Lee Rust will testify that Jazz on FM works in Rochester. Jazz on AM in Buffalo? Not likely. Jazz FM 91.1 is on a pre-select in my car and the signal is easily received in Lancaster and it's where I get my jazz fix.
It would appear music on AM is an all but failed mission. It is, after all 2011. KB failed with Oldies, as did 1540 WCKY Cincinnati, another 50kW flamethrower, operated by Clear Channel. Much is written here about Toronto's unique Standards AM 740. There are 5 million people in the Toronto CMA
. AM 740's ratings in Buffalo are marginal. Even Buffalo's Standards station, Swing 1270 WHLD, tailed off in the Spring 11 book. From what insiders tell me, WHLD's only strength is Persons 65+.
1400 WWWS plays R & B Oldies and holds a fairly consistent Persons 12+ rating, but 104.1 WHTT delivers a nearly 7 to 1 advantage. If AM 1400 was a stand alone, it would be a tough sell, but its value comes as being part of the Entercom cluster and as an add-on to Star 102.5. This being said, WWWS probably makes more money as an add-on than does WECK, in either of its format permutations, be it the recently aborted Talk-Sports format or the present amalgam of 80s-90s music.
As 2012 approaches, it's unlikely that a significant, salable number of listeners or "members" (Persons 25-54 and 35-49) will choose to listen to music, whether it's deep cuts from Ambrosia
or jazz greats such as Oscar Peterson
, on a noise-plagued low power or highly directional AM station. Listeners younger than 55 grew up listening to their favorite music in static-free FM stereo.
They're going to listen to Jazz or pop music
formats on AM because they can't find that special format on FM? Fine, there's your one share. Make money selling that
to advertisers and underwriters like Basil Automotive, Celino & Barnes or Raymour & Flanigan in a market as media competitive and advertiser/donor cash-strapped as Buffalo.
Twenty years ago, programmers and owners came to understand that listeners believed "AM is for talk, FM is for music" and an evolution was in place. Radio listening now has evolved to point where listeners believe "iPods and smart phones are for music and FM is for talk." Smart-thinking programmers and owners are moving the spoken word formats such as news, talk and sports to FM. So where does this leave AM, especially as a vehicle for music? Certainly not a haven, be it jazz or otherwise.