As 2012 comes to a close lets look back at our predictions we had coming into this year.
We haven’t reached this point yet, but we continue to head on that path. The culmination would be the late-December launch of Clear Channel’s EDM “Evolution 101.7” Boston. This marked the first time Clear Channel brought one of its IHeartRadio.com web channels to a traditional FM signal. Clear Channel was not alone as Townsquare Media converted WQSH Albany, NY and KMAX-FM Fort Collins, CO to use the branding of their PopCrush.com and Loudwire.com web brands respectively.
Less Localization / More Localization
The staff cutting continued in 2012 with more and more dayparts going jockless or coming from another market. There doesn’t seem to be an end in sight. On the other end of the spectrum, we haven’t seen the big breakout success from a station re-emphasizing its local programming. The Full Service Modern AC KTWN Minneapolis we cited as a station to watch quickly segued to an 80’s based approach as it awaits another staff overhaul and the addition of Minnesota Twins baseball in 2013.
We correctly predicted someone would go All-News in Atlanta, but following the demise of Merlin Media’s “FM News” outlets in Chicago and New York the trend has skidded to a halt. Cumulus’ “All News 106.7” WYAY Atlanta has been the most successful of the recent launches with a 1.5 share. Radio-One’s “News 92” KROI Houston is at a 1.0, while CBS’ 99.1 WNEW Washington has yet to subscribe to Arbitron.
More Online Options
The one trend that will continue to grow. In the aftermath of its purchase of Arbitron, Nielsen has stated its plans to begin measuring Pandora on equal footing with terrestrial radio. Pat Deluca and Charlotte DiFranco turned their departure from mornings at WDJQ Canton, OH into a streaming network. Big names like former KLOS Los Angeles morning hosts Mark Thompson and Brian Phelps and Minneapolis stalwart Tony Fly continue to make the move to online platforms.
Also looking back at a couple other topics we discussed over the past year:
FM Sports In New York
Back in January, when 94.7 WFME applied to convert to commercial status it was obvious to many that the primary bidders for an FM signal in New York would be looking to place a Sports format on it. Perhaps overplaying its cards, Family Radio saw two of its potential suitors successfully find other outlets before selling the station to Cumulus in October. ESPN Radio made the first move in late April when it agreed to a long term lease for what was Emmis’ Urban AC “98.7 Kiss-FM” WRKS to shift its programming from 1050 WEPN to FM. CBS made the second move in October as it acquired 101.9 WRXP from Merlin Media to become the FM home for 660 WFAN. With both New York baseball teams’ radio rights up for bidding in 2013, both companies needed the FM signal to stay on equal footing.
In August, out of the ashes of 101.7 WFNX a new radio station launched in Boston. The station debuted with a larger airstaff than many other Boston stations had in 2012, but one thing missing from The New York Times Company’s RadioBDC was a transmitter and tower.
Built as a brand extension of Boston.com, RadioBDC is seeking the same local and national advertisers as “Kiss 108“, WEEI, and the rest of the Boston radio market. It has since been joined by the relaunch of WFNX as a webcaster going after the Alternative audience in Boston. We haven’t seen other non-radio properties add internet radio channels yet, but if RadioBDC keeps growing how long until we see a sister RadioNYT at the New York Times?
Next week we’ll have our predicted trends for 2013.