Monday, January 29, 2007

Rumor: WAVZ about to flip?

UPDATE 2/5/07: It appears the flip has happened. WAVZ is now running ESPN Radio as of this morning.

Scott Fybush at NorthEast Radio Watch is reporting that Clear Channel-owned WAVZ in New Haven, CT may drop liberal talk for sports talk this week:

And is the end of progressive talk coming at Clear Channel's WAVZ (1300 New Haven) sometime this week? We're hearing that sports talk will be the new format there, any day now.

To further compound the rumor, there is a website template for ESPN RADIO 1300. And it's obviously for New Haven.

If Clear Channel does indeed flip the format of WAVZ (1300AM), it would almost be unsurprising, since the small, 1000 watt frequency has never really been heavily promoted and has never carried any local programming. Hence, ratings are not there. The signal is limited in that it is a bit static-heavy in neighboring Bridgeport, roughly 19 miles to the west. Thanks to saltwater, the signal does bounce across the sound to parts of Long Island. It is basically designated as a local signal for New Haven, the #110 ranked Arbitron ratings market.

Incidentally, the current progressive talk format replaced sports talk in November 2004. Prior to that, they played adult standards.

For Stephanie Miller fans who need to get their fix, the duopoly of WLIS (1420AM) and WMRD (1150AM), both to the north and east of New Haven, do run her show live, albeit only the last two hours. The best bet for Air America Radio fans is WWRL (1600AM) out of NYC, though its signal is bogged down a bit by interference.

Thanks to the folks at Save Progressive Talk Boston for the info.

11 comments:

Emacee said...

A friend of mine lives in Shelton, about 10 miles from New Haven. She says she can not get a listenable signal - even in the car. She's not a radio geek, so she is naturally static intolerant.
She tells me she could get WLIB when she was by the water in Bridgeport but gets nothing from WWRL even there.
She went and got XM Radio early on: Problem solved (except she can't hear the better liberal talk shows).
New Haven is outside the top 100 markets but Clear Channel has made an exception and has not put its stations there up for sale. Their WELI does very well at just over a four share with a much better signal and the standard Premiere-ABC right-wing talk line-up. Number two AM (half a share behind) is New York sports talker WFAN. Most likely WAVZ would pick up CC's Fox Sports Radio and continue to operate as a computer-in-a-closet turnkey. The audience will stay with the Fan but the Clear Channel sales department - which says they can't sell liberal talk - will sell sports talk despite the lack of listeners.

raccoonradio said...

The new site is up for WAVZ, and it looks like they will be "ESPN 1300"
(the site is only partially up and doesn't mention WAVZ except for the
fact that when you click the "EEO Public File" link, it comes up
"CCR (Clear Channel Radio) New Haven" (espnradio1300.com) Don't
know if the flip has happened yet but the site is being readied.

Emacee said...

Clear Channel may be planning to simulcast WPOP - ESPN Radio 1410 in Hartford. The station carries ESPN's syndicated line-up plus New York Yankees and Jets. I don't think the Imus in the Morning, Mike and the Mad Dog and the rest at WFAN have any reason to lose sleep.

Emacee said...

Wait a minute ...
Raccoon, I just looked at their website. The wavz.com site still says "The Voice 1300, Progressive Talk Radio" complete with Franken's picture.
If you mean the espnradio1300.com site, that's in Baltimore.

ltr said...

www.espnradio1300.com

Emacee said...

OK, not be confused with:
http://www.espn1300.com/
"Baltimore's ESPN 1300"
WJFK-AM.
Or even ESPN 1300 The Sports Animal, KKML in Colorado Springs.
And there's the late WTMM in Rensselaer, NY which was recently ESPN 1300 but has since become WEEV ("Eve" as in Adam and...) and picked up Gloria Steinem and Jane Fonda's Fem Talk network (does that qualify as a form of progressive talk?).

raccoonradio said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
raccoonradio said...

But the site I found looks like it's being readied to be what wavz.com will eventually point to: sports radio; "New Haven's Sports Leader"
etc. The change hasn't happened yet;
maybe later this wk

raccoonradio said...

The Talking Radio blog mentions that WAVZ flips to ESPN on Monday.
TR calls it a "stealth flip" (listeners, FCC, etc. not notified)
but notice below: the FCC may not care about the "only format in a given market" going silent, despite protests. (Also: note that TR says
that the flip is mentioned on the
station's site. This is more than can be said for what happened in Boston where, outside of a couple local newspaper articles and some talk on messageboards, the flip to Spanish was not announced in
advance.

Read Mark Fisher's book on radio, "Something in the Air",
and it mentioned how "listener rebellions" occured when a certain format was dropped (the ONLY station playing that format). This
was "common but in 1981, the
Supreme Court ruled that owners
were free" to program their stations however they wanted
(with regards to format, etc.)...
as long as they followed the rules
of course. This is why any complaints to the FCC may--FOR
NOW--go nowhere

raccoonradio said...

WAVZ site: "Thanks to each and every one of you for being such loyal on-air/on-line listeners to the VOICE Progressive Talk Radio 1300 (theVOICE1300.com). Effective Monday, February 5th, 2007, WAVZ-AM's program format will switch to sports as ESPN Radio 1300 (espnradio1300.com)."

Henry... said...

I have listened to WAVZ since it came on the air. It has been a frustrating experience! The New York Air America station (1600)does not come in at all. I live two towns north of New Haven and never got a clear signal from WAVZ in the morning or after dark (I would pick up a station from either Indiana or Maryland). There were local advertisements on the channel and there seemed to be more of them in the past six months - I thought things were looking up at tiny WAVZ. Connecticut will support liberal talk. I think that's obvious. But this station, with its crummy reception, isn't the one. There are many local conservative channels, some tinier than WAVZ, dotting our dial and, I would hope, plenty of room for some of them to flip to the liberal side. But whichever station flips first, it needs to be bigger than WAVZ in order to sustain an audience and grow. And there are plenty of us who would be there to support the flip! I'm hopeful it will happen sooner not later!


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