In this week’s issue… iHeart’s Philly AM move a sign of bigger things ahead? – Pamal shuffles Albany staff – Remembering LI’s Levine, Philly’s Fox – New signals, job titles in Maine 

By SCOTT FYBUSH

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*It’s been a long time since we’ve reported on iHeart – or, really, any of the biggest radio companies – making any moves to grow their portfolios of radio signals.

So it was kind of a big deal when our sister site RadioInsight exclusively reported last week that there’s growth coming for iHeart, apparently in connection with the Black Information Network programming initiative it launched a few weeks ago.

We know something’s coming in Philadelphia, which was rather conspicuously missing from BIN’s initial rollout: while iHeart registered domains for a BIN Philadelphia outlet, it didn’t launch in what we’d have expected would have been the obvious place, historically Black-oriented WDAS (1480) and its FM outlet at 102.5. Those signals now are used by “The Gambler,” another recent iHeart programming initiative with sports talk focused on online bettors.

Reports from Philadelphia last week indicated that iHeart is about to LMA a bigger AM signal, WTEL (610), from Beasley – and somehow, it appears that at least some of WTEL’s current mix of ESPN national sports and local leased-time programming will get mixed with “The Gambler,” either on 610 or 1480/102.5, with the other signal ending up relaunching as BIN’s Philadelphia outlet.

But it’s not in iHeart’s nature to make a move like this in just one market, which is why we’re keeping an ear out for more moves to come in other big markets that don’t yet have BIN outlets.

Is the company covering its bets, as it were, ahead of an upcoming election that could swing the balance of political power away from the conservative talk that has long been its AM go-to? Is there outside support from advertisers to expand BIN?

Something is happening – and we’ll be here to chronicle it, and the rest of this fall’s industry news. (But we may be taking a break now and again as Labor Day approaches, depending on the volume of news over the next couple of weeks. And we’re also working on the first big upgrade to our membership system in almost a decade… so if there’s a disruption here and there over the next week or so, we appreciate your patience!)

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