replace the good showing of RXP in its short life. Would 95.5 pick up the RXP calls with the format.

      • Nathan Obral says

        I noticed that Triton took over all of Cumulus’ websites back in December (Mediaspan maintained the websites of the legacy Citadel and ABC Radio stations).

        Literally every station in their portfolio has the exact same website design. Now, I handle web sites for several radio stations, and they have similar layouts almost on purpose. But the design Triton created depresses me in a way…

  12. pjc1961 says

    http://947FMNewYork.com Listen Live options:

    Listen Live player – 48 kb 44 kHz stereo AAC: http://player.streamtheworld.com/_players/citadel/?sid=23605

    Listen Live generic player – 48 kb 44 kHz stereo AAC:
    http://player.streamtheworld.com/liveplayer.php?callsign=WRXP_FMAAC

    Listen Live generic player – 48 kb 22 kHz stereo:
    http://player.streamtheworld.com/liveplayer.php?callsign=WRXP_FM

    Listen Live direct streaming URLs to plug in to media players:

    48 kb 44 kHz stereo AAC:
    http://provisioning.streamtheworld.com/pls/WRXP_FMAAC.pls

    48 kb 22 kHz stereo:
    http://provisioning.streamtheworld.com/pls/WRXP_FM.pls

    for Windows Media Player:
    48 kb 22 kHz stereo:
    http://provisioning.streamtheworld.com/asx/WRXP_FM.asx

  13. radioduck says

    This stunt is a waste of time as most of them are these days.

    This thing is being discussed by people while having a right to express their opinions will not be taken seriously by Cumulus after the 21st at 9:47 AM. We will be referred to as “radio geeks” or some other ridiculous term.

    Cut the stunt and put whatever the programming will be on the air.

  14. casey1027 says

    Will they hire air talent at some point or will they use the Cumulus equivalent of Premium Choice for DJ’s? And will this Nash-FM be rolled out to other Cumulus owned stations? Why change some of their successful country outlets (WOKQ comes to mind) for a national brand? IF it works and is profitable why try to fix it?

  15. oasisrulz says

    If they do country like XTU here in Philly, they will pull great numbers, nobody does country like XTU, music, promotions, jocks and presentation wise. I cannot understand on other boards how people are still complaining about yet another urban format, when the NYC dial is 90 percent Urban and Hispanic, some people are never satisfied with it comes to any urban/rhythmic format. What the apple needs now is a good Alternative/Rock station.

  16. NJgiant says

    Another NJ station gone. Well, we’ll find out if NASH-FM 94.7 gets a FCC license challenge from someone in NJ that they don’t adequately (or simply, ignore NJ) when broadcast…goes for stations that have a NJ-assigned broadcast license, but broadcast as they are from NYC).

    • says

      There is no such thing as a New Jersey station. There are stations that are licensed to a city, but the signals don’t stop at state or municipal lines. 94.7 has always served the New York metropolitan area and will continue to do so.

      • MattParker says

        No such thing as a New Jersey station? What about….
        “Not New York. Not Philadelphia. Proud to be New Jersey 101.5.”

        That said, all this talk of “national formats” – putting these national formats on the main channel (not an HD sub-channel) sound like the beginning of the end of local radio. The one competitive advantage radio has to various new audio media is that it’s local. The geniuses at the big mega group owners seem determined to kill radio in order to save a few bucks.

        • says

          That’s branding. Not a signal that is responsible for targeting just New Jersey like the other commenter insinuated.

          As far as national programming there is room for both, as long as there’s a balance between the two overall.

    • Nathan Obral says

      Z100 has been licensed to Newark for its entire existence and no one has ever made a stink about that.

      Meanwhile, WFME mostly operated by satellite from Family Radio’s HQ in California. Only their station manager, Charlie Menut, was ever “live and local”, and his air shift was distributed to the entire network.

      WFME served the NYC market but never had a commitment to local programming. Partly because Family Radio is/was an extremely niche format to begin with…

  17. Nancy says

    Keep hearing the same songs over and over and over again! Was soooo excited we finally had a country station but it seems just like Pandora! Why no DJ’s????????

  18. Dan says

    There’s a strong Caribbean country audience in NYC unbeknownst to many ..I work with an 80% Caribbean work force in my job and they are all into Nash Radio. This might be the thing that keeps it going…

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