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News Archive: July 2007

July 8, 2007
While on vacation in Florida this past week, I received multiple e-mails concerning the rumored switch of WCBS-FM in New York City. It's a done deal according to NewYorkBusiness.com, which reports that the switch will happen sometime this upcoming week. The major newspapers in New York City have jumped on the rumor, and it made the AP wire yesterday.

Remember that putting Jack FM on New York City's 101.1 FM signal was one of the changes instituted by now-former CBS Radio Chairman and CEO Joel Hollander, who exited the company earlier this year. It caused more of an uproar than all other Variety Hits format flips combined, to the point where even New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg spoke out against the change.

Ratings (and, more importantly, revenue) have been cited as the motivation behind the rumored move, though Jack has (according to my sources) slowly moved up the rankings in the all-important P25-54 demo (that's adults 25-54 years old), cracking the Top 10 in the Winter '07 book. I haven't seen the exact numbers for myself, since Arbitron understandably protects that information (which it sells to radio stations to use for setting ad rates), but the format has been trending up slowly but surely since its Summer 2005 debut.

In radio as in life, often times where there's smoke, there's fire. I don't have any inside sources at CBS Radio, but it would not in the least bit surprise me to see WCBS-FM return using a "Greatest Hits of All Time" positioning statement and playing more 1970s/80s cuts, a la what sister CBS Radio station WRBQ-FM in Tampa, FL did in 2005.

For what it's worth, Jack FM in New York is promoting a concert on July 22 (with ZZ Top headlining); it will be interesting to see how that situation will be handled.

Unlike the dismantling of the Free FM format in many major markets by CBS Radio, I wouldn't necessarily see this as a wholesale move by CBS Radio away from Jack FM. New York City is a unique market for many reasons, and if the new management at CBS Radio thinks that Oldies would be a better product than Variety Hits on the 101.1 signal, then I imagine that's what will happen. It's a business, after all.

All Access reports that WSLY in Meridian, MS has inked Jon Carter for voiceover work.

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Steel City Media is launching two HD side-channels on WRRK/Pittsburgh (96.9 Bob FM); the "Bob HD2" channel will be known as "Bob's B-Sides", featuring a playlist of B-sides and lesser-known tracks from established artists. The "Bob HD3" channel will feature unsigned/local bands.


July 9, 2007
CBS Radio has issued a press release confirming that 101.1 Jack FM, WCBS-FM/New York, NY, is dropping the Jack FM Variety Hits format as of Thursday (7/12/2007) at 1:01 p.m. to return as "CBS-FM", using (as predicted in this space yesterday) the positioning statement of "The Greatest Hits Of All Time" rather than any references to the nearly taboo word Oldies. It appears that the playlist will be tweaked to include more 70s/80s acts, as the press release referenced Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen, and Rod Stewart as being part of the musical format there.

MORE: All Access reports that Jack FM in New York City won't be going away entirely, instead being shifted to the WCBS-FM HD2 channel (where the old "CBS-FM" format has been located since Jack FM debuted in NYC.) This would be the second Variety Hits station in the country (George FM in Washington, DC was the first) to shift from the traditional FM band to an HD side-channel.

100000watts.com reports that KLVT-FM in the Lubbock, TX market has flipped from country (using ABC's Real Country satellite feed) to Variety Hits as 105.3 Jack FM.


July 16, 2007
The satellite-fed SAM Variety Hits format is on in Poplar Bluff, MO, with 96.7 KAHR flipping from Hot AC as Kool 96.7 to Variety Hits as SAM 96.7 on 5/1/2007, according to 100000watts.com.


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