SYRACUSE -- Big news from the Citadel camp on James Street this afternoon: the station confirms WNSS will remain a sports-talker branded as "The Score 1260" as of March 5th. Even more of a surprise: Lite Rock 105.9 will be flipped to an FM talk format, branded as "105.9 The Big Talker."
A press release from Citadel released this afternoon says Gary Nolan (as rumored earlier) will anchor the new lineup on 105.9 The Big Talker, weekdays from 4-7pm. "Nolan returns to Syracuse where he worked in radio in the 1990s," says the release, adding, "in recent years he has hosted a highly rated afternoon talk show in Columbia, MO."
Mornings will still include a syndicated show with a co-host named Bob, but a different Bob -- the Bob & Sheri show will be replaced by the Bob & Tom show. Other syndicated names on "The Big Talker" will include Stephanie Miller, Michael Smerconish, Dave Ramsey and Mark Levin. Syracuse talk radio fans may recognize Levin's name -- he was previously carried by WSYR in the late weeknight timeslot (10pm-1am) before being replaced by Michael Savage.
No word yet from Citadel on the exact scheduling of the new lineup -- as far as which shows will be carried live, which ones will be carried on delay, and what will fill the weekend schedule.
The outgoing Lite Rock format featured mostly syndicated talent, including Bob & Sheri (mornings), Jayne (middays, real name Robin Marshall) and Delilah (evenings). The only local shift is Brian Phillips in the afternoon; Citadel didn't elaborate on his fate, but previous to getting the afternoon gig, Phillips was frequently used for fill-ins on sister station 93Q (WNTQ).
Citadel confirms the new branding of "The Score 1260" (also previously rumored, after website domain registrations were discovered by our friends at radioinsight.com) for WNSS, which will lose its ESPN Radio affiliation to Galaxy Communications on March 5th, a week from this coming Friday.
The cluster says it will increase its coverage of local sports, and that gets started with an expansion of the existing local afternoon show, On the Block with Brent Axe. The show will add an hour to its length, by starting at 2pm every weekday. The station also finally confirms it will feature Imus in the Morning, a move we suspected when we heard Imus would be pulled from the lineup at its existing affiliate, Clear Channel's WHEN, on March 5th. Imus will air weekdays from 6-10am.
Additionally, Citadel says WNSS "will continue to air Buffalo Bills football and Lemoyne College basketball, with plans to add expanded coverage of high school and college athletics, and local pro teams; truly being the voice of the Central New York sports fan."
For Immediate Release. Monday February 22, 2010.
SYRACUSE GETS NOT ONE BUT TWO NEW RADIO STATIONS!
Citadel Syracuse announces rebranding for AM Sports and New FM Talk Coming to Central New York
SYRACUSE, NY (February 22, 2010) Citadel Broadcasting – Syracuse has announced an exciting new format coming soon 105.9 FM (WLTI.) Next week the company will launch Central New York’s first commercial FM talk station, 105.9 THE BIG TALKER. The new station will be anchored by a 4-7pm weekday local show hosted by Gary Nolan, and the wildly popular nationally syndicated Bob & Tom show, weekday mornings 6-10am. Nolan returns to Syracuse where he worked in radio in the 1990’s. In recent years he has hosted a highly rated afternoon talk show in Columbia MO. Other program hosts on 105.9 THE BIG TALKER will include Stephanie Miller, Michael Smerconish, Dave Ramsey, and Mark Levin. “Spoken word on FM is one of the fastest growing segments in radio right now and it’s time Syracuse has a voice on FM for local and national issues” said Dan Austin, Market Manager for Citadel Syracuse.
Citadel also announced the re-branding later this week of its sports station (the current ESPN Radio 1260) to THE SCORE 1260. The station will now put greater emphasis on local sports, expanding its very successful local afternoon show On The Block with Brent Axe for an additional hour, to 2-6pm daily. Additional local programs and hosts will be added shortly. Weekdays 6-10am will be the nationally syndicated Imus In The Morning, and national sports programs will come from Sporting News Radio. THE SCORE 1260 will continue to air Buffalo Bills football and Lemoyne College basketball, with plans to add expanded coverage of high school and college athletics, and local pro teams; truly being the voice of the Central New York sports fan.
As always, if and when additional details are released, we'll keep you updated.
What's interesting is the breadth of the lineup.
Bob & Tom are variety/humor for AM drive.
Stephanie Miller's a liberal.
Smerconish is a conservative who just quit the Republican party.
Dave Ramsey talks money.
Nolan's a libertarian conservative
Levin's on the far right.
It will be interesting to see whether a variety format can work in this day and age of uniformity. Is the FM talk listener different from the AM talk listener?
[...] Update 2/22: Citadel quickly confirmed our report of WLTI flipping to FM Talk as “105.9 The Big Talker“. The new lineup will include the syndicated Bob & Tom in the mornings, and a local show hosted by Gary Nolan from 4 to 7pm. Nolan began his talk career in Syracuse, but was most recently hosting afternoons at “Eagle 93.9” KSSZ in Columbia, MO. Other hosts in the lineup include Stephanie Miller, Michael Smerconish, Dave Ramsey, and Mark Levin. For more on the story visit our friends at CNYRadio.com. [...]
Can the market even support three talkers? As I posted elsewhere I don't see anything that would get me to tune away from WFBL and WSYR (depending on the time of day).
As I look around I see Nolan will be a local show, that might make me change my mind and check him out. If just to see him do better than the clown WSYR has on during that time period -