That Pesky FM Sports Rumor
July 20, 2011 6 Comments
We’ve talked about it on Twitter. We’ve posted about it on message boards. We’ve vaguely hinted about it here.
But with rumors once again floating around about CBS Radio converting one of its Cleveland FM stations to a sports station, is it about to happen?
It may be, says Radio-Info.com columnist Tom Taylor, in this morning’s Taylor on Radio-Info column.
We haven’t heard much, at all, from CBS Radio’s operations locally.
But Tom tracks down an interesting piece of information related to such a format change, which the columnist says “could be happening soon”:
Is there a sports PD on the loose, one who just recently resigned from another station with no announced destination? He may be headed to Cleveland, and not just for a deluxe tour of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
CBS Radio has kept quite a lid on this locally.
We have been “pinging” various contacts in the sports media world here, and haven’t gotten any word of big “signings” you’d expect for a full-blown move into such a format.
But Taylor apparently has sources outside the market, who know of an outside hire-to-be that would program the would-be sports station. (And an actual program director for a Cleveland sports radio station? What a concept!)
Taylor’s item speculates that the target station for the format change could indeed be alt-rock WKRK/92.3 “Radio 92.3”, which has been without a regular weekday air staff since the revamping of the alt-rock format some time ago.
And here’s an odd twist.
On his classic rock WNCX/98.5 morning show and on Facebook, morning driver Maxwell has announced that he’ll “walk down the hall” Thursday and do an afternoon drive shift on…”Radio 92.3″, in addition to his regular WNCX show. It’s a “one time” thing, says Maxwell on his Facebook page.
Hmm. Do they need to check if live microphones still work in the WKRK studios?
We’ve been skeptics about this from the start, of course.
One reason is that we’ve been told numerous times that “Radio 92.3”, with extremely low overhead (electricity and music licensing, basically, give or take some weekend talent, some shared with other stations in the cluster), actually makes money for CBS Radio.
Another reason? CBS Radio has supposedly long sought to sell off its Cleveland cluster, along with other non-top 10 market clusters.
But in the current economic market, there would appear to be no ready buyers for an entire cluster of four class B FM stations in a market the size of Cleveland, and we’ve heard that CBS has no interest in selling off the stations separately or at a deep discount.
Just a short drive up the Ohio Turnpike and I-75, the company’s WXYT/97.1 “The Ticket” FM sports outlet is a ratings superstar, showing up atop the Detroit ratings much of the year.
Has the company finally decided that trying to replicate that here in Cleveland is worth the investment?
Is this finally going to happen? We can’t say. We’ve (again) heard no confirmation here of any such activity, though plenty of people even remotely connected to sports radio are asking us how to apply.
With no PD in place (yet, apparently), we’ve been suggesting contacting local CBS Radio SVP/market manager Tom Herschel.
Or maybe a better bet would be to contact the PD of “The Ticket” in Detroit (Jimmy Powers), since that operation would certainly provide some guidance for a similar operation in Cleveland.
But with the smoke from a would-be FM sports radio conversion getting out of crunchy rumor phase – the rumors have picked up again recently – we thought it was finally time to approach the topic, even if we don’t know for sure that it’s about to happen…