Clear Channel Begins WOR Revamp
Update 1/3: Clear Channel has begun to put its stamp on WOR as we enter the new year with two new lineup additions.
KFI Los Angeles afternoon hosts John Kobylt & Ken Chiampou will begin airing from 9-11pm on WOR. The first hour will be a simulcast of the final hour of their KFI program, followed by an exclusive to New York hour. John & Ken are familiar to the New York market from their time hosting afternoons at “New Jersey 101.5” in the early 1990’s.
Another local addition will be Mark Simone, who will take the 10am to 12pm timeslot. Simone had been hosting a Saturday night show and filling in at Cumulus’ 770 WABC. He is a longtime fixture in New York radio also spending time at 101.9 WPIX-FM and 1130 WNEW among other stations.
WOR has also renewed with Dave Ramsey to continue airing his show from 2-4pm. But have they yet initiated the clauses to pull Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity from WABC and move them to WOR?
The WOR lineup as currently constructed consists of John Gambling 6-10am, Mark Simone 10am-12pm, Joan Hamburg from 12-2pm, Dave Ramsey from 2-4pm, fill-in hosts from 4-6pm, America Now with Andy Dean from 6-9pm, and John & Ken from 9-11pm.
Update 12/20: Clear Channel has closed on its purchase of WOR from Buckley Broadcasting.
As Clear Channel takes over a number of staffers have been told that their employment will not be continued. Those staffers will have their severance picked-up by Buckley. Among those out are former New York Governor David Patterson, who hosted afternoons from 4-6pm, the news department, and syndicated host Dr. Joy Browne. Browne’s show aired on delay on WOR from 10pm to 12am. News has been outsourced to Clear Channel’s Total Traffic Network. Salem Radio Network’s Mike Gallagher, airing from 10am-12pm, Talk Radio Network’s Jerry Doyle from 6-8pm and Cumulus Media Network’s Mike Huckabee which had been airing from 8-10pm have been cancelled as well.
The first pickup from Premiere Radio Networks appears to be America Now with Andy Dean, which is currently airing in its 6pm live clearance. All that currently remain listed on the WOR schedule are John Gambling from 5-10am, Joan Hamburg from 12-2pm, Dave Ramsey from 2-4pm, Health Talk from 12-1am, and Coast To Coast with George Noory from 1-5am.
Update 8/17: The FCC filing shows Clear Channel is paying $30 Million for WOR and its related assets.
Original Report 8/13: Clear Channel has agreed to purchase News/Talk 710 WOR New York from Buckley Broadcasting for an undisclosed price. It will begin operating the station via LMA on Wednesday, August 15 until the sale closes.
The sale gives Clear Channel its first AM in New York to pair with its five FM’s in the market.
“WOR is an iconic New York City brand with a rich history and an exciting future,” said John Hogan, Chairman and CEO of Clear Channel Media and Entertainment. “Clear Channel is excited to add WOR as a powerful, high potential complement to our New York brands. We believe WOR makes our already incredible platform even more interesting for listeners, advertisers, and strategic partners and we look forward to the tremendous potential WOR adds to Clear Channel Media and Entertainment New York.”
“For more than 23 years, Buckley Radio has been the steward of one of the most legendary radio stations in broadcasting history and I would like to sincerely thank all of the wonderful people who devoted their time, energy and efforts over the years to WOR Radio,” said Joseph Bilotta, President & CEO, Buckley Radio. “By passing the baton to Clear Channel Media and Entertainment, WOR listeners, advertisers and employees will gain access to the unparalleled resources of a worldwide, multi-dimensional media and entertainment company. We have had a great run with WOR and could not be more confident that it is poised for another great run as part of the Clear Channel Media and Entertainment team.”
INSTANT INSIGHT: WOR has struggled in recent years with the combination of low ratings and skewing old. There are two directions Clear Channel can go with the station to help revitalize it.
1) The direction most will expect to see is Clear Channel pulling some of their syndicated hosts off of Cumulus’ 770 WABC. Pulling the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity would prop up WOR at WABC’s expense while the rest of the station could be retooled.
2) The other option, but one that could be more beneficial in the long run would be rebuild the station along the lines of KFI Los Angeles. KFI has become a top 3 performer in the market with a lineup that is all local from 5am to 10pm daily outside of Rush Limbaugh. While WOR is currently local in both drive times, WABC runs all national syndication on weekdays. Getting away from a dependency on syndication and differentiating themselves as the only local talk station in the market would do wonders for WOR and give it a viable niche in New York.