WIBC To Move To FM, Radio Now To HD

Radio Now 93.1 WNOU 1070 WIBC Indianapolis

At noon today, Emmis Broadcasting dropped the CHR format at “Radio Now 93.1” WNOU and became the first station in the country to go all Christmas through the holiday season. On January 7, 2008 the News/Talk format on 1070 WIBC will move to the 93.1 frequency with 1070 going all-sports as “ESPN 1070” while keeping its status as flagship station for the Indianapolis Colts, Indiana Pacers, the Indy Racing League, and University of Indiana Football.

“Our research shows that we can best grow and serve our audiences by splitting and extending our programming,” Tom Severino, vice president and market manager of Emmis’ Indianapolis radio properties, in a prepared statement. “WIBC is still going to have the biggest radio news team in the state and the best talk lineup.”

Chris Pickett, who had just joined WNOU as Program Director in June is returning to his former station: KVUU Colorado Springs.

The “Radio Now” CHR format will continue online and on 93.1-HD2. There’s no word on what crosstown 950 WXLW will do with the pending loss of the ESPN affiliation.

More info at WIBC: WIBC to Make Switch to FM

Instant Insight: WNOU was Emmis’ highest rated FM in the market, but a lower rated sports station will bill much higher than a young-end CHR. By moving WIBC to FM, they are admitting that Cumulus’ 93.9 WWFT is a growing threat. A puzzling move is the use of all-Christmas as a filler format as sister AC WYXB will be the most affected. The big winners should be Entercom Adult CHR WZPL, Radio-One Urban WHHH, and Radio Disney WRDZ-FM (one of the few Radio Disney affliates which not only is on the FM dial but also appears in the ratings), which should pick up most of the lost listeners from WNOU.

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