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Two Central Massachusetts Stations To End Programming

99.9 WFNX Athol 700 WFAT Orange Northeast Broadcasting 92.5 The River WXRVTwo years after launching broad Variety Hits 99.9 WFNX Athol and Oldies/Standards “AM 700” WFAT Orange-Athol MA, Northeast Broadcasting will pull the plug on the stations and revert them to simulcasts of AAA “92.5 The River” WXRV Andover/Boston at the end of the month.

Both stations have letters posted on their websites explaining the difficulty they have received in attracting advertisers to sustain them. WFAT/WFNX state they need ten businesses to sign one year agreements to advertise to keep the stations afloat.

It is officially May, and sadly the last month of WFNX 99.9 as you know it today. It was this month 2 years ago that we started the experiment to find the perfect format for the area, and it has been an incredible experience. We were given two years to execute this radio experiment…to try something different in order to take a couple of radio stations that were under performing and make them both popular with listeners and profitable. While we would certainly say that the station has gained listeners in the past two years, unfortunately we are still far from profitable. We very much appreciate the support of the advertising clients that we have had, we just wish there would have been more of them. Truth be told, when we started we thought that part of the experiment would be easy…realistically we only needed 10 businesses to advertise every month at a reasonably priced rate in order to cover basic expenses. With signals covering a population of about 80,000 people, it seemed it would be so easy to find businesses that would be interested in advertising. We were wrong. During the entire 2 year period, we have been having conversations with local business owners and managers, and while getting a ‘no’ answer is a given in any kind of sales, the quantity of ‘no’s’ was astounding. Now we’re approaching the time limit, and we simply have not been able to get enough ‘yes’ answers to be able to continue. Unless we could somehow miraculously find ten businesses that would advertise annually with us before then, May 29 will be the last day that the current programming on WFNX will be heard. And on May 30, the station will go back to being a rebroadcast of The River from the Boston area.

For all of you out there that have listened to the randomness, voted for songs, wrote us emails, and posted on our Facebook page…thank you so much! It has been an incredible ride, and we will truly miss reaching all of you via the airwaves in the Quabbin Region.

The WFNX Team

INSTANT INSIGHT: Both WFAT and WFNX launched their current formats in June 2014 following a brief stunt. Neither features a mass-appeal format and too-broad playlists. A recent block on WFNX segued from Linkin Park to Macklemore to The Coasters to Dee-lite. Hard to sell something that’s not focusing on a core audience.

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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.

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