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Merlin Brings News to FM in New York

Michaels, Sabo talk up the power of ‘spoken word’ radio

New York now has an all-news station on FM.

Randy Michaels’ new company Merlin Media has launched “FM News 101.9” on WEMP(FM) and is promoting it as “New York’s only 24-hour FM all-news station.” The station is the former WRXP; Merlin has an agreement to buy it from Emmis.

The company recently made a similar move to put FM news on the air in Chicago.

The format emphasizes “credible and relatable news,” “easy-to-understand traffic reports,” weather and information about “health, family, career, money, entertainment, and more.”

Industry observers will watch closely to see how the format does in a city where AM news has long been a staple.

The phrase “spoken word” was a key part of this announcement. It quoted CEO Randy Michaels saying, “As music moves to the mobile device, now is the time to put spoken word on the band most people use.”

COO Walter Sabo repeated the mantra: “Spoken word, since the beginning of radio, has consistently been the top billing format in the world. The one-on-one relationship with the radio is an active, impactful, natural and entirely compelling experience.”

Air talent includes Alice Stockton-Rossini and Dave Packer co-hosting morning drive. Other prominent roles will be filled by Hilarie Barsky, Steve Langford, Daniela Bilotta; Victoria Keelan, Brett Larson and Catherine Smith.

Randy Michaels to Buy Three FMs From Emmis (June 2011)