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WRIT Milwaukee Shifts To BIGger Branding

Oldies 95.7 Big BigFM WRIT MilwaukeeiHeartMedia Classic Hits “Oldies 95.7” WRIT-FM Milwaukee will rebrand at midnight on Thursday as “95.7 Big-FM“.

While the station leads the market with a 10.5 share, the Oldies moniker remained while the station evolved to a 70s/80s centric playlist. With the demise of Variety Hits “94.5 The Lake” WLWK earlier this summer, this rebranding could help the station grab some of the younger demographics that could be turned off by the “Oldies” name.

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.

6 Comments

  1. Profile photo of Eric Jon Magnuson


    Interestingly, this doesn’t affect the branding at co-owned Sports outlet WOKY (which is still “The Big 920”).

  2. Profile photo of StogieGuy


    If it’s not broken, why fix it? WRIT has been going gangbusters as “Oldies 95.7”, a moniker that set it apart from all others in the market. Now, not only has the name been changed to a more generic “classic hits” branding, but the presentation has been watered down to match. I just don’t get it. Look at the ratings over the past year: iHM has the station doing better than it’s ever done.

    Since when does attaining success signal the necessity for a significant redux?

    • Profile photo of Eric Jon Magnuson


      A similar move was made to Portland’s (co-owned) KLTH about a year ago, when it was the market leader; see https://radioinsight.com/blog/headlines/89623/portland-gains-an-eagle.

      That said, I think that WZTI’s flip to “True Oldies” likely played a role in the timing here–although the change was probably in the works for some time.

      Finally, I’m still wondering about the use of “Big” here–not just because of WOKY (and Madison’s similar WTSO), but also because of the (co-owned) Country “Big” in Chicago (WEBG).

    • Profile photo of Lance Venta


      The Oldies name is taboo among advertisers for skewing old. WRIT was one of the last of the Classic Hits stations utilizing it but it made less and less sense particularly as its playlist skewed further away from the 1960s and into the 1980s.

      They’re going for the audience of the departed Variety Hits “94.5 The Lake” to skew younger and increase its audience share further.

  3. Profile photo of Dr. Akbar


    BIG means anything. OLDIES means old music. Makes sense.

  4. Profile photo of StogieGuy


    However, about 5 years ago, WRIT went by “My 95.7” with a similarly understated “classic hits” presentation (having similarly dropped the word “oldies” back in 2007) and didn’t see improvement in the ratings until going back to the “Oldies 95.7” branding. Yeah, I get the bias against the word. But Milwaukee ain’t LA, it’s culturally more conservative (even if not the case politically). And just as the station reaches it’s rating apex seems to be an odd time to make changes. They didn’t just change the name, they’ve altered the presentation as well.

    The LAKE never matched WRIT’s ratings, so why scare off a bigger audience in favor of a much smaller one? They’re with you already anyway.

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