While the rumors were flying for weeks that ESPN Radio would bolt the inferior 1050 AM signal for a quality FM sound, the station’s ultimate destination caught most by surprise.
ESPN/WEPN made it official yesterday with a new home in FM stereo at 98.7. That was the home of Emmis’ KISS since its inception in 1981.
WBLS formed a merger as several personalities, most notably midday Shaila and nighttime Lenny Green, joined the on-air staff.
As we reported last week, gone from the air are morning host Tom Joyner and Michael Baisden in the afternoon. The two syndicated shows did not find a home at WBLS, meaning they are not heard in the nation’s top market.
Joyner has declined FishbowlNY’s interview request, instead discussing the KISS/WBLS situation on his radio show and writing about it on his blog. Joyner and Baisden agree that the bigger picture means that the black audience suffers with fewer options.
“Thursday, we found out that a very important voice in New York City would be silenced,” Joyner writes. “After 20 years of broadcasting to and advocating for a mostly African-American audience, our New York affiliate, KISS 98.7, is now gone. It makes me sad, not just for our own personal loss but because of what the community-at-large is losing.”