Update 4/27: Cumulus officially announces 106.7 WYAY Atlanta will flip to All-News in Mid-May.
Update 4/9: A few more domains registered over the weekend clarify the story a bit. More domains were added with AllNews prefixes for 680, 1230, 1340, 93.7, 100.5, and 101.5. Pair those with the previous 98.9, 99.7, and 106.7 and you have every station operated by Cumulus or Dickey Broadcasting in Atlanta with the exception of 97.9. This could be Cumulus trying to mask the potential destination of the News station in the market or simply playing games with us.
These additional domains should have no effect on the registrations for 95.5 Los Angeles and 105.7 Minneapolis.
We were also reminded that Cumulus is in the process of launching an in-house Traffic service with Radiate Media. John Dickey has made it a company goal to utilize in-house programming as much as possible. With News programming they will not be reliant on syndicated talk shows or music licensing.
Original Report 4/6: Cumulus appears to be preparing to get into the All-News business in a big way.
A number of domains registered anonymously this week by the company’s usual registrar lineup with underperforming Cumulus stations in five markets. Three of the markets can easily be identified as Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Minneapolis/St. Paul.
The first registration AllNews955.com points to Classic Rock KLOS Los Angeles. CBS runs News programming on 1070 KNX but has not shown any indication of moving the station to FM. KNX and Clear Channel’s market leading Talk 640 KFI would be the primary competition for an All News outlet on 95.5. KLOS registered a 2.7 share in the February PPM’s. Cumulus also owns 95.5′s in New York, Nashville, Reno, Lafayette, and Savannah that seem like lesser options for various reasons.
Next up is Atlanta via AllNews1067.com. Currently Classic Hits “Atlanta’s Greatest Hits 106.7” WYAY, the station was recently left behind in the old Citadel studios when the rest of Cumulus’ stations were consolidated into one building. Atlanta is the largest market with no station programming news blocks outside of morning drive where Cox’ 750/95.5 WSB runs it. WYAY was 17th in the market last month with a 2.0 share. Other Cumulus stations on 106.7 are located in New Orleans, Harrisburg, Columbia, and Green Bay.
Which takes us to what is now AC “Love 105” WGVZ Eden Prairie/Minneapolis and its suburban simulcasts 105.1 WGVX Lakeville and 105.3 WGVY Cambridge. With the registration of AllNews1057.com, Cumulus is preparing to take on CBS News/Talk 830 WCCO. Love 105 has shown growth since the flip of CBS’ “Lite 102.9” WLTE to Country on December 25. The other Cumulus 105.7′s are in York, PA and Fayetteville, AR.
We’re not 100% sure what markets the other two registrations are for as there are multiple possibilities for each. AllNews989.com would appear to be for struggling Conservative Talk WKIM Memphis, but the hole is not as obvious as the other markets. The rest of Cumulus’ stations on 98.9 are located in Atlanta, Oklahoma City, Pueblo, Tallahassee, Worcester, and Lennox, SD.
The last market appears to be Nashville’s 99.7 WWTN where AllNews997.com was registered, which is 7th in the market with a 5.4 share. Another possibility could be WEAN-FM Wakefield-Peacedale, RI which simulcasts 630 WPRO Providence. The other 99.7′s in the Cumulus portfolio are in Abilene, Shreveport, and the Quad Cities.
Cumulus began its News programming push by transitioning KGO San Francisco and KLIF Dallas to News in drive times while retaining talk in other dayparts. Those are branded as “News & Information”. Using the “All News” moniker on these domains appears to indicate the new launches will be more news centric than those.
Cumulus Co-COO John Dickey was quoted in Radio Ink this week that “people are fatigued (with talk radio). We can see that in ratings in these talk stations.” A shift towards News based programming would steer these stations away from that fatigue.