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Posts Tagged ‘Randy Michaels’

FM News 101.9/WEMP Begins Online Streaming

As WEMP begins its second full week as a 24-hour-a-day news station, listeners now have the option to hear 101.9 online.

WEMP began streaming on its website Friday.

But, before clicking the “Listen Live” for the news format geared to women loaded with lifestyle and entertainment features, visitors are encouraged to answer a few questions.

Merlin execs chose morning co-anchor (longtime, former WINS reporter) Alice Stockton-Rossini as the face for this experiment.

With a picture of Rossini on the page, she “asks” for input from new listeners. 

“I need your thoughts on the type of stories and information that would be most helpful to you all day,” Rossini writes.

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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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Merlin Media Takes Next Step with WRXP, Registers New Call Letters

Merlin Media, the start-up formed by Tribune castoff Randy Michaels, may have its new call letters ready to go. Perhaps, though, it’s all one big tease.

As we’ve been reporting for several weeks, rumors are running rampant that Merlin will flip former Emmis-owned Rocker WRXP 101.9 to a News/Talk station.

Now, All Access reports that Merlin has registered www.1019wyny.com through Go Daddy. The information lists Merlin Media, LLC as the registrant.

Of course, WYNY, which built its reputation by playing Adult Contempory, made the move to Country in the 1987.

However, bringing a Country format to 101.9 doesn’t appear likely.  

“There’s no chance,” one industry insider told FishbowlNY.

Walter SaboMerlin’s COO, is a longtime talk radio consultant.

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.

WRXP Cancels TakLiberty Rock Festival Fueling ‘Flip’ Speculation

As we’ve been reporting, Emmis sold WRXP to veteran broadcasting executive Randy Michaels. Earlier this month, Michaels created Merlin Media for the takeover of ‘RXP and two other Emmis stations based in Chicago.

There has been much speculation that WRXP’s days as a Alternative Rocker are limited.  Rumors persist that Michaels will flip the station to News/Talk, Sports, or even a Country music format.

Now for the latest proof that WRXP will drop Rock once the paperwork goes through later this summer.

The station’s TakLiberty Festival, planned for the PNC Arts Center in New Jersey on September 18, is no more.

A brief statement from Emmis read, “The WRXP TakLiberty Festival featuring Coldplay has been cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances. Refunds are available at the point of purchase.”

In a touch of irony, WRXP originally announced plans for the day-long concert one day before Michaels purchased the station.

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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Page One and David Carr at the LA Film Fest

Andrew Rossi‘s Page One: A Year Inside the New York Times made its LA Film Festival debut last night and did not disappoint. The film really should have been called “A Year At the Media Section of the New York Times,” but we digress. It was great. The collapse of the newspaper business model, online competition from aggregators like Newser and click hunters like Nick Denton‘s Gawker network, and the challenges of no longer being informational gatekeepers are all discussed at length. No real surprises for anyone who works in the journalism world, but a nice primer for those outside the business.

Journos are bound to have their favorite moments in the film. Two immediately come to mind: Carr tearing the editors of Vice a new asshole during a salty (to put it mildly) interview, and media editor Bruce Headlam somehow managing to give an interview to Rossi, make last minute edits to a huge front-page WikiLeaks story and answer his phone all at the same time. Headlum’s not the star of the film, but there can’t be a journalist in America who saw that guy in action and wouldn’t kill to have him as an editor.
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Update: Newly Created Merlin Media Names John Gehron, Chairman, Advisory Board and Liz Aiello, VP

Earlier today, we told you that Randy Michaels formed a company–Merlin Media to purchase three Emmis radio stations, including WRXP in New York.

Michaels becomes CEO and chairman of the new venture.

John Gehron was named chairman of the advisory board. He’ll be responsible for building a strategic and robust relationship with key business partners in Chicago. Gehron has 40 years of experience as a pioneer and leader in the radio industry.

Liz Aiello joins the fledgling company as VP. Aiello most recently was SVP of broadcast at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. She was recruited by the company to revise the Martha Stewart Living Radio station brand on Sirius Satellite Radio.

“At Merlin Media, we aren’t building a broadcast company, but a multimedia, multiplatform company,” said Randy Michaels, chairman and CEO, Marlin Media. ”Liz has deep experience in radio, television, satellite, cable and interactive, and her intelligence and extensive contacts in New York will be the perfect addition to our new company. We are pleased to welcome them both, and the unique strengths they bring with them, to the Merlin Media team.”

Previously, Aiello worked for Howard Stern, and served as WABC/Channel 7 managing editor and executive producer.

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