Tuesday, February 5, 2008


Well, you gotta hand it to Emmis! What was the least likely format to pop up in New York? OK, OK -I know it's country (despite the fact that I believe Country could be a consistent 2.5-3.0 share in NY). Well after country it would be another rock station, a triple A station no less.

Radio-Info had the story this afternoon:
"The New York Rock Experience" - WRXP - may provide the tri-state area with the full-market adult alternative station that it's lacked. Emmis PD Blake Lawrence even promises that the on-air personalities and staff will "play a direct part in choosing the music", from artists like Franz Ferdinand, Springsteen, Nirvana, Coldplay, U2, Pearl Jam, the Who and Radiohead. First song today at 4pm: Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground's Rock and Roll, followed by what Emmis says is the world premiere of a new REM track titled Supernatural Superserious. WRXP replaces smooth jazz WQCD - which had been rumored to be on the market for sale by Emmis. The new website is here.
A few questions come to mind:
  • Are there enough sophisticated rock listeners in NY to drive a enough cume to the frequency?
  • Will the coalition of new music, classic rock, and alternative form a viable hybrid? (And I truly love hybrids)
  • Where is the audio stream? It seems a little behind the curve to launch without it.
  • With Smooth Jazz gone in NY, does this in effect issue a death sentence for the format nationally?
  • How much of WQCD's African-American audience (about 1/3) migrates over to WRKS (98.7) to further bolster its ratings?
  • Will WRXP's promise of personalities being involved in music selection:
    • flash back to the prog rock era of jock programmed shows or simply will they have a vote in the music meetings?
    • will this tactic be communicated over the air as a listener benefit?
    • will the masses care?
These are not naysayer questions--to the contrary. But anytime a big signal New York station does something outside the lines one has to ask the questions. I am happy to see someone taking a chance and doing something I would have to say is surprising.

We'll all be watching!


Don Beno said...

Good luck to Emmis, but I have to think someone will pick up the Smooth Jazz format....and quick.

Anonymous said...

It's Mike Henry's old 1994 format from Denver. Not much different than when it lasted 14 months there.