In this week’s issue… More AMs silenced – Remembering CT’s Thompson, NYC’s Gary Kline – WEEI completes new lineup – “Moose” roams NH lakes – New signals on Canada’s Bruce Peninsula – CRTC considers revoking licenses
By SCOTT FYBUSH
*When the FCC began its “AM Revitalization” program a few years ago, giving owners of AM stations the opportunity to obtain FM translators, we warned that the result was likely to be a two-tiered system – within a few years, we wrote, the AM stations that had picked up FM signals would be worth considerably more than the remaining AMs that hadn’t.
We’re not big on “I told you so,” but, well, we were right, and we’re seeing evidence of just how little those AM-only signals are worth in 2023.
Not only has Townsquare Media turned off its WYOS (1360) in Binghamton, New York, it’s now followed up by taking two more AMs without translators silent.
In Brookfield, CONNECTICUT, WINE (940) has been an afterthought for years, going on and off the air and being used only as a simulcast of sister FM stations, most recently classic rocker WRKI (I-95). Now that 1000-watt daytimer has gone silent, as has WTVL (1490) in Waterville, MAINE, which was at least doing its own programming with an automated oldies format (“Kool AM”) as part of Townsquare’s Augusta-based cluster.
In both those cases, as in Binghamton, the AM stations were bringing in little or no revenue to make up for the expenses of maintaining aging transmitter infrastructure, and there’s no indication that they’ll be returning to the air. Nevertheless, Townsquare left its options open with the FCC, filing silent STA requests with the explanation that “due to economic conditions in the market, the licensee was forced to take the station off the air temporarily.”
Are Townsquare’s shutdowns just a blip, or a sign of a bigger trend for corporate-owned AMs that are part of larger clusters? We’ll be watching closely to see whether any buyers step forward with interest in these now-dark signals and whether they return to the air or, more likely, go dark for good after their silent STA period comes to an end in six or twelve months.
WE’VE LOWERED THE PRICE!
It’s officially summer. Have you still not ordered your Tower Site Calendar?
Good news! You can now purchase it for just $8. You also still have the option of getting it signed for $13, or buying a storage bag for $1.