What Should Be Done to Turn Around WABC's Ratings?

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  • Posted In: New York / Long Island


  • Participant
    #184699

    I decided to bump this thread, because this thread has been sitting around for a year, and just to give you an little update, According to the Neilson Audio PPM ratings for the month of November, WABC is not showing up in the ratings for the first time ever. Thanks to WOR’s success as a talk station, and WABC is a loser in the talk world. WOR is a big winner and finally beats WABC to the PUNCH!

    Dude, WABC was mistakenly omitted from the 12+ topline when it was first published. It was a Nielsen error.

    Ol’ 77 has a 1.4 rating in the topline, which still is a meaningless demo that has no value to speak of.

    Michael Savage is leaving WABC and other stations by year’s end to do podcasting instead, and no word what he might replace Savage with a new afternoon show.

    Savage is shortening his show to an hour. Ben Shapiro, whose podcast is already running in WABC’s 5pm slot, is taking over two of Savage’s three hours on Westwood One, and he’ll likely be on from 4pm-6pm.

    Talk radio is now a dying format, and they’re going to compete with podcasting, but WOR isn’t going anywhere. The Mets season on WOR is over, get on with it.

    What are you talking about? WOR isn’t going anywhere because iHeart needs to clear Rush and Hannity in market #1, not because of anything else. If anything, that stations’ ratings will just stagnate with no Mets PBP to aid them in nights when springtime rolls around.

    What’s the future of WABC will be if the next ratings never shows up? We shall see.

    WABC will have somewhere around a 1.4 next month in the 12+ topline just like they had a 1.4 last month. Maybe more, maybe less, but they will show up in the book.

    I can’t believe that you bumped up a dead thread because of a typo that was publicly corrected days ago.

    Recorded in Ultra Stereo, the ultimately superior cousin to Normal Stereo!


    Participant
    #184722

    The talk format, especially ones that are political…tend to be heavily men, age 65+. Not an attractive target for most advertisers.

    So what can WABC do? Same as most talk stations…who knows. Perhaps not much of anything, it’s sad to say.


    Participant
    #184724

    Perhaps WABC could follow the example of sister station WICC AM, in nearby Bridgeport CT. They carry some of the same political shows, plus Laura Ingraham (who will soon be leaving radio). But on weekdays they also devote a considerable portion of their broadcast schedule to the financial advice programs of Clark Howard and David Ramsey.

    The station gets solid ratings in its market. Perhaps this is a better mix than politics all day and all night. But it is possible that a considerable portion of their ratings is derived from their sports coverage, which includes the games of the New York Yankees.


    Participant
    #184734

    The talk format’s #1 concern is their average age listener & declining advertising revenues.

    Talk tends to be old. Most advertisers want 25-54 females, then adults, some want men (sports). Talk gets what $ they can.

    Unless talk can some how, some way even get to listeners age 45-64, not primarily men 65+…they’ll have a difficult time writing enough advertising business to stay around too many more years…local hosts or network.

    And “great numbers” when you only see age 6+ (for PPM) or 12+ for non-PPM markets…that means nothing.


    Participant
    #184735

    But it is possible that a considerable portion of their ratings is derived from their sports coverage, which includes the games of the New York Yankees.

    That’s it right there. WICC is a Yankees affiliate so they will have a dedicated listener base that will tune in to the station in spite of any polarizing programming.

    WOR’s ratings were undoubtedly propped up by the Mets rights, but the Mets are not the Yankees. Still, WOR will stagnate into next year and be at or around WABC’s ratings. And as Tim has pointed out, both stations skew ridiculously old. They have no choice but to have brokered programming and infomerical blocks throughout the entire weekend just so some revenue can come in.

    Recorded in Ultra Stereo, the ultimately superior cousin to Normal Stereo!


    Participant
    #184747

    There has not been music on a NYC station for a long,long time.WHLI,WMTR,1410 and 1310 hits parts of the market.WABC cannot lose with a 60’s,7o’s and early 80’s format.HD FM simulcast of the station would help.


    Participant
    #184764

    I was thinking about an easy solution—- what about getting a format from Westwood One?


    Participant
    #184765

    If music on AM were profitable, all the floundering talk stations like WABC and WNYM (“The Answer”) would have flipped back to music already. They haven’t and they won’t.

    Outside of the novelty factor of listening to an oldies format on WABC, it would be a sure-fire ratings and revenue disaster. Cumulus is better off throwing piles of money into an incinerator. Even worse if you tried an all-syndicated music format on ol’ 77. And an HD FM simulcast is worthless and pointless unless there’s a translator to marry it to.

    As it is, WABC will continue to be run it its’ current state until the last drop of profitability can be had. But Cumulus will do something like lease it out to a foreign language operator or turn it into a 24/7 brokered talk format.

     

    Recorded in Ultra Stereo, the ultimately superior cousin to Normal Stereo!


    Participant
    #184774

    I notice that, for the most part, WNYM runs the Salem Media talk programming.  All, or most, of the Salem-based stations are called “The Answer” as WHK AM1420 is in Cleveland, Ohio.  So, even if music on AM were profitable, I don’t think at least the Salem O&O stations would switch to music.  They are invested in their talk shows.  When Salem took over AM850 WRMR in Cleveland, which had a Standards music format they, pretty quickly, plugged in “The Hugh Hewitt Show” at 6:00pm.  Then when things shifted, and they got WHK, the standards format that had moved over there was ditched for the full Salem Communications line-up.


    Participant
    #186718

    Rumor that WABC is being sold to John Catsimatidis.


    Participant
    #186723

    Live & local….at least 6am-7pm weekdays.

    The $14 million sale price to JC is stunning.

    10-15 years ago you might’ve gotten, what? $50-75 mill for WABC? Anybody have an more accurate guess?

    With billions of previous radio & TV ad dollars streaming to the internet….staff cuts will continue and sale prices will keep dropping like a rock. Incredibly unfortunate for 2 industries that used to be cash cows, not THAT long ago.


    Participant
    #186724

    Rumor that WABC is being sold to John Catsimatidis.

    It’s not exactly a rumor, but it’s true! WABC is sold to a new company called Red Apple Media, and it is going to take over WABC. Read here!

    http://www.wabcradio.com/2019/06/27/77-wabc-sold-to-red-apple-media-group-and-john-catsimatidis/


    Participant
    #186725

    So the station is now a footnote to a billionaire. Just as well, he grossly overpaid and Cumulus got waaaay more than it is worth. WABC has no ratings or influence whatsoever so whatever he slaps on post-close will be a vanity project.

    Sad to see the station’s slow decay into outright irrelevance complete itself. That lost audience of old white males is not coming back, no matter what he does.

    Recorded in Ultra Stereo, the ultimately superior cousin to Normal Stereo!


    Participant
    #186736

    FWIW, here are a couple of interviews that the new owner did with (other) trade sites…

    New Owner Of WABC, Looks To Put It Back On Top

    http://www.insideradio.com/free/new-york-businessman-john-catsimatidis-has-ambitious-plans-for-wabc/article_d127b54a-997d-11e9-a514-47eb8948bf5d.html

     

    Also, while I’m not particularly optimistic about renewed success here, I do still think that there could’ve been a lot of worse outcomes (for starters, a sale to Salem).  I concur with what Mr. Simon mentioned in his column about the sale–especially the idea that focusing on the broadcast signal alone probably wouldn’t be a good idea (using the recent, online-focused relaunch of KSTP as an example)…

    https://www.allaccess.com/the-letter/archive/30149/looking-through-the-windshield-not-the-rear-view

     


    Participant
    #186750

    Also, while I’m not particularly optimistic about renewed success here, I do still think that there could’ve been a lot of worse outcomes (for starters, a sale to Salem). I concur with what Mr. Simon mentioned in his column about the sale–especially the idea that focusing on the broadcast signal alone probably wouldn’t be a good idea (using the recent, online-focused relaunch of KSTP as an example)…

    https://www.allaccess.com/the-letter/archive/30149/looking-through-the-windshield-not-the-rear-view

    Mr. Simon’s column is on point… except for one glaring omission.

    Conservative talk radio by design skews old, and as the political divide is now increasingly an age-based one, you can’t place a younger host in hopes that people in the 25-54 demo are going to somehow try out, let alone return to, an AM station. Translating Ben Shapiro’s podcast to a conventional radio show is almost an exception to the rule, but his podcast audience isn’t going to go to WABC or a conventional radio station, they’re still going to listen online like they always have (and Ben’s popularity is almost entirely in spite of his conservatism, kinda like Rush before he devolved into a true believer bore in 2003).

    And it’s the biggest reason why WABC cannot be saved… the format is the biggest impediment and liability. Problem is, no other format will work, conservative talk radio is the best format option available.

    This is why Mr. Simon was not seeing any ideas emerge for WABC. Because there are none.

    Recorded in Ultra Stereo, the ultimately superior cousin to Normal Stereo!

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