1580 WNEW Washington To Cover Government/Business News

1580 Big Talker WNEW WHFS Washington 1500 WFED Governement Federal NewsUpdate 9/11: It took awhile for this one to come to fruition, but CBS will flip “1580 The Big Talker” WNEW to “1580 Gov.Biz Radio” on October 1.

The new lineup at the station will feature Business programming from Bloomberg, Wall Street Journal, and other syndicated sources as well as locally originated programming. The station’s new lineup is as follows:

5-7am: Bloomberg’s First Word with Ken Prewitt
7-10am: The Daily Briefing with Nancy Lyons. A local show focusing on the government sector.
10am-12pm: On The Economy with Carol Massar and Michael McKee
12-1230pm: The Capitol Hill Report with Nancy Lyons
1230-4pm: Bloomberg’s The Hays Advantage with Kathleen Hays
4pm-6pm: Clark Howard
6pm-7pm: The Wall Street Journal’s Daily Wrap with Michael Castner

Original Report 2/13: Just a month after CBS debuted News 99.1 WNEW-FM Washington, DC to compete with Hubbard’s 103.5 WTOP, the company is poised to take on Hubbard’s niche “Federal News Radio” 1500 WFED.

1580 The Big Talker” WNEW will soon become “1580 GOV” as the company has registered 1580GOV.com and 1580GOV.biz for the station.

INSTANT INSIGHT: WFED does not generate high ratings with its Government News programming, but does bill well with government contractors. CBS’ combo of 1580 and 99.1 can be sold to advertisers as a more affordable option to Hubbard’s WTOP and WFED. With WTOP being the #1 billing station in the country last year, there should be enough money to go around especially in an election year like this.

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  1. MattParker says

    This is CBS’ dumbest – most hubris fueled – move since they decided to make WCAU all news up against Group W’s KYW in Philly. If anything, WTOP is even more strongly established as DC’s all news station today than KYW was in Philly back then. On top of that, why annoy a major affiliate (and group owner)?

    1. Lance Venta says

      WTOP being an affiliate of CBS’ network news and CBS running a competing All-News station have nothing to do with one another.

      WTOP is the top rated station in DC and #1 billing station in the country. Wouldn’t you want to compete head to head with the market leader if you had the resources to do so?

      1. MattParker says

        WTOP has been more than an affiliate, they’ve been an ally of CBS. WTOP and CBS; Washington Bureau have cooperated in coverage of happenings in DC and the network has often taken extended coverage from WTOP on the network’s secondary satellite channels. That’s likely to change now that the too are competitors.

        CBS’ clone of federal news radio suggests once again CBS is egotistical to try to beat ‘TOP at its own game. Similar format. Same TOH network news. Same debriefs with the same correspondents. And now the same federal news. Is CBS’ betting that ‘TOP is turning away advertisers who will flock to them just to get on the air? CBS is putting themselves in the position of the “other” Yellow Pages directory.

        If there is some way ‘TOP is vulnerable or some niche they are not filling, this might make sense. When Newsradio88 went on against 1010WINS they had a much better signal in the ‘burbs. They clearly targeted suburban listeners and adopted a format intended to appeal to more upscale suburban listeners. Even today under common ownership, those differences persist. I don’t think CBS has much of chance in DC doing “more of the same.”

        WETA tried pretty much the same thing in their attempt to rip-off and then beat WAMU in the DC public radio news arena. That didn’t work either.

        1. Nathan Obral (@myronfalwell) says

          Look at WNEW/1580’s signal. The signal is probably one of the worst in the market (even for a 50kW-D signal) and has been run as a total afterthought for decades – mostly as a simulcast of WPGC/95.5. They weren’t and aren’t making real money with it, and as government jobs are VERY plentiful in a market like DC, well, you go where the money is.

          WNEW-FM is technically an affiliate of ABC News Radio, but the TOH newscasts (obviously) don’t air. WNEW-FM is taking more of the legacy Group W all-news format than the standard CBS all-news format. Plus it’s been no secret that CBS was interested in reacquiring WTOP from Bonneville for years (it was a network O&O during the 1930s and 1940s).

          WTOP is still a CBS affiliate until 2013, but that is also mostly due to an outside provider (Dial-Global) handling CBS Radio’s distribution than anything else. In fact, because of Dial-Global’s role, that doesn’t make it automatic that WNEW will become the market’s CBS affiliate anytime soon.

  2. Laurence Glavin says

    It’s my impression that in some cases, ever since the Telecommunication Act of 1996 allowed conglomerates to own multiple stations in any given market, some operators cede the market for one format as long as another conglomerate stays off THEIR turf. Now that times are tougher, a few of them may be going after one another. In Boston, CBS challenged Entercomm’s all-sports station. But no commercial broadcaster here is willing to take on their all-news (sort of) WBZ-AM. And they’ve left the soporic, snooze-inducing soft AC WMJX harmless while going after the oldies/classic rock audience with WZLX-FM. The REAL competition on FM in Boston was between pubcasters WBUR and WGBH-FM, similar to WETA-FM’s attempt to rival WAMU. WETA retired from the field, but WGBH is still out there trying to eat into WBUR’s audience (as of this morning!).

  3. Steve West says


    You know, it does seem a no-brainer for someone, anyone to go up against WBZ. However, its doubtful that any of the current owners in Boston have the news background or resources to take WBZ down. BZ may look like a target but it’s a formidable presence. In fact, there are few cities that have an AM station as successful and prominent as Boston has with WBZ. Still, the hole in the news format created by WBZ’s evening and overnight talk shows should be enticing. You gotta remember, though, there have been contenders, all of whom were unable to unseat WBZ as the news leader. But, it’s an interesting topic nonetheless.

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