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Moves on the Radio Chess Board

Genesis stations step down the dial and power up

This is one in a series of case studies in a special section of the Oct. 7 issue of Radio World called “Radio 2010: Traditional Solutions Blend With the New,” in which radio managers discuss how they are preparing for the next decade of the millenium by improving their businesses in traditional and nontraditional ways.

Allan Davis On the AM band, transmission power matters … a lot. So when Florida’s Genesis Communications purchased Tampa Spanish-language station WMGG — and its 50,000 watts of daytime power on 820 kHz — from Mega Communications last year, company management had a shuffle in mind.

To capitalize on WMGG’s big reach throughout the state, Genesis moved its flagship Tampa news/talk WWBA format from its 1040 AM slot to the 820 frequency and transmitter facility.

Next, Genesis’ Tampa ESPN affiliate WHBO was moved from 1470 kHz to the vacated 1040 frequency. Finally, the 1470 station took the call letters WMGG and rebranded as Bay Biz 1470, the city’s new business talk station.

“Through one simple purchase, we were able to boost the reach and power of our two Tampa AM stations and launch a third,” says Allan Davis, Genesis Communications’ VP of programming.

“Being able to expand our vital WWBA news/talk station outside of Tampa to go up and down the Florida coast was a huge boost to our reach. But WHBO and its ESPN sports fans also benefitted from getting a better signal and dial position than before. Finally, Bay Biz 1470 serves a niche that was ignored until now.”

The 1040 signal is licensed for 3.6 kW by day while 1470 is licensed for 5 kW. All three stations reduce power at night.

Genesis’ AM station shuffle is part of a larger strategy, aimed at making its content as accessible as possible.

“We are offering our six stations’ content on the Web and through Radiolicious’ iPhone application,” Davis says.

“In doing so, our goal is to give listeners as many routes to our content as possible. So if you can’t get Bay Biz 1470 on your radio, you can still get us on the Web or your wireless handset.”