As a new era for Entercom Communications began Friday, president and CEO David Field led the charge that saw three format flips in three major markets in three hours. The eventful first day included the return of the modern rock format in New York and Dallas and a new classic hip-hop and R&B outlet in Chicago.
Starting at the top, literally, president of programming Pat Paxton announced the return of modern rock to the radio dial in the nation’s No.1 market: “In a city where alternative music is a way of life, we are thrilled to finally fill the void in radio in New York City,” he said in the first of a flurry of announcements. Mere hours after the historic merger reached the finish line, “Alt 92.3” replaced CHR “92.3 AMP Radio” WBMP New York at 10am Friday (November 17) with a commercial-free, 10,000 songs in a row launch.
The 92.3 dial position is no stranger to modern rock, as one of its previous incarnations was “92.3 K-Rock” WXRK, the longtime home of Howard Stern, who had been on the signal since the classic rock Mel Karmazin-era Infinity days.
Entercom has made it no secret that it had been doing research in the markets it was entering or bolstering its presence in. The company has talked publicly about turning around the former CBS Radio and moved swiftly on Friday to replace a trio of under-performing stations. The 92.3 signal has been CHR-formatted since 2009 but the station never made a large splash in the market. “92.3 Amp Radio” was flat at a 2.0 (6+) in Nielsen’s October survey.
The following hour, at 11am Eastern, Entercom announced another modern rock revival, this time in Dallas involving another “Amp” to “Alt” conversion. “Alt 103.7” replaced CHR-formatted “Amp 103.7” on KVIL Dallas. The market had been without an alternative radio station since last year’s demise of iHeartRadio’s long-running “Edge” KDGE, now AC as “Star 102.1.”
Paxton said Entercom is “thrilled to bring alternative back to Dallas-Ft. Worth” and “couldn’t be more excited to rewrite history” in the market. As in New York, “Alt 103.7” is ushering in the format with a commercial-free 10,000 songs in a row.
KVIL could have also been viewed by Entercom as an under-performer. The station had a 2.8 (6+) in the October PPMs.
In Chicago, Entercom is promising to “capture the essence of Chicago from back when the Bulls won six NBA championships, to when locals like Oprah and Barack Obama became homegrown heroes.” To that end it tossed classic hits “K-Hits 104.3” WJMK in favor of classic hip-hop and R&B as “The New 104.3 Jams.” Like New York and Dallas, the third major market flip in as many hours got underway with 10,000 “Jams” in a row commercial-free.
With “Chicago’s #1 for Throwbacks,” Paxton said that “the time has come to usher in a brand new chapter in Chicago radio–a station that is designed by Chicagoans exclusively for Chicago. Hip-hop and R&B always makes you feel a certain way. The memories will come back to you immediately.”
WJMK, another new property for Entercom, had been trending down, moving 2.7-2.4 (6+), Sept. to Oct., according to Nielsen.