WTIC 1080 falls to 8th Place – What happened?

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  • Posted In: Connecticut

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    WTIC AM 1080’s ratings have been tanking lately. I remember they used to be consistently in the Top 3. Now they’re in 8th place and even Classic Rocker 102.9 The Whale has higher ratings!


    Why are the ratings tanking?

    1. Is it because The Redsox are in last place?

    2. Is it because listeners are fed up with Rush Limbaugh?

    3. Is it because they’re airing a 4 hour Sports-Talk show – Joe D & Gresh in PM Drive?

    4. Is it fall out from laying off News Director Dana Whalen?

    Marc Bramhall


    I suspect the major reason for WTIC-1080’s problems is the Red Sox. Their night and weekend-afternoon ratings have likely taken the biggest hit.

    But in the next few weeks/months, the station will have to fill a big hole in its weekday schedule when Rush Limbaugh moves to WPOP-1410.

    Later this Fall, ‘TIC’s nighttime numbers might improve once the U/Conn men’s and women’s basketball seasons begin.


    You have to look at thge demographics for them, not the 6+. As well, the site is down so I can’t look much at what IS reported.

    Laying off a news director has little to no effect. As well, I doubt Rush drops them that much, if at all, but nice try on partisan hackery instead of analyzing the numbers based on actual data.

    More likely, it is simply an aging audience not being replenished at the low end.


    #1: Yes.

    #2: Maybe — Connecticut is a blue state and the Republican towns are not of the hard-right variety.

    #3: Can’t say.

    #4: Definitely. The layoff trashed WTIC’s reputation as the go-to place for breaking news.


    >1. Is it because The Red Sox are in last place?

    The Sox have been in last place before without this kind of affect on ratings. Remember the Bobby Valentine season?

    >But in the next few weeks/months, the station will have to fill a big hole in its weekday schedule when Rush Limbaugh moves to WPOP-1410.

    I believe that is only an assumption at this time. Remember when we thought 97.9 was going to get the UCONN contract because of the call letters WUCS? Same thing here, only an assumption.

    >3. Is it because they’re airing a 4 hour Sports-Talk show – Joe D & Gresh in PM Drive?

    I am guessing this is the problem because of this major change from political talk in afternoon drive. Obviously the station is still feeling the affect of the John Rowland scandal. With the Hartford primary today for the incumbent mayor facing challengers, this would have been a good time to have political talk in the afternoon. Regarding sports in PM drive, even though 97.9 does not have a great signal, that station’s PM host Rob Dibble was a major league pitcher.

    >4. Is it fall out from laying off News Director Dana Whalen?

    Even though this was bad publicity for WTIC, I think this would be minor.


    Many talk radio stations around the country are suffering from a calcifying audience and demographics aging outside any logical point for salability.

    Plus, children who grew up in the 1970s were the first to listen to the FM dial far more than the AM dial. Those growing up in the 1980s listened to the FM dial all the time, and those from 1990 onward would probably give you a blank stare if you told them about Bob Steele’s old WTIC Saturday morning show.

    That being said, the 12+ demo is a beauty contest and are as irrelevant as they get. That’s why most trade websites publish them.

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


    But in the next few weeks/months, the station will have to fill a big hole in its weekday schedule when Rush Limbaugh moves to WPOP-1410.

    If Rush does in fact move to WPOP, what if WTIC does and hour of news 12PM-1PM and then move Clark Howard to a live clearance 1PM-3PM? Right now Clark is on delay 7PM-10PM and most nights April-October he’s pre-empted for Redsox. Even the “best of” on Saturdays get pre-empted. His show is pre-empted November-March a couple times a week for UCONN. As for 7PM-10PM they can always plugs in the CBS Sports Radio Network. They’re already airing it 9PM-Midnight on Saturdays.

    Marc Bramhall


    And according to Nielson that WDRC-FM’s new classic rock station “The Whale” brought in huge numbers, thanks to the loss of oldies and classic hits stations. WDRC-FM first playing oldies back in the 1980’s when it was “Big D 103”, and it was originally owned by Buckley, the same company that owned WOR-AM at the time. By 2003, they tweaked it to a more classic hits approach than oldies do, but when Connoisseur took over last year, they added 90’s music in and then it went classic rock back in January brought an end to oldies & classic hits stations. WHCN’s “The River” did very well, thanks to the demise of the former WDRC-FM, they brought in a lot of former longtime DRC-FM listeners, and also they brought back oldies to Hartford which is WXCT and WACM which is also in Springfield, MA, they brought in some oldier listeners from the loss of WDRC-FM back in the good old days of the “Big D”.


    I would concur with the assessment that the demographics for conservative talk have finally reached the ceiling and there is little interesting programming for younger adults except for the Red Sox. The Sox staying in last place until August cost a significant number of listeners, to be sure. Sports talk in PM Drive is completely out of place. Unfortunately, if WTIC is attempting to slide the station in a sports direction, they really need to understand that WFAN holds the ENTIRE sports talk audience in Connecticut. That said, the station needs to do something appealing to younger listeners, and political talk isn’t going to do it either. I’d be very interested to see the numbers for Clark Howard. I can’t think of a more boring show. Even the crickets are asleep. Money talk is relative to a niche audience at best. Perhaps TIC would have decent luck with a full-service AC format, playing some of the Oldies that DRC got rid of with a heavy emphasis on News/Traffic?

    This is difficult to figure out, but if I were programming WTIC 1080, my first, main attempt would be to get a translator to get the station on FM. Since virtually nobody has HD radio (except me), the WTIC-FM HD2 Feed isn’t heard by anyone but air molecules. Once on FM, WTIC(AM) could almost do anything and improve its ratings.


    No Oldies on WTIC. WXCT AM 990 in Southington is doing a good job with the Oldies format albeit being piped in from West Springfield. New owner Red Wolf Broadcasting has big plans for the station. And when I mean Oldies I mean Oldies. When they came on the air back in July I heard songs I hadn’t heard on the radio in years. Their playlist is huge. I don’t know if Red Wolf is going to mess with the playlist or not. (I hope not). What other station has “New York New York” by Frank Sinatra in its playlist? They also played the full 19 minute version of “Alice’s Restaurant” on Thursday.

    Southern New England’s Oldies station is called KOOL Radio.

    WACM 1490 West Springfield
    WXCT 990 Southington/Hartford
    WSKP 1180 Hope Valley
    WBMW 106.5 HD3 Pawcatuck

    Marc Bramhall


    Bringing this back to the discussion about WTIC…

    Besides what I wrote above on 9/16, the station is missing opportunities in PM drive to discuss the continuing budget crisis.

    WTIC has always been primarily a news and information station, even during its music days. Changing to sports in PM drive is basically creating a different product.


    Maybe CBS Radio Hartford should “blow up” one of it’s analog FM stations and simulcast WTIC-1080 on it.

    It’s not as far-fetched as it seems.

    The company already simulcasts all-news stations in Chicago (WBBM) and San Francisco (KCBS) on both AM and FM, as well as all-sports WFAN in New York.


    >Maybe CBS Radio Hartford should “blow up” one of it’s analog FM stations and simulcast WTIC-1080 on it.

    Their analog FMs do too well in the ratings to blow up. WRCH, WTIC-FM and WZMX have good ratings.


    As a listener to WTIC 1080 for over 20 yrs. I am not happy with the direction of the station.The morning show with Ray and Angela is great, I would not change a thing.Jim V and Rush are what they are.I am at work can’t listen much in those hours.I love Joe D he did a great general topic show after John Roland and Pastor Will were gone.The new Joe D & Gresh show is a hard listen.Joe D alone on the original sports talk show from 6pm to 7pm was always a great listen.But my main COMPLAINT with the station is the 90 second newscasts in afternoon drive. I want the full 5 minute newscasts back, not just news headlines. WTIC does 5 plus minute newscasts on Sunday mornings. If I were the program director, I would hire Larry Rifkin of WATR for 3pm-6pm slot he is a very objective host who is fair to both sides of the isle. Wtic need to get back to basics. Keep the sports at night.

    As far as news/talk on FM. CBS radio in Las Vegas tried it for a year or so on KXNT. I guess it did not have any impact in the rating as they switched the FM back to a music format recently.

    However I wish someone would have tried news/talk on FM , and not what they have in Groton/New London.More like New Jersey 101.5 a full multi- market FM signal. 104.1 would have been perfect.Get most of the state listening from Bridgeport, Danbury ,Hartford,New Haven and Waterbury.

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