Skip to comments.ESPN-New York moves to 98.7, bumping urban AC "Kiss" (4/30)
Posted on 04/26/2012 7:33:50 AM PDT by raccoonradio
Complicated story involving Emmis, ESPN and the company that is taking over urban WBLS (107.5) and WLIB (1190). First, Emmis will LMA (Limited Marketing Agreement) its WRKS/98.7 to ESPN. 98.7 becomes the new home of the English-language ESPN Radio franchise in the Big Apple.
Until September, ESPN will simulcast its New York-market WEPN (1050) on 98.7. This Fall, 1050 becomes the new home of Spanish language "ESPN Deportes."
As for urban AC "Kiss", Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan says "recent changes in the way radio ratings are measured" - meaning the Arbitron PPM - "made it very difficult for us to find success with Kiss FM." He says "we hope the best parts of Kiss will live on." That leads to an intellectual property deal that likely moves the "Kiss" identity to 107.5 - WBLS. The new YMF Media is taking over WBLS and WLIB from Inner City in a Chapter 11 transaction. Smulyan thanks the employees at "Kiss" WRKS, and this weekend, the station will celebrate "30 years of Kiss FM", since Emmis bought the station in 1994. The new ESPN New York 98.7 debuts Monday, April 30.
>>Beginning at 12:01 a.m. on April 30, 2012, ESPN Radio New York (1050 AM) will be heard on 98.7 FM as a result of an agreement between ESPN Audio and 98.7s owner, Emmis Communications. ESPN New York 98.7 is New Yorks first 24/7 sports talk station on the FM band.
>>For now, 98.7 FM and 1050 AM will simulcast content but plans are to turn 1050 AM into an ESPN Deportes New York Radio owned operation in conjunction with Hispanic Heritage month (Sept. 15 Oct. 15). The addition of 98.7 FM in metropolitan New York reinforces ESPN Audios strategy to pursue FM distribution for its content. Of ESPNs 364 full-time affiliates, 137 are positioned on the FM band, representing a growth rate of 120% in the last two and a half years. FM stations make up 30% of ESPNs total affiliate base (not all are full-time).
>>Opportunities like this dont come along too often and its tremendous that we were able to conclude a deal that will enhance our mission of serving sports fans in not just English but Spanish as well, said Traug Keller, ESPN Senior Vice President/Production, Business Divisions. Come Fall, Spanish-speaking New Yorkers will have their first 24/7 sports talk radio station.
>>ESPN New York launched 11 years ago and will now feature a local weekday line-up that will remain mostly unchanged with Maxed Out in the Morning with Jared Max (4-6 a.m. ET), Mike Lupica (Noon-1 p.m.), Stephen A. Smith and Ryan Ruocco (1-3 p.m.) and The Michael Kay Show (3-7 p.m.). Patrick McEnroe will also have a Saturday show on the station from 10 a.m. to Noon, beginning May 5. The Stephen A. Smith and Ryan Ruocco Show is a new offering and capitalizes on Stephen A.s widespread popularity on ESPN New York platforms and as a regular opposite Skip Bayless on ESPNs First Take (ESPN2, weekdays, 10 a.m.)
National shows, Mike & Mike in the Morning (6-10 a.m.) and The Herd with Colin Cowherd (10 a.m.-Noon), remain on ESPN New York and both continue to see increased listenership and penetration in the market. Februarys ratings indicate ESPN New York has had five straight months with at least a 3.0 share, good for 12th place in the market with a 3.1, up 35% year to year.
This move to the FM dial is in keeping with the industry trend of sports radio shifting (from AM) and offers an even broader reach for our content, said Dave Roberts, ESPN Radio New York Vice President and General Manager. By combining the FM reach with our wide variety of digital offerings from ESPN Audio, we are uniquely positioned to provide coverage of all of New Yorks sports.
ESPN Radio New York confirmed their move to the FM Dial on Thursday morning.
The station sent out a press release that detailed the switch from 1050 AM to 98.7 FM that will take place this Monday at 12:01 a.m. The Post first reported that a move to FM was imminent in Wednesday’s editions.
The station will still be simulcast on 1050 AM until it changes over to a full-time ESPN Deportes radio channel in conjuction with Hispanic Heritage month (Sept. 15-Oct. 15). The move to FM will also signal a change in the station’s daily coverage with Stephen A. Smith joining Ryan Ruocco in the 1-3 p.m. slot. Ruocco currently airs from Noon-2 p.m. weekdays with Robin Lundberg. Patrick McEnroe has has also been hired to a Saturday 10 a.m.-Noon.
The Post reported Wednesday that the move was done in part to give ESPN the opportunity to bid on the Yankees radio rights with the Mets as a backup plan. The radio contracts for both New York teams are up after this season. The Yankees are currently broadcast on WCBS 880 AM and the Mets are on WFAN 660 AM.
There have also been some talk radio shifts from AM to FM stations, or simulcasting talk radio programs on both AM and FM.
The radio business continues to change. A number of stations also simulcast on the internet.
Yes. In Boston Entercom’s WEEI 850 has had sports for years (Red Sox, Celtics). In 2009 rival CBS announced they would debut “98.5 the Sports Hub” including Bruins and Patriots games. This was done weeks in advance of the flip and Entercom could have scooped them but didn’t. Soon Sports Hub was beating WEEI in the ratings. WEEI had a sister station
WMKK 93.7 which had no DJs and “we play everything” pop. It was doing fairly well. But by mid 2009 it was clear WEEI
had to do something, so they simulcast WEEI on 93.7 starting last September.
They keep the same thing on the AM side but when they go on air they identify as “93.7”. (In terms of news, talk,
and sports on FM—”no static at all” as Steely Dan once sang. Signals that don’t fade at sunset (some can be picked up in far distances though). No interference from high tension wires. Better penetration into buildings.
I work a post office job at night. Last night I was able to
hear Bruins playoff and Red Sox game just fine at night,
on FM. Add to this the fact that many people don’t bother to visit the AM dial, especially the young, and some have mp3 players with radios—that have FM only. (Carrying AM
would require an antenna and other things that would not
And not just simulcasting on the Net, of course—there
are phone apps like IHeartRadio
There is now speculation that CBS (owner of the Fan 660)
might start to simulcast it on 92.3
Tweet by radioinsight.com:
>>This ESPN move to 98.7 could force CBS’ hand with WFAN by the fall. The Jets, Knicks, and Rangers now have an FM flagship....In order to appease the Giants and retain either the Mets or Yankees when their deal ends this season they may need to offer an even field.
A post on the NYC Radio Messageboard says:
>>”Thus begins the inevitable migration of the Spoken Word to FM in Market One. With this involving Kiss and not Family Radio, its a strongest sign to date in NYC that the future of FM is talk. Learn from history...mass appeal music formats died because people refused to sit through “other people’s music.” Nowadays...anything other than what you yourself downloaded to your I-Pod, I-Pad, or I-Phone is “other people’s music.”
Ten years ago the argument here was that no one under 35 listened to AM...ask around...see if many people under 35 even listen to FM now.
The avalanche has begun....
I remember when BLS started. The call letters were taken to mean Black Liberation Station.
You’d normally wonder why the suits at ESPN would trade a 50Kwatt AM signal for a line of sight FM signal. But 1050 has a lousy dial location. It is not clear channel and it’s stuck between two 50K stations that are, 1090 WBAL from Baltimore and 1030 WBZ from Boston. Throw in KYW 1060 from Philly and 1080 from Hartford, and i think there’s a Nova Scotia station at 1070, and nighttime listening at 1050 is cacaphonous.
Now wait a minute on that one. Ten years ago, I was only ...
Name checked in U2’s Angel of Harlem, about Billie Holliday
“Snow was melting on the ground/ On ‘BLS I heard the sound...of an angel.”