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WPGB Pittsburgh Brings BIG Country

Big 104.7 Country FMNewsTalk FM News Talk WPGB Pittsburgh Limbaugh Bloomdaddy 1320 WJASUpdate 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.

Listen to the launch of Big 104.7 at FormatChange.com.

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.

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.

21 Comments

  1. Profile photo of ksradiogeek


    104.7 was once Country back in the mid 90s as “The Rebel” WXRB. Does anyone remember that period?

    • Profile photo of jimh


      104.7 has been just about every format at one time or another over the past 30 years

  2. Profile photo of raccoonradio


    If country maybe using the Bull nickname?

  3. Profile photo of only1moore


    Either way, WDSY will destroy them like the last time.

  4. Profile photo of Nathan Obral


    Would ESPN be that happy with a demotion to a translator? Considering that KDKA-FM is doing very well with the Pirates, that would be an insult to the Worldwide Leader.

    Heck, one has to legitimately look at WXDX, which is the Penguins flagship and has Mark Madden in the afternoon, and ask if their hybrid modern rock/sports format will last…

  5. Profile photo of BC


    I agree with everything stated in the previous comment, but there are 2 problems here. One was pointed out by a former espn pd, Mark madden had some trouble with the network, and 2 yes, while I agree as a modern rock fan that the x’s 90s rock format with 2 or 3 currents a year mixed with sports doesn’t work, tim benz now of the controversial WEEI had left mornings leaving the station music intensive from 3 to 6. You’re talking about the kind of station that came for Howard Stern, but stayed for Alan Cox for years, now of WMMS Cleveland. I certainly agree that it would be a down grade, and while it may make sense for CC to compete against the fan, as I live locally and have been discussing recent ticket sales, format initiatives, and ultimately the ratings success of wdsy, it just seems more logical. ESPN isn’t in this situation about reach, it’s about having an audience in a critical area, and depending on where the translator serves as far as coverage, I think they’ll accomplish that. They have far better chances winning over a country audience that knows what they want as opposed to a fickle sports talk audience that really doesn’t care now that they have a full powered station. 2 verry large watt stations in the sports talk format, now that I think of it would just be detremental to the format as a hole, lots of controversy surrounding the format, how much controversy other than the typical redneck stuff surrounds country?

    • Profile photo of Nathan Obral


      It depends on how the initial contract with ESPN was written. They can be real sticklers and may force CC’s hand, especially if the contract requires a full-market signal.

      • Profile photo of Lance Venta


        Is moving to a translator really a downgrade in this day and age? There won’t be much of a difference in coverage and it will bring the programming to FM where it will at least have a chance at younger demos.

  6. Profile photo of BC


    ironically upon saying this i’m a friend of a lot of the cbs radio folk, and i hate 3 stations in the same format, but even if they don’t destroy wdsy I’d love to see them force key market into a format flip of one of its signals. A cheesy family friendly frog image is one station, and a heritage country station with older personalities is the other choice, but what about the young end of the format hole? Not that country is my demo, but I have a feeling that I’d relate a bit more to the personalities on this new station because it would be life style oriented and the pop culture will surround other aspects besides sports talk on a country outlet. Just not my thing.

  7. Profile photo of raccoonradio


    What audience would CC be going for? It’s not 55 year old Bubbas. Bos Herald article about drunken behavior at Keith Urban concert…and who they were…Who’s playing? Who cares, let’s party!

    http://bostonherald.com/news_opinion/local_coverage/2014/07/drunken_keith_urban_crowd_nutso_behaved

    ““This was our worst night that I know of this year,” Dentino said. “This one just exploded and exploded early. __The country fans of yesterday aren’t the country fans of today, who are predominantly 17 to 28 and female. The primary reason for them going there is to party and secondary to that is to listen to the music__.”

    • Profile photo of Nathan Obral


      Is it that dissimilar to how the average attendee to a rock concert was portrayed as back in the 1970s?

    • Profile photo of jimh


      And that “who cares about the music, I just wanna party” reminds me of the antics at a Beach Boys reunion concert I attended 2 years ago.

    • Profile photo of Lance Venta


      Clear Channel’s recent Country launches have CHR presentations targeting Women 18-44. You can guarantee Bobby Bones will be in mornings and perhaps the new Tige & Daniel show in nights.

    • Profile photo of joseph_gallant


      I live in Norwood, Massachusetts, and this past Saturday night (July 27th) at about 10 P.M., my girlfriend and I were driving past the Norwood Hospital when we saw three Foxboro ambulances heading down the street away from the Hospital, apparently just having dropped off people at the Hospital.

      I was curious as to why the ambulances were there; I first thought that there may have been a couple of injured players (maybe during a collision) during a soccer game at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro (since the New England Revolution soccer team was playing at home that night) who were taken to that hospital.

      According to a news report on WBZ-1030 broadcast the next day, ambulances from five neighboring towns in addition to Mansfield had been summoned to the concert venue to take people to “multiple hospitals”.

      Norwood appears to have been among those hospitals.

  8. Profile photo of Chris Lash


    I remember the 104.7 The Rebel days as well, as I was programming in the market. As posted, WDSY cleaned their clocks.

    But I think your right, Bobby Bones and the new CC night shows will be part of it. And I wouldn’t be surprised if they launch their Bull brand.

    Lets wait and see if these rumors are true!

  9. Profile photo of Kenny Kissel


    I have recorded WPGB-FM”s new ID with the Country Format. Go to 1:29 in the track to hear it.

    P.S. It has static and some hiss in it. I Do Have HD Radio but i was a little far from Pittsburgh to pick it up.

    HERE IT IS: https://soundcloud.com/kenny-kissel/wpgh-fm-new-country-format-8714-11pm-toth-id

  10. Profile photo of raccoonradio


    from http://www.pbrtv.com:

    >>The “FM News Talk” format began in January 2004.
    Meanwhile, there were those who thought 104.7 would become an all sports FM station to compete with KDKA-FM (93.7) but Clear Channel’s plan is to keep their sports station on 970 AM as they work to move an FM translator at 106.3 from Connellsville to the tower at Calvary Cemetery.

    • Profile photo of Nathan Obral


      Which makes total sense that WBGG’s format didn’t migrate to FM.

      ESPN 970 is the AM flagship for the Steelers, which gives the station somewhat of a purpose to remain on AM (along with it being a dumping ground for all other team-related programming). Had ESPN 970 moved to FM, they would have directly competed against WDVE, which is the team’s direct flagship.

      But take the games away from a theoretical ‘ESPN 104.7,’ and what would be their purpose? Or would the Pengins move from WXDX to 104.7, adversely affecting WXDX in the process? It just wasn’t going to work.

      Should ESPN 970 attain said translator, it would give them that chance to have an actual audience without impacting WDVE and WXDX in the process.

  11. Profile photo of BC


    i totally agree, and I saw this logic when the rumors started circulating. What made this easier to confirm is the fact that Boston’s bull applied to increase power. I agree with the above comments from Lance about its CHR presentation, which is exactly why I use that as a defense to people who say “you’re rewarding the rednecks with another station.” they definitely have the smallest country playlist, but you can hear how selective the process is, there are even some currents missing, but the golds make sense and they are really good. Something else unique I noticed them doing is a 30 minute rotation at times, no not the same song, but the same artists. Thriving on star power promotes familiarity, and when considering products like pandora that is how today’s consumer listens to music. With the appointment of JD as Pd, this is already a huge step in the right direction. Weirdly, i think a country station with top 40 personalities will actually provide a really nice counter culture to the rebel rednecks who just need somewhere with a lot of people to fulfill their insecurities by being a loser. but anyone who listens to bobby bones knows that there is texture and purpose to the context of this station. Interestingly, they got really involved with the toby keith show, giving him some spins on Saturday, only to completely drop rotations the next day. Interesting strategy, but let’s face it, toby, despite his new music, is a different era of country and provided a splash for the station in the community. They should bring Jerry Mac back to the market, who successfully launched youngstown ohio’s cat country 95. he was successful in both country and CHr and fits the station’s direction.

  12. Profile photo of raccoonradio


    Great comments but tech. WBWL 101.7 Lynn/Boston MA isn’t going for a power increase. They are going for a non-directional signal with what they have (approx 6kW?) and are doing it by downgrades to stations CC owns in Prov. and Cape Cod. To those who suddenly can get 101.7 south of Boston, etc. it may seem like a power boost but it’s really a re-direction of the signal, which has had to deal with 101.5 Prov & 101.9 on Cape.

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