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96.5 Amp Radio Debuts In Philadelphia

Wired 96.5 Amp Radio WRDW-FM Philadelphia CBS Chunky Buster Bobby SmithAs expected CBS relaunched 96.5 WRDW-FM Philadelphia as “96.5 Amp Radio” at 5:00 this afternoon. Bobby Smith has been named Program Director. Smith most recently programmed Hot AC “Mix 105.1” WOMX and CHR “101.9 Amp Radio” WJHM in Orlando. He is also a South Jersey native who began his career in the 90’s at Modern AC “Max 95.7” WXXM.

Just like last year’s launch of the format in New York, 96.5 Amp is debuting with Commercial Free Weekend.

CBS Radio’s 96.5 FM in Philadelphia will present area listeners with a new destination to discover the best new pop, pop-rhythmic and dance music. Premiering today at 5:00pm, Philadelphia’s New 96.5 AMP RADIO blends the best of today’s most popular songs and reflects the growing future of music consumption.

Established artists such as Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande, Pitbull, Rihanna and Calvin Harris along with breakout artists such as Zedd and Wiz Khalifa to name a few will be featured on the station. The new 96.5 AMP Radio can be heard on-air, online at 965amp.com or by downloading the Radio.com app for a variety of mobile and tablet devices. The station will have an active local presence on all popular social media channels.

“AMP Radio” will be a highly attractive brand for Philadelphia’s young adult listener. The popularity of today’s pop music is at an all-time high and we’re looking forward to increasing the station’s already powerful reach with advertisers and listeners, both on-air and online,” said Marc Rayfield, Senior Vice President and Market Manager, CBS RADIO Philadelphia.

Newly named Program Director Bobby Smith said, “This is the most exciting time to introduce a new brand as we have an almost unlimited amount of digital opportunities to connect and engage with our local Philly audience. I look forward to 96.5 AMP Radio being the local listener’s first choice for hearing their favorite new hit music!”
Follow 96.5 AMP Radio on Twitter @965ampradio, Facebook.com/965ampradio or Instagram @965ampradio.

WRDW is owned and operated by CBS RADIO, one of the largest major-market radio operators in the United States. A division of CBS Corporation, CBS RADIO owns and operates 117 radio stations in 26 markets – including the top 10 as ranked by Nielsen Audio – as well as an extensive array of digital assets. CBS RADIO also owns and operates WIP, KYW, WPHT, WOGL, and WXTU in Philadelphia.

Update 4/7: The wheels are in motion for an Amp Radio relaunch at CBS CHR “Wired 96.5” WRDW-FM Philadelphia.

The station is currently running jockless with limited imaging promoting something for Friday, April 10 at 5:00pm. Exiting the station are PD/Afternoon Host Buster Satterfield and Morning Host Chunky. As we reported in late March, digital signs point to an upcoming relaunch as “96.5 Amp Radio“.

Original Report 3/27: Digital signs are pointing to a coming relaunch of CBS CHR “Wired 96.5” WRDW-FM Philadelphia under their “Amp” branding.

965Amp.com was registered anonymously in late February following prior parking of 965AmpRadio.com and AmpRadioPhilly.com right after CBS’ acquisition of the station was announced last October. The most recent domain has been accompanied by blank Twitter and Instagram accounts, and a private Facebook page.

WRDW-FM currently ranks 18th in the Philadelphia market with a 2.4 share; well behind iHeartMedia’s “Q102” WIOQ’s 4.1 share. The station has been moved from Rhythmic CHR to Mainstream CHR reporting status since CBS took over in December.

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.

10 Comments

  1. Profile photo of only1moore


    This was bound to happen now with the playlist resembling the other “Amp” stations.

  2. Profile photo of joseph_gallant


    So much for all the speculation after CBS bought WRDW-96.5 that it was going to become a simulcast of all-news KYW-1060.

  3. Profile photo of Autodyne


    If 1060 can still make money on its own, no need to send it out to pasture to join 950 and 610. CBS may have decided that maintaining the viability of the all-news AM format doesn’t require the near-term sacrifice of profitable FMs.

    • Profile photo of Nathan Obral


      And KYW’s ratings seem to have stabilized in recent months, no? That probably played a major factor in this.

      I’m still highly doubtful if an “AMP” rebrand will make much headway against Q102, but give them credit for trying. CBS will pour more resources into the station than Beasley would have been able to.

  4. Profile photo of e gill cvi


    Seems like a waste of effort and money. Changing the name and imaging isn’t suddenly gonna make people want to listen to them instead of listening to Q102, the clear favorite.

    • Profile photo of homerjay


      Beat Q? Not anytime soon, if at all. But as Mix shows, there’s room to take a bigger piece of the pie, perhaps? Overall, is it worth the shot to see if you can’t be a stronger second, and thus increase revenue? I think I’d place that bet.

  5. Profile photo of Mark W.


    How has this station survived for so long? I take it Beasley’s cost basis was super low because they owned it for so long (thus making it easier to earn a decent ROI)?

    I’d be shocked if Wired ever billed well; the ratings have stunk for years.

    If AMP fails, what is CBS’s next move? KYW simulcast? (that would seem like a waste.) A crack at Country?

    • Profile photo of charles57


      CBS already has country in Philadelphia. The company got control of 92.5 XTU in the same transaction as Wired.

  6. Profile photo of maytableinc


    Their current music playlist is very similar to their sister in NYC. Musically, the station is focused towards a rhythmic lean while retaining older rhythmic material that usually are not heard on other rhythmic stations across the nation. Plus there are some occasional new tracks that they are playing that are not on rotation on any other Top 40 station in this country (like a track from Marlon Roudette). Hopefully ratings will also improve like WBMP sort of did when they transitioned to AMP.

  7. Profile photo of e gill cvi


    Philly’s March ratings were released this hour…

    WRDW dropped another tenth (2.4 – 2.4 – 2.3), but that was before last week’s *major metamorphosis* from Mainstream Top 40 Wired 96.5 to even more bland Mainstream Top 40 96.5 Amp Radio. Their 2.3 (tying *Gospel* WPPZ for eighteenth place) is less than half of Q102’s 4.7 (good for 8th place). *WRDW is again the lowest-rated commercial FM in the market.* New imaging isn’t going to fix any of that so they’d better hope the commercial-free weekend gimmick pays off!

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