Monday, October 23, 2006

The FM Talk Watch Finally Hits Ohio

Regular OMW readers know that we've kept an eye on a growing trend - talk radio stations moving to, or starting up, on the FM dial. Ohio has not had one of these stations...but it looks like that's about to change.

Cumulus Media in Cincinnati is apparently close to putting a talk format on the 96.5 signal being abandoned by country WYGY "The Star", which is moving to the former home of the "Mojo" format on 94.9.

How close?

So close that Talk Radio Network apparently couldn't hold it in, and announced the upcoming Cincinnati FM talk station as one of three new affiliates for Erich "Mancow" Muller, the Chicago-based syndicated FM morning host.

Trade website AllAccess reports that despite the presence of the Cow's hot talk morning drive show, the rest of the future 96.5 FM talk lineup in the Queen City is expected to feature more traditional talkers...such as Westwood One's Bill O'Reilly, and two Nashville-based syndicated talkers - afternoon driver Phil Valentine, and money advice guy Dave Ramsey.

In effect, aside from Mancow (who does political talk regularly on FOX News Channel), the lineup looks a lot like Cumulus' standard FM talk lineup. That format is featured on Cumulus stations like WWTN/Nashville, which just so happens to be the home base for both Valentine and Ramsey. Though Cumulus does not syndicate either show, it runs them on a number of its FM talk stations...particularly in the southeast.

Our take: This could show what kind of strength the FM signal brings to the format.

Cincinnati is a very, very crowded talk radio market, with most of it served up by Clear Channel. That company runs four talk stations of various sorts, from full-time local talk (WLW) to mainly syndicated conservative talk (WKRC) to mainly syndicated liberal talk (WSAI) to sports talk (WCKY).

Is there room for another talk radio player in the Cincinnati market, particularly with a lineup that may not really be the strongest talk lineup in the area...even considering stations only running syndication?

We noted the presence of the WCKY sports format in our list of Clear Channel talk outlets for good reason. One other thing Cumulus tends to do with its FM talk stations in the southeast - it adds a decent sports presence, with the station usually running an evening local sports talk show.

They've moved away from that on the company's original large market FM talk station, the aforementioned WWTN/Nashville, but only because Cumulus started an FM sports talk station in the same market.

This could be a very good test to see how a relatively weak FM talk lineup does in a market dominated by another company's AM talk stations...


Mike Young said...

While I'm a regular reader of OMW,and the TALK RADIO WATCH ON FM IN OHIO,HAS FINALLY HIT IN THE QUEEN CITY. Mancow's program,followed by other syndicated talk,The Queen City is playing catch-up and soon I suppose some Cleveland FM outlet will too. Let's not forget that Northeast Ohio has had a FM Talk station with local talk for close to 30 years with the syndicated talk left for the overnight 3rd shifters and that station is 100.1 THE TALK OF AKRON WNIR.

Anonymous said...

Mike, you make a good point, but it's a little different in Akron. WNIR is an AM talk station that happenes to be on FM. The Format for FM talk is much different than what WNIR shoves out their transmitter. If WNIR was a true FM talker they would own 25-54 demos, which they do not. They are usually the 8th 9th ot 10th choice in that demo, behind Cleveland music stations and cleveland talk stations. WNIR has always been and continues to be 65+.

Anonymous said...

Going to be interesting to see how Mancow does in Cincy, since he just lost his L-A affliate. Ramsey's name is well known in conservative circles, so he'll pull some numbers..

Anonymous said...

Let's see WNIR ranks always in the top 3 in Akron,now if your statement about the demo's are true,it's very interesting let's put WNIR up against WTAM. Wills/Coleman vs Stan Piatt/Co. The choice W/C for some of the national newsmakers and to Bitch about our local sports team. But for fun and games then Piatt. Next Bob Franz vs Howie Chizek. Both men equally liberal in the views but the edge goes to Chizek. Rush Limbaugh vs Howie Chizek DEAD EVEN LIBERALS AND CONSERVATIVES. Triv vs Bob Golic no contest TRIV over the NO-TALENTED GOLIC. Sportstalk 1100 vs Tom Erickson,Sports wins handsdown. So Anonymous are you still gonna stick with the statement that WNIR ranks 8th,9th or 10th.

VODood said...

I carry Ramsey on Cumulus' 500 watt daytimer WTOD/Toledo. We're licensed for 5000...but have a ground leak, hence the low power. New tower site approved in Perrysburg OH (Toledo sub). Just waiting for approval on sister sports/talk WLQR/1470 The Ticket.

Ramsey does well, even on WTOD's low power.

For FM talk...I'd put Don & Mike in PM drive. Not Ramsey. Nights maybe Ramsey 7pm-11pm, then Loveline.

Anonymous said...

Never let the facts stand in the way of a good post. ;-)

Anonymous was close to correct.
WNIR is strong in 25-54 in really only one daypart, Howie.

Without giving specific numbers, Persons 25-54 WNIR was

AM Drive 7th. Beaten by (in no special order) WXRK, WKDD, WONE, WMJI, WQMX, WZAK. (rover?!?!)

Middays #1

PM Drive #8 Beaten by (Also in no special order)WTAM, WQMX, WONE, WKDD, WMJI, WMMS. (WMMS?!?!)

Nights 7pm-Midnight #5 beaten by in no special order)WAKS, WTAM, WZAK, WQMX.

Anonymous said...

If Howie Chizek is a liberal then my grandma is the Pope. Howie is not a liberal.

I agree that WNIR is an AM station on the FM. But you know they are doing it right. They get good numbers and they are the top billing Akron station. Go figure.

You want to compare WTAM to WNIR? WNIR has more competition because you factor in the 6 Akron stations plus the 16 or so Cleveland stations. In Cleveland the 6 Akron stations make virtually no impact.

Yet WTAM is ranked 10th 25-54 in AM drive while, with more competition, WNIR is ranked 7th in AM drive.

Did you check the midday numbers on WTAM? Something like 12th in the market 25-54. WNIR, again with more competition, is ranked #1.

Triv is still getting good numbers, but he is down year to year. Even the Tribe was down.

For WTAM having no competition rather then WHK politically (and a pretty much non-player) and a lame-ass sports station with WKNR, they should be plowing through some larger ratings.

Anonymous said...

How do you know that WNIR is the top biller? There is no Miller-Kaplan in the market.

WNIR claims to be the top biller.

WQMX claims to the the top biller.

WKDD claims to be the top biller.

Liar, Liar, somebodys pants are on fire.