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Posts Tagged ‘Merlin Media’

101.9 Adds Jock Dave Packer to Staff; Gives Rumor to Hybrid News/Music Format

New York’s new station at 101.9, which dropped the Rock format on Friday when it was fully taken over by Merlin Media, is preparing for a changeover to News.

Last week, we told you that several WINS anchors and reporters made the move to Merlin.

Now, FishbowlNY has learned that WCBS-FM fill-in jock Dave Packer has been hired. This fuels speculation that Merlin, behind COO Walter Sabo, would appear to be developing a similar format to one he created at WKXW/New Jersey 101.5.

At WKXW, Sabo was instrumental in programming a News/Talk station Monday through Friday, and an Oldies station on the weekends.

For now, 101.9 has kept the old WRXP call letters and a mix of 1980s pop/rock. But there are no jocks, just a female-voiced jingle announcing “101.9 FM New…” instead of saying ”News.”

As WRXP Leaves the Air, Program Director Leslie Fram Says Station to End on ‘Positive Note’

We’ve been reporting that tomorrow Friday is the start of a new era in New York radio, and specifically the 101.9 frequency. 

With the Emmis sale to Merlin Media and Randy Michaels, WRXP goes off the  air today.

WRXP program director Leslie Fram tells FishbowlNY that the Rock station will not do anything out of the ordinary for the final hours.

“Each of the jocks will have their own ending song just to thank the audience,” Fram says. “We want to end on a positive note.”

One other positive for ‘RXP, Fram says the station has a 2.3 million cume (listenership), their highest in the three-year history. Fram is also pleased with the ‘RXP’s rating in the 25 to 54 demographic—3.6.

Fram says she’ll remain in New York through the summer, searching for her radio gig.

“[I'm] looking for my next adventure,” Fram says.

Merlin Media Sets Friday for Takeover of 101.9

While the format is still to be determined, various reports say fledgling Merlin Media will remove Rock station WRXP 101.9 from the air on Friday. Reports say Thursday is the final day for the ‘RXP air staff.

On June 21, Randy Michaels assumed control of three Emmis radio stations, including ‘RXP.

Since then, Michaels brought in radio veteran Walter Sabo as COO, likely to run the day-to-day operations of the new 101.9.

Last week, FishbowlNY learned that Pete Salant was tapped to reunite with Sabo in an unspecified programming role. Salant ran Adult Contemporary WYNY in the early 1980s with Sabo as his boss.

Since buying the station, rumors have persisted that the new 101.9 would flip format. The most likely candidate for 101.9 is News/Talk, or some variation.

However, Merlin Media, in attempt to keep people guessing, recently registered www.1019wyny.com through Go Daddy.

Merlin Media Hires Veteran Radio Programmer Pete Salant

Merlin Media is taking another step toward the future.

Accomplished radio programmer Pete Salant has joined Merlin Media in an unspecified programming role, sources with knowledge of the information tell FishbowlNY. 

Salant made a name for himself as the program director and operations manager of WYNY from 1980 to 1983.  

Salant reteams with his former NBC boss–then-FM radio division executive VP Walter Sabo, now the Merlin Media chief operating officer.  While at 30 Rock, Salant led the team that pioneered the Adult Contemporary music format at WYNY, which climbed from number 22 to number one in Adults during Salant’s first six months. The station remained the highest rated music station among all FM and AM stations in New York City during his tenure.

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Traffic Guru Jeff McKay Reportedly Headed to Merlin Media, New 101.9 FM Station

Last week, we told you that longtime traffic reporter Jeff McKay left Metro Networks after nearly 20 years. While McKay has been close to the vest about his next venture, the Daily News may have shed some light.

The paper reports today that McKay, known for his reports on 1010 WINS, will join Merlin Media. In turn, that will further fuel speculation that Randy Michaels upstart media company will flip WRXP/101.9 from a Rock station to News/Talk format.

Broadcasting  consultant Walter Sabo had been brought in to run Merlin. His background includes programming New Jersey 101.5/WKXW, a Metro affiliated station at which McKay also spent many years helping listeners negotiating jams with “The McKay Way.”

The Daily News reports that a timetable for the changeover isn’t known, but it’s not likely to be an extended process.

Merlin Media Moves Closer to Potential WRXP Flip, Names Walter Sabo COO

Since buying a trio of Emmis radio stations last week, including New York’s WRXP, Randy Michaels has kept adding important parts to its upper management at newly formed Merlin Media.

Today, the fledgling company named Walter Sabo (left) as chief operating officer. Sabo, a former executive at ABC Radio, RKO Radio, and NBC’s FM station group, founded his New York-based Sabo Media consultancy in 1984.

“Success requires building brands that are unique, desirable and difficult to duplicate. Walter has the vision, intelligence, leadership skills, and experience to move Merlin beyond current convention and to take advantage of emerging media opportunities. It also means attracting special, talented people, and Walter knows how to do that,” said Michaels.

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