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Posts Tagged ‘WBLS’

June PPMs: WLTW Keeps Top Spot, WHTZ Moves into Second

Without any fanfare, it’s a typical month for WLTW/Lite FM. The Adult Contemporary giant was number one in the just-released overall PPM ratings for June.

Lite FM saw its huge numbers dwindle from May (8.1 to 7.7). But the station maintained its 5,600,000 cume (audience).

A surprise at number two, where WLTW sister station WHTZ/Z100 made a nice .5 leap.

Despite only slipping .1 for June, WCBS-FM fell from its usual second-place perch. The Classic Hits format, now under the direction of longtime WLTW programmer Jim Ryan, finds a home in third.

It’s the second ratings book for WBLS since the Urban station gave a voice to several displaced KISS FM/WRKS personalities following ESPN’s takeover of the 98.7 frequency.

WBLS had a fourth-place showing, with only a minimal drop off to 5.6.

As for ESPN/WEPN, the all-sports station lost .2 to 1.6 in the overall ratings. By contrast, rival WFAN improved slightly to 3.3.

More ratings insight after the jump

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ESPN 98.7 Finds Positives in First Ratings Since Move to FM

The first Arbitron PPM ratings since the changes for WBLS and WEPN are out.

Inner City’s WBLS powered up the survey to number four. The Urban station leaped 2.2. It was the first full month since 98.7 was purchased by ESPN. Picking up the KISS/WRKS slack, ‘BLS added several personalities from 98.7.

As for ESPN, on the surface, it could be deemed a disappointment for the sports station still simulcasting on 1050 AM. The 98.7 frequency with KISS ended with an overall 4.0, while WEPN only managed a 1.8. WFAN increased slightly to a 3.2.

The cume (listenership) dropped from just shy of 2 million in April as an R&B station, to 1.4 million as ESPN Radio’s flagship.

“That’s because they [KISS] probably … [had] a lot of women listeners, which is typical of an Urban format,” Dave Roberts, ESPN New York GM, tells FishbowlNY.

That cume, though, has nearly doubled from a year ago among the people 12+ category.

“That’s a nice foundation [on which] to build new, loyal listeners,” Roberts says.

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Veteran WLIB DJ Bob Law Fights Sale to ‘White-Controlled Company’

Longtime WLIB air personality Bob Law is making his comments known about the WLIB/WBLS sale.

Law, today, filed a petition with the FCC denying the sale to YMF Media.

Law’s main complaint is that YMF is a “white-controlled company.” That is a phrase that radio-info.com reports Law used in an email inviting participants in today’s “emergency national conference call.”

During the call, Law says he’ll “make it very clear how black radio and black media became so vulnerable.”

On Tuesday, Law, New York City Councilman Charles Barron, and others filed a petition to deny the license transfer with the FCC.

YMF is an entity controlled by the creditors of Inner City Broadcasting. Inner City, co-founded in 1971 by Hal Jackson, who died last week, filed for bankruptcy last August.

Celebrating the Life of Hal Jackson, a Black Radio Trailblazer

He was one the giants in radio, with a career spanning more than nine decades. Hal Jackson, the longtime WBLS air personality, will be laid to rest next week. The family, including his wife Debi, announced the wake and funeral are open to the public as a celebration of Jackson’s 97-year life.

The wake is Wednesday from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., and from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. It will be held at the Frank Campbell Funeral Home, Madison Avenue and 81st Street.

Jackson’s funeral is Thursday, 11 a.m. at the Riverside Church, 490 Riverside Drive and 121st Street.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations made to:

Hal Jackson’s Talented Teens International/Youth Development Foundation
1230 Park Avenue, PH-A
New York, NY

A pioneering radio host, Jackson died Wednesday after a short illness.

[Pic via The New York Post]

Hal Jackson, Black Radio Legend, Dies at 96

Webster’s defines an icon as “any person or thing that is revered.”

That was Hal Jackson. The pioneering WBLS radio personality died yesterday at age 96. His cause of death was not released, but Jackson had a short illness.

Jackson maintained his Sunday Classics show, on the air as recently as a couple of weeks ago. He hosted the program with Clay Berry and Deborah Bolling Jackson, known to listeners as Debi B., or simply Jackson’s wife for 23 years.

“He was a big proponent of passing [information],” Skip Dillard, WBLS
program director, tells FishbowlNY. “I think that was one of his greatest assets.”

He co-founded WBLS original parent company, Inner City Broadcasting in 1971 with the late Percy Sutton, giving a new outlet to African-Americans. It was the first owned and operated African-American station in New York.

“He really is responsible for us being here today, because he encouraged Mr. Sutton to go through with the purchase of WLIB-FM at a time when AM was king,” Dillard says. “Hal really was a little ahead of his time and saw the potential for radio, and always believed that radio could grow and evolve.”

Last year, Inner City filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

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Emmis Emerges from Six and a Half Years of Transformation, Says Jeff Smulyan

The company logo could have been a person tightening his belt. Emmis Communications has completed a 6 1/2 year transformation. Jeff Smulyan, the Indianapolis-based chairman of the board, said in the conference call yesterday that Emmis is moving forward with a group of stations in secondary markets such as St. Louis, Austin, and Terre Haute. He also mentioned New York’s lone wolf–Hot 97/WQHT.

Emmis is down to one radio destination in the biggest market. Last year, Emmis sold off Rocker WRXP to new Merlin Media, which created FM News/WEMP.

More recently, Emmis was at the center of another radio surprise, leasing 98.7, the former KISS FM home, to ESPN/Disney.

In the two deals last month, Emmis stands to pocket $92.5 million, according to the Indianapolis Business Journal. Despite the sadness loyal fans felt about their beloved KISS leaving the air, with several personalities and shows shifted to WBLS, the news sent Emmis stock soaring 21.5 percent, to $1.05 cents per share. It was the first time Emmis shares had traded above $1 since July.

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Fallout from ESPN-FM Deal: Syndicated Tom Joyner and Michael Baisden Fight Back Without KISS, New York Outlet

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.”

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Most Popular FishbowlNY Stories for the Week

Here’s a look at what FishbowlNY stories made the most buzz this week.

  1. Essence Reassigns Managing Editor after Racist Facebook Page Leaks, April 24
  2. Brian Carter, WBLS Weekend Jock, Dies of Apparent Heart Attack, April 23
  3. Sean Fennessey Leaves GQ for Grantland, April 23
  4. ESPN Radio Switching to 98.7 FM Sunday, April 26
  5. Rolling out the Red Carpet for Time 100, April 25
  6. USA Today Journalists Targets of Online Intimidation, April 20

Keep up-to-date with the latest FishbowlNY news. Click here to sign-up for the FishbowlNY daily newsletter, bringing you our articles each afternoon directly to your inbox.

Rivals KISS FM and WBLS Merge at 107.5 FM

It was a whirlwind of activity yesterday and when the smoke cleared, ESPN’s WEPN made the switch from 1050 on the AM dial to 98.7 FM.

Caught in the crossfire of the reported $96 million deal is the longtime R&B formatted WRKS/KISS FM. The Emmis-owned station, which celebrated 30 years on the air in 2011, has merged music and talent with WBLS 107.5 FM. It’s almost as surprising a turn as the ESPN jump to 98.7.

In a joint statement, the two stations said that they will become “One Family, One Station.”

No sooner than the announcement was made, KISS was being simulcast on WBLS. Just after midnight on Monday morning, the two Urban stations will consolidate at 107.5 under the WBLS call letters.

As we reported yesterday, KISS midday host Shaila and evening personality Lenny Greene will reconvene at WBLS.

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Remembering Soul Train Creator Don Cornelius

He was a pioneering TV host and producer, but knowing Don Cornelius as the man of Soul Train only scratches the surface. Cornelius was found dead this morning at his Los Angeles home. The coroner’s office says it appears to be a suicide. Cornelius was 75.

He created Soul Train in 1970 at WCIU in Chicago. A year later, Americans jumped on board the train for a 35-year ride.

“Mr. Cornelius capitalized on an opportunity to serve a market that wasn’t being served,” WBLS program director Skip Dillard tells FishbowlNY. “While Soul Train focused on showcasing new African American artists and bands, a much larger audience than African Americans tuned in.”  

Bob Slade, an African American fixture in New York for four decades at KISS FM, and black music historian, recalls interviewing Cornelius many years ago.

“He told me his dream was to be a disc jockey,” Slade remembers.

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