Friday, December 22, 2006

Bull or No Bull?

With apologies to Howie Mandel of NBC game show fame...

After our last item, we're continuing to get mixed signals about the future of Clear Channel's new 101.7 move-in to the Canton market.

And to balance our last item, we'll also pass along some interesting Internet sleuthing done by some of our readers...many of whom believe that the "101.7 The Bull" website uncovered here yesterday is an act of slight of hand by those at the World Domination HQ/Southern Command on Freedom Avenue.

LITE?: A reader points out that there's yet another domain name that would presumably be attached to the 101.7 move in, that's redirecting to WKDD's website.

Like "kisscanton.com", "lite1017.com" deposits you at the online home for Clear Channel's 98.1 hot AC outlet.

STAR?: Another reader also points out that what would presumably be the website "staging area" for the station which will take the WHOF calls - "whof-fm.clearchannel.com" - is currently - unlike the "1017thebull.com" site - password protected.

This is significant, as an open Clear Channel-run site for Cumulus rock WRQK/106.9 Canton was under the "wrqk-fm.clearchannel.com" domain...as we reported earlier. (And yes, we believe that sometime within our lifetime, Clear Channel will eventually purchase that station. Honest.)

But look at what happens when you try to access the password protected site presumably linked with WHOF, and aren't successful:

Apache/1.3.37 Server at www.star1017fm.com Port 80

Long-time OMW readers note that we found the original Clear Channel country "Bull" in Northeast Ohio this way, via the website error message for a site that eventually became the online home of WYBL/98.3 in Ashtabula.

Going to the "Star FM" site listed above gives the same password prompt and error message.

Clear Channel, of course, operates AC format WREO/97.1 Ashtabula under the "Star" banner, and has other "Star" AC stations elsewhere in the country.

AND IN CONCLUSION: Only one thing appears to be clear at this point...someone at Freedom Avenue is trying to put a lot of balls in the air to confuse everyone...including your Mighty Blog of Fun(tm), apparently.

We're getting word from anonymous, unidentified sources about an 11 AM staff meeting where the "Bull" country format was supposedly unveiled to staff and clients, complete with country music.

But right now? We don't believe anything. At this point, we wouldn't be surprised to see "Rumba 101.7", or female-targetted rhythmic AC with Whoopi Goldberg, even. OK, maybe we'd be a little surprised to see it flip to a Spanish-language format.

If you want to sort out all the rumors, the other "non-country" rumblings we've heard in the past few weeks include 101.7 mounting an AC format to combat crosstown WHBC-FM/94.1 - which is rumored to be tweaking its own format - and even rhythmic CHR (!!!), which would presumably fit under the "Kiss Canton" service mark.

Believe nothing you read on this...that's our current motto.

This is an Internet misinformation campaign the likes of which we have never seen in our long time in the business. The only TRUE answer may come out of your radio at 101.7 FM round about December 27th.

We're not betting against "The Bull" right now...but we'd also be cautious betting FOR it....

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

Lots of possibilities with the 101.7 frequency, but I ould put country way down the list. You already have two strong players in the format, even though from out of town (WQXK and WQMX), plus a couple more rim-shots in WOGH, WOVK, WTUZ, and WQKT that all cover parts of the market. That's a pretty crowded field, even for a "hometown" outlet. IMHO the most likely scenario is some brand of AC. Right now you have WHBC which is all over the road and billing out the wazoo. Since WKDD is alreay taking the "hot" position, the most likely would be a soft AC. That way, CC could squeeze the demos from each side.

I would not rule out, however, some sort of oldies/classic hits format.

74WIXYGrad said...

How about Polka 101.7:)

Wolfman said...

I don't really care one way or another waht the format will be. I'm pretty much a talk guy and spend time listening to WTAM, WHLO and WNIR.

BUT....

This is all very entertaining. If they are as successful getting the listeners in Stark County excited as they are with us radio geeks, it will be interesting in Canton.

On a side note: I've read keith kennedy is fond of radio past. That explains the WHOF call letters. If they use a name, Bull, Star, Mix, Kiss, etc. I doubt we'll hear the call letters much, but they belong in Canton, the hall of fame city.

Anonymous said...

HAHAHA

O my.

Good job, deedub.

Alan and Welty would be proud.

I know I am.

Oustanding execution.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't be so sure about a resolution on the 27th. It was on the WJER news this morning that "all next week, a message will be playing on the 101.7 frequency directing listeners to the AM1450 station." This would indicate that there will be a transition time for the new station. They'll probably be using the old tower in Strasburg to broadcast the forwarding message, until after the first of the year.

Anonymous said...

Hey everyone, the www.thebull1017.com website has suddenly gone password protected. Adds another puff to the smokescreen maybe?

Anonymous said...

Also interesting, www.1017thebull.com is a CC "better country" station from Iowa. Boy, these guys are sure original, aren't they?

VODood said...

CC DID buy WRQK from Cumulus. Part of the CC Battle Creek and Ann Arbor spinoff deal to Cumulus.

Anonymous said...

As discussed eariler, The Bull Appears to be their new country brand. Anybody recall 'Buckeye Country"?

It's like Mix, Kiss, Etc.

Nothing wrong with a brand. I can get the same McDonalds Hamburger in Iowa as in Georgia.

Anonymous said...

cc's canton GM is well trained....
you will not see him or ops mgr keith kennedy "tell".

i watch in wonder as all of you sleuth it out instead of enjoying the candy canes of the holiday.....

NO BULL....you ought to give it a rest.....

besides......it's going to be classical anyway to try and knock off the influence of WKSU in Akron which is really pushing at selling advertising locally.....

Kris "radio is my middle name" Kringle....

Anonymous said...

Lithuanian folk rock, mark my word.

Anonymous said...

Maybe they can get Bull from K-Rock to do a shift for them.

does Bull get any royalties?

1450 Stays here said...

We have been told it will be country on Tuesday by several sources.

An engineer from Clear Channel confirmed it while in our building this week.

On Friday a management figure from north canton came down to place a public notice in the public file and also said country was the format.

Anonymous said...

Keith Kennedy has once again gone back in time and the format will be .....

Punk Country

He is attempting to catch the greased pig as we type.

Anonymous said...

It's fun to speculate, but the end result will be another unimaginative, sterile, automated CC format, exactly what dumped the company into the hands of "investment bankers" last month.
When will they learn that radio is entertainment, not hamburgers?

78 RPM said...

"unimaginative, sterile, automated CC format"

you mean like WMJI, WMVX and WGAR in Cleveland? The same ones that are part of the top 5 25-54?

an Ipod on Shuffle is unimaginative, sterile, and automated, but wildly popular.

Give it a rest already. When will the Djs of yesterday realize time has passed them by?

A Station with personalities is better than one withot, but music is and should be the focal point.

A station with bad talent is worse than a station with okay talent.

Anonymous said...

So then why bother even thinking of getting into the buisness then? Or even dabbling into the engineering aspects?

It's a two-edged sword. Quite frankly, those who are my age (25) and are either shut out (didn't want to go to OCB, perhaps) or disilluioned (after the CC cutbacks, can you blame anyone?) are probably equally in line to b***h and moan about this crud than the "DJs of yesterday." (That is, if there is anyone left...)

WMJI and WGAR have the heritage aspect going for them than anything else right now. WMJI can program itself, and that's whats taking place. It sucks to listen too, but that's the fact. I'd take the WMJI of 1996 than the WMJI of 2006 ANY DAY of this EON.

Oh, and WMVX has sucked ever since Randy James left in 1998. It's virtually amazing that CC has tolerated such a turd, even to the point of revamping it - TWICE (with Dave Popovich in 2001 and with the Jack ripoff in 2005). Failures on both counts. Why? Because "Mix" is indeed very sterile, cookie-cutter and bland. In contrast, WDOK has been with "Soft Rock" since 1990. It's airstaff has been amazingly stable and the ratings are FAR more successful than WMVX ever will be. Sad, but true.

Those who have iPods could also use them as a means of "sticking it to the man," i.e. the four or five stations that generically play the same song in a 30-min span. Yes, it's jockless. Yes, it's singled to the tastes of the user. But who would have thought that such a thing would exist back in 1980 - or even 2000? Only Steve Jobs did. And he's reaping the reward for it...

- Nathan Obral

just the facts said...

Nathan,

WDOK has slid from #1 to #6 25=54 p in a year..and WMVX is beating them.
Randy James could help, but he's off somewhere hiding from Eliot Spitzer.

You said "I'd take the WMJI of 1996 than the WMJI of 2006". Okay most radio people would, but that's my point.
Once we start programming radio stations for LISTENERS rather than aircheck collectors we'll all be better off.

Anonymous said...

So, like isn't that what the deal is all about? Is radio entertainment or a service? What will it be, if anything, in the modern era? What is talk radio other than entertainment?

Anonymous said...

I checked the website for 101.7 The Bull, and it turned out to be for The Bull in Iowa.

Check out the site and see for yourself.

Anonymous said...

WDOK has slid from #1 to #6 25=54 p in a year..and WMVX is beating them."

Please check your facts, Mr. " Just the Facts." What book are you getting that information from?... sure isn't the latest Arbitron.

WDOK ranked #5 Persons 25-54 in the Summer '05 Arbitron... and #4 in the latest. In either book, they were no more than 3/10ths of a rating point out of first place and although they had a nice summer book, WMVX has yet to beat them.

WDOK has been a consistent performer for 10+ years. Could WDOK be a better sounding radio station... hell yes.... but they are pretty good at what they do.

As for the "I-pod on shuffle Play anything" stations here's the problem. Once I pay $70 for an Ipod shuffle (or similar device) and load it up with tunes that I like, what do I need the radio for? I predict that that fad will be short-lived as stations that adopt that position are mired in low ratings.

Anonymous said...

What a joke. No matter what the format, if Keith Kennedy has anything to do with it, he will screw it up.