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Posts Tagged ‘Gene Michaels’

WEMP Begins the Phase as New Rock 101.9

It’s been more than 24 hours since one of New York City’s worst radio “experiments” officially failed. When the 10 a.m. headlines concluded yesterday, WEMP/101.9 had wrapped up its nearly year-long all-news with one “final story.” The anchor, Gene Michaels, was abruptly cut off saying, “You’re listening…” Dead air ensued for six seconds.

Those who didn’t have their radios on, or tuned to the live stream, missed a faux anchor delivering the final story for FM News.

“It is to announce that a format change is about to occur at 101.9,” the male voice-over person said. “In just a few minutes FM News will become New Rock 101-9. The final line of the final story is this, a special note of thanks to everyone involved in FM News for their passion and support. Sometimes just saying thank you isn’t enough, but in this case, it’ll have to do. Thank you and good bye.”

With the immediate switch to Alternative Rock, 101.9 returns to a format Emmis ran prior to Merlin Media’s arrival last summer. There is no definitive word that this will become the permanent format. There is also speculation that Merlin will move the new version of WEMP to Chicago. It’s too soon to know if Merlin will keep the WEMP call letters. We can only assume that Randy Michaels can’t get rid of the calls fast enough, and lose the bad taste that was WEMP.

We’re told only 10 people were retained as on-air talent for the new station. Until that happens, though, they will provide additional content to the Philadelphia sister station.

The first song played on New Rock 101.9 was the Beastie Boys’ No Sleep ‘Til Brooklyn. Thus closing the book on FM News 101.9 in less than 12 months. But it is not without precedent. Just think of Patrick Duffy emerging from the shower to a one-year dream season on Dallas. The dream of WEMP as an FM News station is thankfully over.

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WEMP Covers October Snowstorm in Haphazard Fashion

The new kid on the news block, WEMP, fails to use the historic snowstorm to its advantage.

As Merlin Media’s FM News 101.9/WEMP was officially starting in August, we reported on their failed coverage of record-setting rainfall.

On Saturday, weather brought the spotlight was back to WEMP with the most October snow to ever fall in New York (1.3 inches), and much more in the suburbs.

Forecasters had been eyeing this weekend for the affects of a Nor’easter in the tri-state region.

However, WEMP did not to plan accordingly.

In the afternoon, as the storm intensified, listeners heard anchors Therese Crowley and Gene Michaels lead with the weather story. WEMP even offered updates from staffers, including anchor Catherine Smith, Doug O’Brien, and producer Judy Speicher. Unlike stalwarts WCBS and WINS, WEMP featured the radio pros “holed up” in their homes.

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WEMP/101.9 Debuts News Format, Struggles to Find Sound

There had been plenty of rumor and speculation surrounding 101.9 since Merlin Media took over the former Rock station WRXP last month. After playing an interim mix of 1980s pop music, 101.9 FM “New” finally added the “s” to its name Monday (after a “soft launch” over the  weekend). With its new call letters WEMP, 101.9 is now New York’s only full-time FM news station, a slogan the news anchors are quick to promote.

WEMP does employ some major talent, including those who’ve called WINS and WCBS-AM home.

Reports have indicated that Merlin was gearing 101.9 toward women in the 25 to 54 age bracket, especially the younger end of that group. It doesn’t take long to see that’s definitely the case.

Anchors used the interim format as a trial period to get the kinks out. However, we’d soon learn that would not be the case.   

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