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WBEB Philadelphia Rebrands As More-FM

MoreFM 101.1 More FM 101 B101 WBEB PhiladelphiaUpdate 12/26: WBEB ended its Christmas music run and launched its new “More-FM” branding at the odd time of 3:00am as it segued from Andy Williams’ “Its The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year” to Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream”.

Original Report 12/10: Jerry Lee will rebrand AC “B101” WBEB Philadelphia as “101.1 More-FM” on Thursday, December 26.

The rare change at a station ranked at the top of the market comes to better align the station with its “More Music, Less Talk” branding

WBEB has been unafraid to rebrand a successful station in the past as it shifted from “EZ 101” to “B101” in 1993. WBEB began using the “More-FM” brand on its HD2 subchannel earlier this year following the launch of “96.9 More-FM” in Fort Myers, FL.

The press release announcing the move follows:

Legendary AC Radio station WBEB (B101.1 FM, Philadelphia) today announced that it will change its name from B101 to MoreFM™ later this month. The station is not making any programming changes, but is updating its name to more accurately reflect its ‘More Music, Less Talk’ mantra. The name change comes during a period of sustained dominance, with WBEB being the most listened to station in the market for an unprecedented 88 consecutive ratings books. This is the latest bold move from a proven radio innovator who remains the only stand-alone, major market FM station in the country — winning radio’s highest honor, the Marconi Award, eight times in the past decade.

The move is a result of extensive research studies that are the trademark of the station’s longtime owner and philanthropist, Jerry Lee. Research showed that despite ongoing evolution of the station’s audience and playlists, the B101 name still has a strong association with some artists that have not been played on the station for many years. The update from B101 to MoreFM™ is designed to better align the station’s name with its programming and help more closely match listener perception with the station’s current reality. A similar move helped spur the station’s leadership position 20 years ago.

“We made a nearly identical decision in 1993 when we kept the same programming but switched our name from EZ-101 to B101 to update our image,” said Lee. “That one worked out pretty well, increasing our audience 40 percent over the next three years and ultimately helping establish us as a dominant #1, particularly with Women 25-54. We’re confident this name change will set the foundation for the next 20 years of growth.”

The name MoreFM™ surfaced as an obvious choice during the research says General Manager Blaise Howard.

“As we went through the process it became clear that what our listeners expect from us and what sets us apart from competitors is our commitment to playing more of the music they love with less of the talk they don’t,” said Howard. “With the MoreFM™ name, we are embracing our strength and reflecting the listening experience that matters most to our audience.”

MoreFM™ will continue to play the same great Adult Contemporary songs it has been playing. The station has the most extensive music testing program in the industry. It will continue testing all of its music to ensure that the station is delivering the music its listeners want to hear.

The station will promote the name change throughout the holiday season, making it official on Thursday, December 26th.

About WBEB
WBEB 101.1 FM is an adult contemporary radio station broadcasting in the Philadelphia market. Founded in 1963 by David Kurtz and Jerry Lee, WBEB is credited with many industry firsts and has enjoyed consistent Top 10 ratings for decades. The station is currently owned and operated by Jerry Lee. It remains the only stand-alone, major market FM radio station in the country.

Profile photo of Lance Venta
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.

14 Comments

  1. Profile photo of Mike (former Myke25 on RD)


    bad move!! but maybe they’ll finally start streaming their station.

    • Profile photo of K.M. Richards


      Jerry Lee did stream WBEB for many years but pulled the plug on it back in 2009, citing the music royalty rates they had to pay for also being on the Internet. At the time, he told the trades that it’s “not a viable business option” for an AC station to stream online.

      I doubt he’s changed his mind since then.

  2. Profile photo of MattParker


    They should call it “Elevator 101.”

  3. Profile photo of Mike704


    Ugh moe musick less gawk radio stations have been playing that tune forever. My cd’s have less talk than your radio station. Oh and those 7 minute stop sets that everyone does 2-3 times an hour also counts as talk.

  4. Profile photo of MattParker


    “Oh and those 7 minute stop sets that everyone does 2-3 times an hour also counts as talk.”

    Good point and damn right!

  5. Profile photo of BC


    ouch! Lots of pessimism surrounding radio these days, but for what it’s worth, I think Jerry is a marvelous owner and for and unlike many that say “we researched and you wanted” he’s demonstrated his studies publicly. Personally i think b101 rolls off the tongue better, but perhaps a rebranding could be beneficial. though the one takeaway I’ll lend to from the above comments is I agree, if radio spent more of the time playing music rather than developing hyperbolic and arbitrary slogans, then no promises would even need to be made in the first place. but can’t we at least celebrate a guy who does it all in house?

    • Profile photo of K.M. Richards


      Indeed. Jerry Lee has been successful with that station longer than some of us have been in radio, period.

      He was among the first to be hired as on-air talent in 1963 when then=WDVR went on the air. That’s ten years before I cracked a mike for the first time …

  6. Profile photo of Tom


    What prevents a station like Ben-fm from rebranding as B95.7 on 12/26?

    • Profile photo of Lance Venta


      WBEB could brand their HD2, which has used the “More-FM” branding since this summer as “B101” to prevent a competitor from doing so.

  7. Profile photo of MattParker


    Oh, sure! Let’s celebrate personality-free, extended commercial breaks, elevator music, syntho-radio. Radio’s equivalent of “the least objectionable program” – if you can’t find what you like to listen to, Jerry gives you something you can tolerate (until you discover Pandora and can get what you want again).

    Jerry and Lowry Mays both started in radio about the same time. Both started with one station. Then what…

    And Jerry pounded a big nail into the coffin of AM radio when he sold Famous 56 to Salem to turn into an outlet for brokered fundamentalist and religious right preachers.

  8. Profile photo of homerjay


    Perhaps he simply realized there was little else left to wring out of AM radio. Someone else could have stepped in to do something with it if they were convinced there was a great, untapped potential. Looking around the rest of the landscape, it hardly seems selling one station was a nail–just acknowledging a changing business reality.

  9. Profile photo of BC


    oh sure, let’s celebrate personality free, redundant mainstream, computer generated, band wagoner playlists that claim to be radio, until the inevitable day when pandora listeners complain about the same thing. long stop sets, and oh, still no personality!! i just got finished tearing some stereotypical meat heads apart on a rock fan page for complaining about similar titles, and adding alternative to the playlist. most of the people who complain about such things, don’t even know what it’s like to work in the industry, and the immense pressure to satisfy both listeners and advertisers. there are some radio doomsday people who need people to come to their job to criticize their work ethic, no don’t tell them what they can do better, tell them that by proxy, their association with a “worthless organization” likewise makes them worthless. since people who type in an artist name into pandora, or insert search music engine here seem to know so much about how to run a radio station because Pandora treats them like the millenials at a baseball game, “everyone can have a radio station” why don’t they use their ambition to create pandorainsight.com PS. hey radio jocks, please stop holding guns to people’s heads in parking lots and forcing them to listen to radio, and stop stealing their iPods.

  10. Profile photo of Mike704


    I don’t like being pessimistic when talking about radio and I have heard some really great things about Jerry and what he has accomplished as an independent operator. What I’d like to see is more creativity throughout the industry. It doesn’t have to be big money give aways either. I used to work for a PD who always had a fun promotion going. Most of the time it was topical, tied to some current event. It kept things interesting and listeners involved.

  11. Profile photo of BC


    nice to see some constructive commentary actually making suggestions. you bring up an interesting point regarding free money giveaways, to be honest it seems like a move of desperation. The “bribe contests” were cute when they were original, but now it seems like a default when the ratings default, not on all occasions of course. Radio’s great because it’s simple, concert tickets, movie passes, station gear, depending on the brand loyalty, listeners love that stuff. but that stuff also has to have meaning, i don’t are if you play “all the hits” if you play those but do nothing for “me” then it’s a wasted cause. Interestingly enough the baltimore conference is discussing a lot of these issues. Hey Lance! It would be great if you could round up some research and info, and write a blog next week on the takeaways, so far I’ve seen some stimulating discussion taking place. yes, spot load is an issue, but creativity is also an issue as mike704 just addressed! but i just think it’s wrong to blame the people who are really trying to make a difference. more engagement, more creative promotions, but above all, more heart! when clients interact more with the social media pages than the listeners, then there’s a real problem.

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