• WFAN Moving To FM & Taking Yankees With Them?

    Posted by on July 6th, 2012 · Comments (6)

    John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman in stereo? A warble in one speaker and crying in the other? Could it be?

    Via Jerry Barmash:

    Coming off its silver anniversary celebration, WFAN most powerful all-sports station in America, may be positioning itself for a dramatic dial switch to FM.

    Several factors are at play for WFAN to make that leap of frequency: First and foremost is last month’s announcement that CBS Sports Radio is being created. Original 24-hour programming will air on station’s throughout the country starting in January. But as early as September, CBS Sports Radio will provide updates to affiliated stations.

    One of those stations poised to take some of the network content is WFAN. Operations manager Mark Chernoff remains steadfast in the future of 660 AM.

    “WFAN is locally programmed, no change.”

    But there is much more to this story.

    ESPN got its much-coveted FM home in New York at 98.7 in April. Ratings have immediately been impressive. But beyond that, FM is not just attractive to listeners and advertisers, it’s attractive to sports franchises.

    The Yankees, heard on WCBS, are languishing through 2012 without a contract, in effect, like a lame duck president. They will be the biggest, off-season free-agent signing.

    A former CBS Radio employee, who asked to remain anonymous, tells FishbowlNY that the Yankees are likely done with WCBS.

    “If anything, they will go to the ‘FAN or WEPN FM,” the source says. “Whoever doesn’t get the Yankees will get the Mets, but there is a chance WFAN could try for both and clear the Mets on 660 and the Yankees on FM.”

    Despite the stronger night time signal AM offers, the Bombers will likely dictate the need for being on FM.

    “What the Yankees want to do is what the Giants have been doing, hold the broadcast rights and ‘lease’ time on a station,” the source adds. “WFAN then gets a guaranteed amount and loses the overhead of having to sell the spots while the Yankees retain total creative control and they have endless potential to profit as they sell spots. But it’s easier for those spots to be sold on FM even thought FM doesn’t have the full ‘reach’ like AM does.”

    Comments on WFAN Moving To FM & Taking Yankees With Them?

    1. July 6th, 2012 | 2:41 pm

      Well the problem here is the CBS radio FM cluster is doing well. Fresh, Now are both holding their own and although demo’s are an issue, WCBS FM is still making money (in fact it’s their 40th anniversary weekend). So where would the FAN format go. Which station do you flip, and keep in mind how difficult developing an AM format has become, what would they do with the 660 signal. I don’t think WFAN will make the jump at this time.

      The Yankee radio picture will be interesting, ESPN may be ready to make an offer to blow CBS out of the water.

      One other possibility for CBS would be to purchase Merlin’s 101.9 which has become a bust with a news format that is not cutting it. If that were to happen then CBS radio could remain in the picture, if in fact an FM is needed to make the deal.

    2. Evan3457
      July 6th, 2012 | 3:18 pm

      I don’t really care what station they wind up, as long as Sterling and Waldman are “retired”. If they retain Sterling and Waldman, they can put the Yanks on WFUV for all I care.

    3. baseballbob
      July 6th, 2012 | 6:48 pm

      If they move to FM, I think they’ll need to add a few more AM relays in places like the Hudson valley, as WCBS gets out sort of ok there but the FMs are blocked by local stations. I’d also miss being able to get them from Philly – they came in there during the day usually on a good receiver.

      I wonder if they’d look at WFME, the Family Radio FM that’s getting ready to be sold on 94.7.

    4. 77yankees
      July 6th, 2012 | 10:46 pm

      Evan3457 wrote:

      I don’t really care what station they wind up, as long as Sterling and Waldman are “retired”.

      Wishful thinking, unfortunately. As long as lipstick & toilet paper are utilized, any contract struck with WEPN or FAN will mandate that Sterling & Waldman continue in the radio booth.

    5. LMJ229
      July 8th, 2012 | 11:25 am

      Evan3457 wrote:

      I don’t really care what station they wind up, as long as Sterling and Waldman are “retired”. If they retain Sterling and Waldman, they can put the Yanks on WFUV for all I care.

      Amen to that! I can not stand listening to them anymore. I really don’t get why they are not fired. Doesn’t anyone in the Yankees hierarchy listen to the games on the radio?! Sterling is good for several blown calls a game and he never describes a play as it is unfolding. It’s sickening that we are stuck listening to someone who is more concerned with feeding his ego than he is with getting the calls right. And all Waldman tries to do is massage that bloated ego. We Yankee fans deserve so much better.

    6. July 8th, 2012 | 1:36 pm

      @ LMJ229:

      John is the AntiScully.

      The premiere franchise in all of sports with a radio play by play voice right from the dollar store. It’s ridiculous. It’s not even a question of could they do better, it’s a question of how could they do any worse. Waldman can’t even be judged effectively because the entire broadcast is about John. He doesn’t broadcast the game, he broadcasts his opinion of the game. For laughs, watch an inning on TV while listening to John do the game on the radio, your ears won’t believe what your eyes are seeing.

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