KESZ Squats On Breeze Branding For Phoenix
As the turf war rapidly intensifies over Soft AC, one of the most dominant Adult Contemporary stations in the country is seeking to protect its turf from a potential “Breeze” blowing in.
As we first indicated as a possibility in yesterday’s Domain Insight, iHeartMedia has placed the Breeze branding on 99.9 KESZ-HD2 Phoenix. That HD subchannel normally runs Christmas Music the ten months out of the year that it is not on its parent signal before taking the usual AC format for November and December. It did that until yesterday when it segued to Soft AC and “99.9 The Breeze” branding.
By claiming the first use in a state, iHeart can now prevent another operator from using the Breeze name in Arizona. This is a strategy that iHeart has used in the recent past to force Entercom to rebrand 101.9 WQMP Orlando from “Alt 101.9” to “FM 101.9” soon after its launch last year due to their usage of “Alt 101.1” on WJRR-HD3.
The Phoenix market with its big retirement population could be one of the markets ripe for a Soft AC launch. Riviera Broadcast Group rimshot/translator pair “95.1/94.9 The Oasis” KOAI Sun City West/K235CB Chandler launched with the format in 2014 but gradually evolved to AC and then Classic Hits.