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Focus On The Mainstream; But Support The Niches

Lance's Line RadioInsight Blog

Freeform Rock 104.1 WBCN Boston 100.7 WZLX-HD3 Sam Kopper CopperEarlier today CBS Radio killed off the Freeform Rock “Freeform WBCN” of 100.7 WZLX-HD3 Boston and the company’s Radio.com streaming platform/app replacing it with Adult Standards as “The Lounge“.

The format was programmed by Sam Kopper, who was 104.1 WBCN’s original Program Director and Morning host when it flipped to Rock in 1968. He was joined by a team of part-time DJ’s who kept the station live for 6-8 hours daily from their home studios. The WBCN branding is also used for a jockless Modern Rock format on 98.5 WBZ-HD2 focusing on the format the original WBCN carried in its later days through its demise in 2009. The two channels shared a non-descript sub-page on WZLX.com that hadn’t seen a new posting in nearly two years and a now-deleted Facebook page.

What if CBS actually promoted the brand and stations? HD radio adoption is slowly growing and many people finally listen to internet radio. The WBCN brand heritage carries a lot of goodwill in not just Boston, but across the country. The freeform format could’ve been plugged into HD subchannels across the country in markets like New York (where Rock once lived on WNEW), Philadelphia (where WYSP is now gone), and Chicago (as an extension of AAA WXRT) turning WBCN into something it couldn’t have been in its original FM heyday: A truly national Freeform Rock station.

Broadcast radio still has the reach to promote niche products as unique brands, but as we as an industry continue to chip away at staffers and unique ideas to focus on the bottom line, the room for innovation just continues to be handed to internet pureplays on a silver platter. Focus on your mainstream products that make the most money, but don’t forget about the loyal P1’s you could lock in and target to advertisers with truly niche products.

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Lance Venta is the Owner and Publisher of RadioInsight.com and a consultant for RadioBB Networks specializing in integration of radio and the internet. Lance has two decades of experience tracking the audio industry and its use of digital platforms.

1 Comment

  1. Profile photo of JeremyAndrews


    WDRV/WWDV HD-2 Deep Tracks is sorta kinda like Freeform Classic Rock. It’s not completely limited to deep cuts. They don’t stream anymore however. http://wdrvhd2.tunegenie.com

    WXRT HD-2 runs “Channel X” which is basically new music AAA.

    HD Radio in Chicago, especially among CBS is grossly underused. They have no HD-3. HD-2 channels, particularly WJMK HD-2 is just a simulcast of WSCR (which already has AM HD, they could easily move that to an HD-3 and put a music format on the HD-2 but they opt not to)

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