CBS radio: 5 winners + 2 losers + Rod Z.

[ Follow Ups ] [ Post Followup ] [ :: Chicago Radio, TV, All Media Discussion Forum ]

Posted by Rod ZZZzzz... on January 26, 2011 at 01:27:45:

CBS Radio takes Fresh approach to help jump-start stalled stations
January 26th, 2011 @ 12:00 am
You don’t survive at the top of Chicago radio as long as Rod Zimmerman has by shooting your mouth off with predictions that could come back to haunt you.

So when I try to press the man who has headed the CBS Radio money machine here for 13 years to speculate on the long-term prospects for his two most troubled stations — classic hits WJMK-FM (104.3) and adult-contemporary WCFS-FM (105.9) — he politely but unequivocally refuses to take the bait. “I’m not going to make any forecasts,” he says. And that’s that.

As senior vice president and market manager of the seven-station CBS Radio cluster, Zimmerman (pictured left) probably would prefer to keep the focus on his group’s much more successful properties — rhythmic Top 40 WBBM-FM (96.3), all-news WBBM-AM (780), sports/talk WSCR-AM (670), country WUSN-FM (99.5) and adult rock WXRT-FM (93.1). But it’s the two weak links in the chain that competitors are watching (and listening to) most closely. Jack FM and Fresh, as WJMK and WCFS are known, ended the year dismally, finishing 20th and 23rd, respectively, in Arbitron’s December survey of adults in the “money demo” between the ages of 25 and 54.

In an effort to jump-start the two underperforming stations, CBS Radio conducted marketwide music testing and a perceptual study that pointed the way to adjustments in their formats and playlists. Here’s how Fresh alerted listeners earlier this week on its website:
Over the last several weeks Fresh 105.9 has been talking to you to find out how we can make FRESH even better! You’ve told us you want more variety . . . so we’ve made some changes.

Welcome to Fresh 105.9, Chicago’s Variety Station. You’ll hear more of your favorite 80’s and 90’s songs along with the biggest hits of NOW from artists like P!nk, Daughtry and Katy Perry.

Try it and let us know what you think by commenting below, on our Facebook or Tweet us. Thanks for listening to Fresh 105.9!

The most obvious change at the outset involved the promotion of afternoon personality Scotty Smith to mornings, replacing Steve Fisher, whose last day on Fresh was Friday. Smith’s former shift is expected to be filled soon.

The music changes appear to be more subtle, adding a greater variety of artists and titles from the ’90s and the early part of the last decade, and attempting to position the station between Bonneville International hot adult-contemporary WTMX-FM (101.9) and Clear Channel Radio adult contemporary WLIT-FM (93.9). In other words, putting Fresh right back where it was two years ago.

Tinkering with Jack FM could prove to be trickier, especially now that Emmis Communications has rebranded WLUP-FM (97.9) as a classic rocker. The jockless juke box already had lost a good deal of its luster — and a chunk of its female audience — when Bonneville International repositioned adult contemporary WILV-FM (100.3) as “Chicago’s Rewind: Feel Good Favorites from the ’80s and More.” Look for Jack FM to become even more of a late ’80s rock-based station in the coming months.

Since it could take a year before the latest changes have any significant impact on revenue, like them or not, Fresh and Jack FM just bought themselves more time. Barring a catastrophe, that should put to rest persistent rumors of CBS Radio throwing in the towel and switching to an FM simulcast of the Score or Newsradio 780 any time soon.

Follow Ups:

Post a Followup




Optional Link URL:
Link Title:
Optional Image URL:

Enter verification code:

[ Follow Ups ] [ Post Followup ] [ :: Chicago Radio, TV, All Media Discussion Forum ]

postings are the opinions of their respective posters and site ownership disclaims any responsibility for the content contained.
(register a domain name, host your web site, accept credit cards)