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The Post  
Why Change 94.1 WYSP FM to WIP; Ultimate Demise of WYSP
  by: iradioal - Philadelphia, PA
started: 09/02/11 2:26 am | updated: 09/02/11 3:03 pm
94.1 WYSP is just one of a growing number of music FM stations that have followed AM's path to spoken word. In August, newly formed Merlin Media flipped 2 FM Alternative Rock stations 101.9 WRXP in New York and 101.1 WKQX in Chicago to All News. CBS has already changed 8 FM music stations to Sports Talk over the past 4 years, 610 WIP going to 94.1 will be #9. Right here in Philly, Greater Media turned Contemporary Hits station Now 97.5 into The Fanatic, simulcasting 950 WPEN in October 2009.

There are many reasons why radio companies have been moving some of their talk formats to FM when technically the AM bandwidth supports talk radio just fine. Partly it has to do with the rising cost of running music intensive formats due to royalties, streaming costs, and the threat of a performance royalty for broadcasters. But mostly it has to do with low ratings and underperforming and/or inconsistent results from those FM stations in their target demographics. If the stations aren't getting the right numbers then it makes it very hard to sell to advertisers. At some point the format is taking up valuable real estate on the dial and it is not worth waiting for its performance to come around. They decide to put something on the frequency that will bring the consistent, quality numbers that they know will bring in the advertisers. Right now talk formats bring decent ratings and therefore advertising dollars.

Andy Bloom, the Operations Manager of WYSP, explained on-air the reasoning behind CBS's decision, "With a relatively weak signal on AM, WIP has been able beat WMMR frequently over the last several years in the target demographic of Men 25-54. WIP is the only station able to beat WMMR in both stations' target demographic (Men 25-54) in the last 3 years. Over two thirds of people in Philadelphia don't listen to the AM band. While it's become clear, even with slow consistent grow, with this format, the 94.1 dial position is not likely to beat WMMR in near future. We think that WIP, which has beat it on a regular basis over the past couple of years...we think that with the addition of the FM signal that WIP has the more likely shot." He also talked about how after the debacle of the Free FM talk years, WYSP was making consistent increases in ratings but those were very modest and just were never enough to compete with WMMR. In July's 6+ numbers, WMMR had a 4.9 (5th overall) while WYSP only had a 2.3 (18th tied).

The main question is, why are the ratings failing on these music stations? It's hard to expect an audience to remain when you play the same 300 or so Classic Rock songs over and over and over again. It's like a death sentence for the station. Traditional radio in many markets has pushed listeners to other places to discover new music - or at least to find deeper cuts from the artists they know and love. Having a HD-2 channel with more music choices is obviously not going to do the trick, either. (How many people do you know with an HD radio, besides me?) If a station isn't willing to do something different, break open their library, play more music, engage the listeners, the audience is going to go elsewhere. Then we are going to get stuck with more simulcast AM talk on FM.

94.1 WYSP has been a Philadelphia rock institution for 40 years. It's no stranger to talk though. It was Howard Stern's first syndication success and was home to quite a few other talkers afterwards, Opie and Anthony and the Free FM years for example. Mostly though it rocked Philly for decades, and that music will be silenced. Nonetheless, it will always be "Your Station in Philadelphia", despite where ever the WYSP calls end up.

If you are looking for a place to find rock when WYSP signs off, iradiophilly has plenty of options to check out:

Eleven - Rock
Ziggy - Classic Rock
Skin - Alternative Rock
Rift - Indie Rock
Libra - Adult Alternative

WYSP "The Rock You Grew Up With" Billboard Aug. '11- 69th Street
as of Sept.1 billboard changed to "100.3 is new WRNB"

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(2) responses


 by: quadpain - Huntingdon Valley, PA | responded: 09/02 2:29 pm
WYSP will go off air and go away today at 3 pm.


 by: quadpain - Huntingdon Valley, PA | responded: 09/02 3:03 pm
94.1 WIP has now launched, and WYSP is no longer broadcasting.

WYSP ended with an hour of music with the entire staff in the studio. The last show was Spike Eskin's midday slot. The first show on WIP is Howard Eskin's afternoon drive show, which is actually his last show on WIP.

WYSP Final Hour

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