In this week’s issue… Fewer subchannels on Audacy HDs – Sports Hub host suspended – Station swap in NE PA – Jays radio voice to stay home
By SCOTT FYBUSH
*There’s more news from Audacy this week – at least for however many listeners were tuning in to its HD Radio subchannels in markets around the country.
In many of those markets, Audacy quietly pulled the plug on a subset of those subchannels, eliminating all-music formats that weren’t bringing in any revenue to the cash-challenged company as it tries to avoid having its stock delisted.
While there’s been no official announcement from Audacy about any of the changes, we’re told the cost-cutting move saves the company some money that it had been paying for ongoing costs to support the automation that was running each of the commercial-free subchannels, as well as the fees it had to pay for music licensing and for HD Radio subchannel licensing.
While Audacy is continuing to run its national Channel Q format aimed at LGBTQ audiences, as well as its spoken-word BetQL sports betting programming, here’s what we know so far has vanished from the HD dial across NERW-land:
In New York, the smooth jazz format that had been on WNEW (102.7)’s HD2 is no more, leaving only an HD1 on that frequency, which had also had all-news WINS on its HD3 before WINS moved to 92.3 a few months ago. For now, Audacy is keeping 92.3’s HD2, which has the “Alt” format that had been on the main channel there, as well as Channel Q on 92.3-HD3. WXBK (94.7 the Block) retains its former main country format on its HD2 for now as well. Audacy also still has a WCBS (880) simulcast on WCBS-FM (101.1)’s HD2, True Oldies Channel on 101.1-HD3, CBS Sports Radio on WFAN (101.9)’s HD2 and BetQL on 101.9-HD3.
In Philadelphia, “Vinyl Tap” classic hits is the immediate casualty on WBEB (101.1)’s HD2, with BetQL moving from HD3 to HD2 there. WOGL (98.1) retains its “Dance Party” HD2 for now, plus WPHT (1210) on HD3 and Phillies on HD4. The KYW (1060) simulcast remains on WIP (94.1)’s HD2, with Channel Q on WRDW (96.5) HD2.
There’s no change yet on anything in Boston, where the old WAAF rock format lives on for now in automation on the HD2s of WEEI (93.7) and WWBX (104.1) and “The Cove” lives on with soft oldies on WBGB (103.3)’s HD2.
In Pittsburgh, WBZZ (100.7) lost its HD2, which had been an automated throwback top-40 branded as “B94,” the last remaining legacy of the original WBZZ at 93.7. KDKA (1020) keeps its simulcast on KDKA-FM (93.7)’s HD2, Channel Q remains on 100.7-HD3, and WDSY (107.9) has the “WAMO” urban format on HD2 feeding a 107.3 translator, plus BetQL on HD3.
In Hartford, nothing has changed yet – smooth jazz continues on WRCH (100.5)’s HD2, while it’s Channel Q on WZMX (93.7)’s HD2, WTIC (1080) being simulcast on WTIC-FM (96.5)’s HD2, and a simulcast of Boston’s WEEI on WRCH’s HD3.
In western New York, the casualty was the “New Arrivals” alt channel on WLKK (107.7)’s HD2 in the Buffalo market, the last vestige of the old “Alt” format that had been on the main channel there until it flipped to country. WLKK’s “Wolf” country format remains on the HD2 of WTSS (102.5), feeding Buffalo’s 104.7 translator, with Channel Q on that HD3. WKSE (98.5) has simulcasts of two Audacy AMs, WGR (550) on HD2 and WBEN (930) on HD3.
And in Rochester, WCMF (96.5) lost the deep cuts classic rock automation on HD2 that had originally been programmed by morning host Brother Wease back when he worked there, as well as “Alt 98.9” on WBZA (98.9)’s HD2. Channel Q continues on WPXY (97.9)’s HD2, with sports “95.7 the Fan” remaining on WBEE (92.5)’s HD2, feeding a translator and WROC (950) – and Family Life Network remains on WBZA’s HD3, feeding a 94.7 translator in Rochester.
(What about Wilkes-Barre/Scranton? We’re headed that way later today and will update!)
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