2012 Post-Christmas Format Change Watchlist

After Christmas Radio Station Format Change Xmas Stunting Change Alice 96.7 Mojo 100.3It’s that time of the year again as stations across the country shift to Christmas music for the season. Quite a few of these stations will use the temporary ratings boost to launch a new format after the holidays. This year could bring more flips than usual as many stations will be affiliating with the new CBS Sports Radio set to debut on January 2, 2013. This list will compile all the stations we at RadioInsight are monitoring for pending format changes and will be updated continuously.

Confirmed Flips

Multiple Markets: CBS will flip “ESPN 1300” WJZ Baltimore, “America’s Talk 1660” WBCN Charlotte, “Talkradio 1270” WXYT Detroit, “Talk 650” KIKK Houston, “KYDZ Radio 1140” KYDZ Las Vegas, 610 WIP Philadelphia, “ESPN 910” KRAK Riverside, “AM 1090” KPTK Seattle and “1010 Sports” WHFS Tampa to 24/7 simulcasts of CBS Sports Radio on January 2.

Austin: University of Texas will launch AAA 98.9 KUTX on January 2.

Bangor: Townsquare Media AC 92.9 WEZQ will become Sports “92.9 The Ticket” on January 1.

Cincinnati: Rhythmic Oldies “Mojo 100.3″ WMOJ Cincinnati will flip to CBS Sports Radio as WCFN on January 2.

Detroit: Clear Channel Liberal Talk “AM 1310” WDTW has been donated to the Minority Media & Telecom Council and will go dark on December 31.

Fresno: Clear Channel will flip Hot AC “Alice 96.7” KALZ Fresno and Sports 1400 KRZR Visalia to Conservative Talk “PowerTalk 96.7” on January 1.

Kansas City: Cumulus Comedy “Funny 102.5” K273BZ will flip to Sports “102.5 The Fan” on January 2.

Madison: News/Talk 1670/106.7 WTDY dismissed its airstaff, while flipping to Christmas music and will flip to Sports as WOZN/WOZN-FM after the holidays.

York: Hot AC “Wink 103” WARM-FM will return to its previous AC “Warm 103.3″ identity.

Youngstown: EMF Broadcasting will close on its purchase of Urban “101.9 Jamz” WRBP and flip it to Christian AC “K-Love” on January 1. Sister Black Talk 1500 WASN will go silent at the same time.

Stations Expecting Flips

Bangor – Talk “Pulse 103.1” WZON-FM is now WZLO and promising a new format after Christmas.

Boise – When a Rock station like Journal Broadcasting’s “Variety Rock 105.1” KJOT Boise goes Christmas you take notice. Add on other circumstances and you have a likely flip.

Fort Collins – 94.9 KK235BT dropped its simulcast of News/Talk KCOL for Christmas music.

Green Bay – Variety Hits “103.5 & 104.3 Chuck-FM” WCHK-FM became “The Christmas Stationon November 1. Call letters changed to WKZG on 11/9.

Huntsville – 106.5 W293AH dropped its simulcast of News/Talk WBHP for Christmas music.

Louisville – “FM Talk 105.1” WLRS is stunting as “Christmas 105.1

Norfolk – Rhythmic AC “Movin 107.7” WMOV-FM dropped its branding in favor of “Christmas 107.7

San Diego – 95.7 KOGO-FM dropped its simulcast of News/Talk 600 KOGO for Christmas Music and will debut a new music format after the holidays.

Saskatoon – CHR “Wired 96.3” CFWD dropped its CHR format on November 15 for Christmas music “96.3 Santa-FM“. DomainInsight points to a relaunching as “Cruz 96.3” on December 26.

Wichita Falls – 96.3 KXXN returned to the air with Christmas music on October 23 after a period of silence.

Comments

  1. says

    Here in Cleveland, I don’t think Majic 105.7 is going to go anywhere, but I’d be curious to see if New 102 (WDOK 102.1) gets an actual name (besides “Cleveland’s New 102″) after their stint as “Christmas 102.1,” which they started advertising for this evening.

  2. says

    Not only that, but WDOK’s “Christmas 102″ comes with a new domain – christmas102.com – that forwards to new102.cbslocal.com. It’s highly probable, since the promo didn’t mention new102.com, that a name change is in the works.

    • says

      Good catch on the christmas102.com domain.

      Let’s hope the “New 102″ name is discarded. For one, it’s one year old, so it’s no longer “New.” I doubt they would switch to “Fresh” branding, as they would have done so back in January. Plus add to that CBS just moved WDOK/Q104′s studios from One Radio Lane into the Halle Bros. Building alongside WNCX and The Fan… AND rumors still persist of Cumulus buying the whole cluster to begin with.

      My guess is, the music mix stays the same, but the station reverts back to the original “102.1 WDOK” brand. But I could be wrong.

      • says

        I don’t think the music’s going to change, but I think a definitive name (besides “New 102,” although that does rhyme, and ‘new’ COULD refer to the music that they play, so it might be retained) might be coming down the line. Maybe they’ll change both WDOK and WQAL into Fresh 102.1 and Amp 104.1 respectively?

        Wasn’t there also talk – or is it just listener speculation – of moving The Fan to the ‘stronger’ 98.5 signal? Maybe putting all four stations in one location means a huge format swap is coming up. I could see Q104′s modern mix going to 92.3, The Fan going to 98.5, and Classic Rock going to 104.1. That’d leave ‘New 102′ with its 1-year-old music mix, put 92.3 back to top-40, and possibly link up two Cleveland establishments – Q104 and classic rock – which, short of putting alternative rock back on, might just please everyone. Then again, we do now have 99X and 87.7 to fill the alternative rock void.

        The massive swap might look like this:
        * 92.3 The Fan WKRK > Q92 (or a revert to Jammin’ 92.3) WQAL
        * Q104 WQAL > K104 Cleveland’s Classic Rock WKRK
        * Christmas 102 WDOK > Fresh 102.1 WDOK
        * 98.5 WNCX Cleveland’s Classic Rock > 98.5 The Fan WNCX

        • says

          There’s no way any company would take the expenses needed to rebrand four stations when they’d only need to do two.

          IF and it’s a BIG IF The Fan moves to 98.5, it would simply be a swap with WNCX moving to 92.3.

          • says

            Plus 98.5 has the best signal out of the four stations in the CBS CLE cluster. 92.3 is the weakest and has had a litany of format and call sign changes over the past 50 years.

            Probably the only reason why WNCX hasn’t been displaced by The Fan yet is, it still gets shockingly good ratings. And that’s as the station faces the same problems ALL classic rock stations face – a severely limited and predictable playlist (NCX hasn’t changed since 1993… I joke that it’s been preserved in amber, Jurassic Park-style) and demos that aren’t getting any younger.

            If there was a straight-up 92.3/98.5 swap, it would happen if The Fan either lands the Browns radio rights (bidding occurs after this NFL season) or if The Fan surpasses WNCX in ratings. Or… if Cumulus buys the cluster. Which they could…. only just a matter of WHEN.

            That being said, only WDOK needs a new name, and bad. Q104 has been repositioned into an adult CHR over the past two years. It could go straight-up CHR and not need to make any drastic changes.

  3. says

    I’m curious about WCHO/1250 Washington Court House. They are slated to pick up CC’s Premium Choice Xmas feed, which wouldn’t be that big a deal if it weren’t for the fact that their long-time sister/satellite WCHI/1350 Chillicothe just flipped from classic hits to the “24/7 Comedy” feed.

  4. says

    Not really a flip, so to speak, but McBride Communications new station CKPM 98.7 Port Moody, B.C. (in suburban Vancouver) signed on the air in test mode a couple weeks ago. They are currently stunting with Christmas music. The station was originally slated to have a Triple A format, but with two other stations running Triple A in the Vancouver market now that seems highly unlikely.

  5. says

    New 102 ‘tweaked’ their playlist, and was referred to as “The New 102, with a 50/50 mix of yesterday and today.” Not sure what that *exactly* means, but I’ve been hearing a LOT of ‘older’ (’90s and early ’00s) hits on there that I don’t recall hearing before.

    • says

      WDOK has basically become the Q104 of a few years back (before they migrated to Adult CHR, and now are a WWWQ-style CHR). Q will need to complete their evolution to CHR in order to keep the two stations from cannibalizing each other.

      And still, with Trapper Jack’s dismissal, the ratings for WDOK are going to take a significant drop anyway. Not-so-New 102 has a lot of self-inflicted wounds that could easily have been prevented.

      • says

        I couldn’t place the sound, but you hit the nail on the head.

        Hey, if ‘New 102′ doesn’t pan out, I wouldn’t rule out CBS flipping 92.3 back to alt-rock (or some other format… maybe they’ll try EDM here next) and shifting The Fan over to 102.1. Q104 can become some hybrid New/Q playlist, and 98.5 can keep on playing Classic Rock. Isn’t 102.1′s signal stronger than 92.3?

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