Last Friday afternoon, WINZ 940 dropped its Progressive Talk lineup in favor of Fox Sports. They’ll be going by the name The Sports Animal 940 and will be broadcasting Fox Sports programming, the Florida Gators and the Miami Heat.
By switching its format to sports, 940 joins an oversaturated sports programming market. Ratings leaders WQAM (560), The Ticket (WAXY – 790) are joined by WFTL sister stations 640 and 1400 providing sports outlets for a very weak sports talk market.
As a Progressive Talk station, WINZ beat each of the 4 sports stations as they finished second in the battle of English AM stations. Only conservative talk WIOD finished ahead of WINZ in the ratings. Both stations are owned by Clear Channel.
This statement contains numerous inaccuracies which I must point out.
“The audience for the format is very loyal but also very small compared to WIOD, WQAM/WAXY and the FM’s.”
First of all, AM radio is not as popular as FM in any market that I am aware of. There are only a couple of AM stations that do remarkably well and the rest post mediocre numbers. WIOD is the number one English station in the market so I could say that about every other English speaking station. The way that WINZ management can make the WQAM/WAXY comment true is if they combined the numbers from both stations. WINZ as a progressive station beat both WQAM and WAXY individually. And remember that WQAM broadcasts The Neil Rogers Show from 10-2 which consistently ranks atop the ratings.
They proceed to discuss the sales numbers which I can not dispute since I do not have access to their data but what I can point out is the logic behind this. It is important for me to once again state that in the last ratings book WINZ finished above WQAM, WAXY (The Ticket), WFTL 640 and 1400.
640 previously broadcasted Fox Sports to dismal ratings. Fox Sports switched this past Friday to WINZ. Why would we expect the ratings to improve drastically especially since most listeners are happy with the local programming on WQAM and WAXY?
Therefore, if the ratings on WINZ plummet as logic would indicate, how could the WINZ management expect the sales numbers to improve if so few people would be listening?
“So the economy, Randi Rhodes (a huge part of WINZ) losing her syndication and the size of the listening audience forced this company to make this decision.”
The Economy: Did the economy just get bad? Did I miss something for the last 8 years?
Randi Rhodes: Randi’s last show was February 3, 2009
In doing research, I discovered this link that referenced a format switch on February 2, 2009. Black Monday continued: WINZ flipping to sports?
This decision was not made on the fly. This must have been in the works.
I found this blurb on the Miami Herald website dated January 29, 2009. Randi Rhodes was still on the air.
Size of the audience: Remember that they were the #2 English AM in the market. If that is the case, shouldn’t every station dump their format or go off the air?
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The fact is Clear Channel owns WINZ along with 7 other South Florida stations. They can do whatever they want. Complaining to WINZ management will do no good. This was not a rash decision and was clearly planned for months.
So what do we do about it?
My recommendation is that we all contact WFTL 850 and ask them to consider dropping their weak conservative talk format (their ratings barely register) and pick up Progressive Talk broadcasting as many shows live as possible.
Local programming at 6-9, Stephanie Miller from 9-noon, Thom Hartmann from noon-3, Randi Rhodes from 3-6 (more on her in a moment) and Mike Malloy from 9-midnight.
I’m sorry to say that I am not a huge Lionel fan and nor do I enjoy the program from 6-9 on Sirius.
Randi Rhodes started on Nova M on April 10, 2008. I have to assume that she is under a 1 year contract which means that we should be hearing more from her any day now.
A shake-up at 850 is necessary and their conservative programming is loaded with WIOD rejects.
Regardless, any station would be wise to consider the Progressive Talk line-up. WINZ had good ratings and every listener would most certainly move to the new station.
If you have suggestions on how we can bring Progressive Talk back to South Florida – please let me know.
If I hear anything – rumors or facts – I will post on this site and link to it from this post.
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