WNRS Loses ESPN; Rebrands as "The Fox," Unique Hybrid Format

March 5, 2010 by

UTICA-ROME -- Today's shift of ESPN Radio over to Galaxy Communications stations in Syracuse and Utica-Rome has had another impact on competitors.  Arjuna Broadcasting's WNRS 1420 shifts to a hybrid format of Fox Sports Radio during the day and Bloomberg Financial Radio in the evening.

Co-owner and GM Mindy Barstein tells the station will now be branded as "1420 AM, The Fox."

Imus in the Morning remains intact, from 6-9am.  He's followed by Fox Sports Radio's Dan Patrick at 9am and Jim Rome at noon.

After that, the station flips over to Bloomberg Financial Radio.  Weekdays from 3-6pm, Taking Stock tracks breaking financial news as domestic markets close for the day.  Mondays through Thursdays, that's followed by Charlie Rose for an hour, then Live from Tokyo from 7-10pm with coverage of markets overseas, where it's already the next day.

On Fridays, the station flips back to Fox Sports at 6pm.  Various programming from Fox Sports fills all remaining overnight and weekend hours.

Of the unique combination, Barstein tells, "we have tied the #1 morning show in the country, Imus in the Morning, with a great sports format and introduce the #1 radio financial news programming into the market. 1420 AM, The Fox, has combined entertainment, business, sports and news that will reach the Male 25-64 demographic. All the changes will be complete by Monday, March 12."

3 comments on “WNRS Loses ESPN; Rebrands as "The Fox," Unique Hybrid Format”

  1. It's nice to see that the station is running a combination of programming and you have to obviously report it as media news. But the fact of the matter is that hardly anyone listens to this radio station, nor, even knows it exists. Their signal doesn't cover the market, and whether Imus is on or not, it won't have hardly any effect on any other station in the market. Even when Imus was on WXUR, there weren't any ratings to speak of except some very low single digit numbers in men over 60.

    Give anyone credit for trying, but it's almost better for them to turn off the transmitter.

  2. I agree with Adventure, its another dud. When are these people going to realize that this market is hungry for some decent local radio. Don't they realize that there is programming that can help them sell time on their AM station. Tune the dial. Try AM 590 (WROW), go further and listen to AM 740(CMZM) from Toronto. I'll bet WNRS owners have never even heard AM590 or AM740. Wow, real radio stations! Two of them! Programming to audience with the money to buy big ticket items. The rest of the AM dial is all the same, blah,blah blah, talk, news and sports. Three AM stations in Utica with sports, and now the Syracuse stations grabbed their ESPN. Adventure is right, turn it off, sell if for a dollar, Bob Kassi bought it for $1 back in the 70's. Maybe there is somebody with some sense do something besides what everyone else is doing. There is plenty of opportunity to make some money on Ethnic programming, local sports, local news and chatter, and some decent MUSIC. I'd like to see the day the owners of a Utica area radio station actually pay someone local to do live AM radio show.

  3. For what it's worth, back just about a month ago WROW 590 flipped from talk to what started as a simulcast of the standards/soft AC from "Magic" WKLI (100.9 Albany), until WKLI itself changed formats leaving "Magic" only on WROW. If they maintained any local programming in the switch, I don't know. WROW's signal does reach metro Utica/New Hartford during the day, although it's on the weak side. Looks like owners Albany Broadcasting are shifting some things around to try to help one of their other stations become the clear #1 in the market.

    As for CMZM, I wouldn't be surprised if there's been a change there ranging from format/ownership to even ceasing to air, there's been a trend of Canadian AM stations moving to the FM dial and some have just plain turned off the AM signals. You can check up on it at Scott Fybush's Northeast Radio Watch site.

    I don't see where it's profitable for any but the largest stations to have any local content, because it takes a lot of ad dollars to bring in the revenue to support it. When WLTI went to talk they spent some money installing a bunch of new equipment to support Gary Nolan's local afternoon show, so you have an investment there, plus you have to pay two or three people enough for it to be worth their while to want to take the jobs. And even then, when Glenn Beck became available after WROW flipped, WGY dumped it's local Al Roney show in the mornings and put Beck on. (if Roney is still on at some other time, I haven't checked). It's cheaper for them to run a syndicated show than pay a live body to come in and cover the airtime. Some of these small stations can't even pay the engineer a few extra bucks to read a local news or weather report into a tape to play for three or four hours on the hour.

    But then what it boils down to is a radio station is a business and the purpose of a business is to make a profit for it's owner. If the ratings don't change much going from a local guy to a syndicated show, the managers are going to go with the option with the lowest operating cost every time.


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