Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Boom and Booming

We'd heard the rumblings...that Elyria-Lorain Broadcasting's new AAA format on WNWV/107.3 Elyria had to drop its name due to trademark issues.

Sure enough, though the station occasionally tries to cleverly use the word "Boom", its official on-air name has reverted to a simple "107.3 Cleveland"...without the explosive word directly attached.

Wbat happened?

Blame another broadcaster competing with 107.3 in Cleveland, but in another market.

Tom Taylor's always excellent "Taylor on Radio-Info" newsletter on Monday had his take:

Seems CBS is employing “Boom FM” in Seattle on the HD-2 channel of classic hits “Jack FM” KJAQ (96.5). It may be used for CBS stations in other markets, too.

Of course, WNWV itself had been running the AAA/eclectic format on its own HD2 channel until late December...using that name, as far as we know.

But a large company like CBS is a lot more nimble when it comes to trademark use and registration. And we're reminded that despite getting the trademark through acquisition of another company, Clear Channel was successfully able to assert the "Kiss FM" service mark even with its newer top 40 outlets mounted long after.

Taylor hasn't confirmed the story of why "Boom!" is no longer, but did find the CBS outlets. (Toronto's new "Boom" classic hits format is apparently not affected due to its presence in Canada.)

And whatever the reason, 107.3 is still pumping out its new format...

BOOMING FORMAT: That's the other part of our subject header this time around.

We've made something of a hobby tracking the rise of FM spoken word formats, including the booming sports format on the FM dial...and it's about to happen really close to Ohio.

As rumored, as expected, CBS Radio is mounting an FM sports talk outlet in Pittsburgh. Rumor leaked out last week, and made it to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. From FMQB.com:

CBS Radio in Pittsburgh has announced that on Monday, February 15, the company will debut Sports Radio "93.7 The Fan," carrying the call letters KDKA-FM. As originally reported last Friday, January 15, the move converts CHR WBZW(B94) to 93.7 The Fan.

CBS Radio SVP & Pittsburgh Market Manager Michael Young exclusively told FMQB, "We’re building this radio station with the sole focus and mantra of providing all sports all the time to the Pittsburgh fans, billing ourselves as the voice of the fans of Pittsburgh."

The CHR format will merge with existing hot AC WZPT/100.7 "Star 100.7".

We bring this up here for two reasons.

CBS Radio has a four station cluster in the Cleveland market, of course - alt-rock WKRK/92.3, classic rock WNCX/98.5, AC WDOK/102.1 and hot AC WQAL/104.1 "Q104".

It also has a brand new market manager, as we reported earlier...Steve Carver.

Is "The Fan" coming to Cleveland?

Well, let's line up the case against it.

For one, Cleveland is one of the smaller markets CBS presumably is still interested in selling. Then again, Pittsburgh is presumably on that list as well.

But Pittsburgh has one thing in its CBS Radio cluster that Cleveland does not - a big, big news/talk station (the legendary KDKA/1020). Even when CBS was first talking about exiting smaller markets, there were rumors that they would hang onto KDKA Radio for one reason - synergy with its TV holdings in Pittsburgh (KDKA-TV/2 and sister CW affiliate WNPA/19).

CBS has no news/talk stations in Northeast Ohio, of course, and no TV holdings. CBS affiliate WOIO/19 is owned by Raycom Media, and CW affiliate WBNX/55 is locally owned.

But...with the coming FM sports format in Western Pennsylvania, you know we had to weigh in one way or the other...


Chuck Matthews Blog said...

Tom Bigby is in charge of the FM sports format for CBS. He put up WXYT in Detroit - which is #1 P25-54. He's done Dallas, and is now doing Pittsburgh. Bibby is the same who put WIP/Philly at the top (when he was there). In Dallas, CBS "stole" the Cowboys and other contacts from Cumulus, etc.

FM Sports could eventually come to Cleveland. But they'll need the contracts. B

Bibby is a good guy. He wanted to be his APD in Detroit. Logistically it didn't work out.

red collar administration said...

I think "The Fan" concept may come to Cleveland. I live in DC (born in Cleveland Heights) and there was only espn 980 for the longest, until last spring when "106.7 The Fan" came on WJFK-FM. There is also a "fan" station in Baltimore also. These places are just as big as C-Town. Remember, we are a three sports town, with only one sports station...we are due. Even before I left Seattle this summer, the only had one station for awhile (KJR 950), then Espn 770 came on last spring also. It is a trend to see new sports outlets in three-four sports towns...its profitable I think, especially here.