Alpha Reboots Entire Richmond Cluster

98.9 Liberty WWLB Richmond 93.1 The Wolf WLFV Richmond Hank HankFM Big Oldies 107.3 BBT Alpha MediaUpdate 10/20: Alpha Media has completed its revamp of its entire Richmond cluster.

As previously expected, Country “93.1 The Wolf” WLFV moved its programming to 98.9 WWLB (replacing Variety Hits “98.9 Liberty“) and 100.3 WARV-FM Petersburg (replacing the simulcast of sister Classic Hits “Big Oldies 107.3” WBBT).

Replacing “The Wolf” on 93.1 WLFV is Classic Country “93.1 Hank-FM“. With the demise of the Variety Hits “Liberty” format, Classic Hits “Big Oldies 107.3” WBBT has relaunched as “107.3 BBT” with an increased 1980’s presence in its playlist.

Alpha Media, owners of radio stations WLFV 93.1 the Wolf, Big Oldies 107.3, and Liberty 98.9 announced some format
and frequency changes, effective Monday, October 20th.

The Wolf, which plays contemporary country music, will shift to 98.9 FM, and will also be simulcast on 100.3 FM to reach the tri-cities area. Station Manager Paul Johnson said, “We’ve heard from many of our listeners that The Wolf is their favorite station, but there are so many places where they can’t pick it up. We’ve solved that by putting it on the more powerful frequency and adding the southern signal”.

To replace it on 93.1, Alpha is introducing a new station, “Hank, The Legends of Country”. Johnson said, “There are so many great country songs that you don’t hear on the radio anymore. Hank is the answer. It will feature superstars like Alabama, Garth Brooks, George Strait, and Reba McEntire, will dip into true classic country, and feature the early hits of some of today’s biggest country stars such as Toby Keith, Tim McGraw, and Alan Jackson.”

“Between these two stations,” Johnson continued, “Country music fans in Richmond now have distinct choices”.

To accommodate the change, the group is merging its Liberty, “We Play Anything” station with Big Oldies to form a superstation playing “Richmond’s Greatest Hits”. Johnson said, “This station will offer the variety that Liberty fans have come to love with the greatest hits of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. It’s one of those rare stations that a husband and wife can both agree on.” The station will be heard on 107.3.

Alpha Media Executive VP of Programming, Scott Mahalick commented on the changes, “In order to increase our competitive edge in the Richmond market, we needed to turn up the heat and shake things up. Not only will these improvements provide a more contemporary opportunity for revenue, they will give our listeners what they’ve been asking for.”

93.1 Hank Fm is a Legends based country station custom programmed for Richmond, VA. Hank Fm is a licensed service mark thru Envision Networks.

Update 10/15: As Alpha Media has been busy with format changes this week in Dayton and Louisville, it is about to do the same in Richmond.

Country “93.1 The Wolf” WLFV Ettrick is definitely headed to 98.9 WWLB Midlothian where it will replace Variety Hits “98.9 Liberty“. Alpha has added 989Wolf.com to the domains registered last month and has already changed the URL of the station’s Facebook and Twitter accounts to @989Wolf.

What will replace The Wolf at 93.1? When 1015HankFM.com was registered for use in Dayton, it was accompanied by 931HankFM.com. A New Country/Classic Country combo would allow Alpha to attack Summit Media’s “K95” 95.3 WKHK from both demographic sides.

Original Report 9/12: Alpha Media is preparing to double up on its Country offerings in Richmond, VA.

Domain registrations have been made for 989NewCountry.com, 989TheBull.com, 989TheBullRichmond.com, 989TheWolf.com, 99NewCountry.com, NewCountry989.com, and TheBull989.com for what is currently Variety Hits “98.9 Liberty” WWLB Midlothian. While most of the domains point to a Bull branding, one utilizes the Wolf branding currently used at sister “93.1 The Wolf” WLFV Ettrick. WLFV, however, does not put a city-grade signal into Richmond itself as it serves the southern portions of the market (Coverage Map). WWLB will add coverage of Richmond and its northern suburbs (Coverage Map).

WWLB held a 2.4 share of the Richmond audience in the Spring 2014 Phase 2 Nielsen Audio ratings trends. WLFV was at a 1.7 share in the same period. Intended competitor, Summit Media’s “K95” 95.3 WKHK was second in the market with a 10.0 share.

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Lance Venta is the Owner and Publisher of RadioInsight.com and a consultant for RadioBB Networks specializing in integration of radio and the internet. Lance has two decades of experience tracking the audio industry and its use of digital platforms.

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