|Conservative talk host Curtis Sliwa returns to the airwaves on WABC (770) in its move to more local programming. (Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)|
Radio Talk Giant WABC Makes Bold
Move to Local Programming
BY RICHARD FISHER, KI6SN*
One of New York City’s top talk radio outlets is taking a measured and dramatic turn to locally-focused hosts and issues as a counter-move to the loss of two of its big-draw syndicated programs.
Cumulus Media-owned WABC (770 AM) made the announcement in January after popular conservative talk hosts Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity moved down the dial to WOR (710).
“We’re delivering on our pledge to invest in localized content that will entertain, inform and engage listeners while also providing advertisers unique opportunities to reach their customers on a sustained basis,” John Dickey, Cumulus’s co-chief operating officer, said in a statement.
Industry experts speaking at the Syracuse University-sponsored Audio Summit in September 2013 in New York City pointed to local programming as a key to success for AM radio stations in a saturated syndicated market. (IN DEPTH: See “The Power of the Microphone” in February CQ’s digital supplement, CQ Plus <http://cq-amateur-radio.com>. – KI6SN.)
WABC’s new lineup looks like this:
- Don Imus’ nationally syndicated “Imus in the Morning,” which has always had a New York-New Jersey-Connecticut sense-of-place, runs from 6 to 10 a.m.
- Geraldo Rivera focuses on New York news and issues from 10 a.m. to noon.
- From noon to 3 p.m. weekdays are Curtis Sliwa, a streetwise conservative, teamed with progressive Ron Kuby. They are up against Limbaugh and were previously teamed on WABC from 2000 to 2007.
- Nationally syndicated conservative host Michael Savage is on from 3 to 5 p.m., going head-to-head with WOR’s Hannity.
- NY1 TV anchor Pat Kiernan hosts a one-hour local show beginning at 5 p.m. His cohost had not been named at press time.
“In an era when listeners can go off in so many different directions, local is something you can’t take away from people,” Kiernan told the New York Times.
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