What’s The Deal With 97.3 Birmingham Y’All?

Hula Y'all Yall 97.3 The Zone WZNN Birmingham Paul Finebaum Sports ESPN Radio 1320 107.3 WENN

Update 7/5 4:40pm: The launch late last night of Variety Hits “Y’all 97.3” was publicized to be the end of the stunting and official launch of the new format. The end result? Not so much.

WZNN is still in stunt mode with “Y’all” just the next phase in the process. The music is looping every couple hours with mostly cold segues from broad extremes. So if you want to hear how Jerry Lee Lewis sounds next to Naughty By Nature on air with no imaging now is your chance.

Where does 97.3 end up? About twenty domains were registered by Summit Media VP/Digital Kori White on July 1. These are: 973Lite.com (and .info), 973Mix.com, Easy973.com (and .info, .net, and .org), Jewel973.com, Lite973.info (and .org), Oldies973.com (and .info, .net, and .org), OldSchool973.com, OldSkool973.com, Relax973.com (and .info), Rock973.info, TheDove973.com, and the aforementioned Yall973.com.

In the Birmingham News article hyping “Y’all 97.3” as the permanent format, a couple of quotes made by Summit COO David Dubose may come back to haunt him.

“That’s the beauty of it – no disc jockeys, just the music,”

Why would you go on the record proudly bragging about something that eliminated jobs when it may very well not be the actual end result? The article also bragged about the station being interactive with song requests made through the station website. When the station doesn’t have a site and may never actually have one since the format isn’t permanent we have yet another radio industry executive going on the record lying to the audience and potential advertisers. Baffling.

Update 7/5 2:00am: WZNN flipped to Variety Hits “Y’All 97.3” at 12:45am.

The station will run jockless permanently with what the Birmingham News describes as “massive library of as many as 1,000 songs that span several decades and many musical genres – from classic rock to ’80s pop, reggae to metal.”

The station’s first eight songs were Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama”, Outkast “Hey Ya”, Elvis “Hound Dog”, Metallica “Enter Sandman”, Billy Ocean “Carribean Queen”, Johnny Cash “Ring Of Fire”, Fresh Prince/DJ Jazzy Jeff “Parents Just Don’t Understand”, and Goo Goo Dolls “Iris”.

Update 7/2: Summit Media COO David Dubose tells the Birmingham News the timeline for the launch of a new format for 97.3 WZNN.

The Hawaiian music will run until July 4 when it will be replaced by a day of patriotic songs. The new format will then launch at 12am on July 5.

Update 6/28: WZNN began stunting this afternoon with Hawaiian Music as “97.3 Hula-FM“.

Original Report 6/25: A format change is imminent at Summit Media Sports “97.3 The Zone” WZNN Birmingham.

Summit’s Chief Operating Officer David Dubose told AL.com, “We have been evaluating the sports format in light of multiple factors, including Finebaum’s placement. After nearly two years, it became clear the market did not support two competing sports stations. Therefore, we have determined we should focus on other format opportunities.” The station will reportedly end its Sports programming on Friday.

The Finebaum in question would be Paul Finebaum, who departed Cumulus’ 94.5 WJOX in January following a long legal battle in an attempt to join the then Cox owned WZNN. Finebaum ended up joining ESPN for a new regionally syndicated radio show that will begin later this year. AL.com states that Finebaum’s new show will now likely be picked up by Cumulus to air on WJOX. The Zone’s launch coincided with the attempt of getting Finebaum to jump from WJOX.

WZNN currently airs local programming from 6am to 6pm daily and ESPN Radio at other times. The national ESPN feed also airs around the clock in Birmingham on sister 1320 WENN/107.3 W297BF.

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