Update 8/7 3:00pm: As we first tipped off a couple weeks ago, WPGB flipped to Country as “Big 104.7” at 3:00pm.
The new format is being branded as “Pittsburgh’s New Hit Country” and launching with the usual 10,000 songs commercial free. WPGB will add Bobby Bones in mornings once the commercial free programming comes to an end.
Interestingly, Clear Channel has been sitting on the Big1047.com domain since May 2011.
Clear Channel Media and Entertainment Pittsburgh announced today the debut of Big 104.7, Pittsburgh’s New Hit Country, effective immediately. Big 104.7 will kick off with 10,000 commercial-free songs in a row featuring the newest hits from Country artists such as Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean, Blake Shelton, Carrie Underwood, Kenny Chesney, Eric Church and Miranda Lambert.
Big 104.7 will feature award-winning Country morning program The Bobby Bones Show beginning this fall. The morning show entertains listeners with a unique mix of pop culture, news and music, and features on-air personalities Bobby Bones, Lunchbox and Amy, with special guest appearances from the biggest names in Country music straight from Nashville. Big 104.7 programming will also include local news and events, exclusive album premieres, new song releases and a team of local Pittsburgh personalities that will be announced soon.
“It’s a great day for Pittsburgh Country music fans as we launch Big 104.7, a fresh new take on Country music. This station will give our listeners a front-row seat to Country’s biggest artists and concerts,” said David Edgar, Vice President of Programming for Clear Channel Media and Entertainment Pittsburgh.
“Listeners will also enjoy waking up with The Bobby Bones Show and his unique and entertaining insight on Country music. No one is closer to the heart of Nashville than Bobby Bones.”
Pittsburgh fans of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck and the other WPGB talk show hosts can now hear them on 1320-AM, WJAS, effective immediately.
Update 8/7 1:00pm: 104.7 WPGB is moving its current Talk programming to Frank Iorio’s 1320 WJAS Pittsburgh. WPGB is currently running sweepers in between their Talk programming promoting a special announcement at 3pm today.
Among the sweepers heard, “The future of 104.7 is going to be a big hit. Details at 3:00 today.” and “Pittsburgh’s new talk radio 1320 AM is now the home for all your favorite talk hosts. Catch Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck on the AM dial at 1320 – your new #1 preset. Stay tuned for a special announcement on the future of 104.7 today at 3:00.”
The move of WPGB’s Talk lineup comes just days after Iorio closed on the purchase of WJAS from Renda Broadcasting and let go of the station’s longtime hosts.
Original Report 7/27: A Country battle could be in Pittsburgh’s near future.
We try to stay away from format change rumors when we do not have DomainInsight to back it up, but when we hear the same thing from three different sources it’s hard not to look away. Our sources all indicate that Clear Channel is preparing to flip “FM NewsTalk 104.7” WPGB Pittsburgh to Country.
Like many other Conservative Talk stations across the country, WPGB has lost its ratings luster in recent months. The station registered a 2.5 share in the June 2014 Nielsen Audio PPM ratings down from a 4.1 as recently as last November. That was the final monthly prior to the exit of Jim Quinn and Rose Tennent from mornings and being replaced by David ‘Bloomdaddy’ Bloomquist syndicated from sister 1170 WWVA Wheeling.
A flip to Country would put WPGB in competition with CBS’ “Y108” 107.9 WDSY. In recent months, WDSY has risen from a 6.5 share in April to a 7.6 share in June to encroach on a pair of Clear Channel’s stations for the market lead. Rock 102.5 WDVE currently leads the market with a 8.0 share, while Classic Hits “94.5 3WS” WWSW is tied for second with WDSY. Clear Channel’s “96.1 Kiss” WKST-FM and Steel City Media Variety Hits “Bob-FM 96.9” WRRK are right behind with a 7.5 share each.
There are still moving pieces in play such as what happens to the rest of the Premiere Radio Network syndicated voices currently heard on WPGB. With Clear Channel moving 106.3 W292DH Uniontown into Pittsburgh with 250 watts at 186 meters, (Coverage Map) one scenario we’ve had suggested is WPGB’s lineup of Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity moving to what is currently Sports “970 ESPN” WBGG, with the Sports format moving to the translator.
Another Country station does currently target the Pittsburgh market. Keymarket Communication’s network of “Froggy” branded stations circles the city including 94.9 WOGG Uniontown from the south, 103.5 WOGH Burgettstown from the west, and 104.3 WOGI Moon Township from the northwest. The Keymarket stations do not subscribe to Nielsen Audio’s ratings.