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Thread: Jax PPM Ratings & More

  1. #1
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    Jax PPM Ratings & More

    Even though 6+ numbers are meaningless, the rock format on (WWJK) 107.3 Planet Radio still looks flat and unimpressive. Planet’s now on a full-market signal yet they are only 0.01 more in share than Alternative X 106.5 (WXXJ) that’s on a 6000 watt stick. Yes, it’s all about specific demos. That's something to discuss.

    So how does Planet perform, especially in AM drive? Some of the posters have questioned the logic of having 5 hours of a Lex & Terry talk-fest instead of pounding away with music. I’m in that camp too. So, does L&T help or hurt Planet?

    The old Planet (WPLA) earned much higher shares when they moved to big stick 107.3 years ago and prior to X102.9 coming to Jax. Has the Planet brand taken a hit? It was off the air for a few years and returned on a translator that obviously had coverage area issues. Listener impressions may have been adversely affected too. Could Jax’s reputation as a rock market be overstated today?

    A poster on this board questioned the inclusion of Bon Jovi tunes on Planet’s playlist. Virtually every adult-oriented format features Bon Jovi music nowadays. Some believe this and the classic rock songs and artists offered could take some listeners away from (WJGL) 96.9 The Eagle. If that’s the strategy, it’s not been too effective yet. Eagle is the #1 music station in Jax in share. The exit of iHeart’s Adult Hits – The River -appears to have given Eagle a boost as well.

    We can’t discuss specific Nielsen ratings numbers here. However, it would interesting to gain some insight in Planet’s performance, especially in AM drive, and how they rank with men, 25-54 etc. I know squat about rock formats so I’d love to hear opinions of those in the know. Maybe all is well.

    There's other stations to discuss but Planet probably is a good starting point.
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    The subject of radio ratings has proven to be an enormously popular subject in many of the radio boards. In fact, some cities talk about it virtually every month. Jacksonville is a different animal. Perhaps as we move along, participation will grow.

    Recently, I spoke to my stepson who lives in Middleburg. He’s 41 and was a big Planet fan for a long time. He works in construction. It’s a common practice to find a radio (boombox) at construction sites. It helps pass the time and weather updates prove important too.

    They mostly listen to Classic Rock on 96.9 The Eagle or Country on WQIK. They switch stations so they don’t hear the same songs every day and to give the crew a chance to hear their favorite music etc. Both stations have great signals as these guys work in a lot of different areas. Mike, told me no one wants to hear that Lex & Terry bulls**t. It’s his radio and I’ll add he was never a L&T fan.

    Mike listens mainly to country music in his down time. That’s a big change from what I knew of his music taste. While I understand this is just one example and not scientific at all, I think about all the work places typically dominated by men. An automotive repair shop is a good example. I would think, music would rule. Once the radio is set on a station in the morning, it’s on that station for the rest of the work day. You have to wonder if that does place Planet at a disadvantage.

    I believe iHeart hasn’t had a clue what to do with that frequency for quite some time. Maybe the goal is Top 3 in men 35-49. Attracting advertisers who sign on because of L&T is another consideration. I don’t think anyone outside the inner circle really has a handle on decisions. Here, we can only speculate.

    6+ numbers do show us the popularity ranking of stations on the market. While I understand it’s all about specific performance in money demos, I still, nonetheless, find it useful to a degree. But the published numbers don’t tell a full story.

    Not all companies subscribe to Nielsen. Yet, there are various stations that do have impacts. I think that’s worth discussing too.
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    When I lived in Jacksonville, I absolutely loved visiting St. Augustine. Besides history at every turn, it had a bit of a tropical vibe to it which I really missed given the many years I lived in S. Florida. I never quite understood why Jacksonville ignored St. John's County. With incredible population growth and outdoor festivities almost a weekly occurrence in St. Augustine, there was lots of opportunity to get out in the community.

    With the arrival of PPM, the thinking may have been that the meter distribution in St. John's County was limited and wasn't worth the time and effort in doing radio promotions there. Foolish. There's an incredible number of people who live in St. John's County but who work in Jacksonville. Ingratiating yourself with listeners helps assures loyalty. Flagler Broadcasting was born, probably taking advantage of this situation. For a small company, Flagler Broadcasting is in a great position serving both St. John's and Flagler County.

    A few weeks ago someone told me Tony Mann got morning drive at St. Augustine’s Beach 105.5 (WBHU). So, I was eager to check it out. I listened via streaming. Tony has made the transition well.

    This is an Adult Hits format. Beach 105.5 is no Jack FM and that’s a very good thing. In my opinion, it’s much better than the usual Adult Hits fare you’ll find elsewhere.

    Flagler Broadcasting does not subscribe to Nielsen and so we don’t see their numbers. With St. John’s County in Jacksonville’s DMA, I often wonder about the number of listeners their stations attract. There’s local advertising and lots of it.

    I do know sales teams cannot quote specific Nielsen numbers when soliciting a client. So, I’m thinking they are probably emphasizing the years of experience of the management team and the quality of the playlists for starters. There are two “Beach” brands. One serves St. John’s County and the other Flagler. Flagler County, I believe, is part of Daytona’s DMA. These are not simulcasts as they are programed separately.

    There may be 40-50% of songs I don’t know but I realize I’m not in target. I’ve got my trusty “Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits 9th edition” on my desk at home. This has chart info of songs from 1955-2009 and is an invaluable resource. I research a number of songs. Beach really does jump around through time. I'm always learning!

    There’s a number of things I appreciate about the programing. One is it’s not formulistic or at least sounds like it’s not. The other is, even with, multiple decades presented, there is a consistency in sound which is not easy to achieve. Then there are those “wow” moments. Out of the clear blue, a “lost hit” comes on. It’s probably as mass-appeal as you can get nowadays. I believe “J.T.” is the mastermind behind the programing. Kudos!

    Besides Adult Hits, they offer news/talk, country, and even a variety based classic hits/hybrid oldies format branded as “Cool.” So, there’s a great deal we don’t always see in the ratings or impacts to any Jax stations.

    I suppose Flagler Broadcasting has found its niche but what a shame they don’t have more of a presence, outside of very southern Duval, in Jacksonville. Smaller communication companies have certain programing advantages in my view. Decisions are made locally and don’t have to go through a myriad of management layers.

    It’s a shame as well that a small company such as Renda Broadcasting didn’t operate more like Flagler. Jacksonville could have used an innovator and a company with creative programing. Renda fell short and wound up selling two stations in their cluster. Sure, there were lots more reasons but I was especially disappointed with Renda.

    Jacksonville is now super saturated with Country and Urban formats. I suppose it is what it is. More to come on all of that and more.
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    There was a time I questioned the integrity of radio ratings. That has changed. I’ve learned of the various controls and safeguards in place. In my view, Nielsen works hard to detect manipulation etc. They also make the proper adjustments when required. They are probably as good as it gets when it comes to measuring audience. A lot certainly rides on the accuracy of audience measurement. I'm a big fan of PPM and I wasn't always there.

    I also believe ratings are just one of a number of factors that are weighed in making a business decision affecting a format. Sometimes, decent or even improving numbers aren’t enough. That’s where things can get sticky and all kinds of things can happen.

    I was privy to a good deal of behind the scenes radio decisions when I lived in Jax. I never discussed specifics on this board but it showed me a side of radio that just turned me off. It’s a shame some things happened as they did but there’s nothing any of us can do about it. But, on the subject of ratings, not all things are equal. If you want to see what senior management really thinks of a station in the cluster, look at how they respond to ratings changes, especially downward trends. It says a lot. We’ve seen that on occasion in Jacksonville. A threat to a cash-cow can be a great motivator.

    Jax has also seen some really promising formats die prematurely. Others, despite limited popularity, keep on truckin.’ Ratings may not be rigged but maybe radio as a business is rigged. I'm thinking more and more that it is. There are tough and restrictive parameters in the business of radio. Maybe that explains what I view as irrational thinking that crops up sometimes. Many of my posts challenged that and to this day, I wonder how many people really got what I was saying.

    So,for that low-rated station that is automated, cheaper to operate, attracts younger-end 25-54, and doesn’t impact any other station in the cluster, it's logical and a sure bet that station will be given a lot more time and opportunity to make something of itself. Be the opposite, such as appealing to upper end 25-54, having an airteam, being fairly new, and earning middle of the pack numbers, and your days are numbered. It doesn't always have to be that way. I've seen so many cases where patience does have virtues.

    I'd like to step out of Jax for a moment to bring up Sunny FM in Orlando. (WOCL) They weren't always riding high in the ratings. But they were given a lot of opportunity and leeway to grow and they did. Jacksonville didn't always do that and I wonder always what could have been.

    I’ve noticed the top 5 stations in the most recent Jax PPM are perennial favorites. Every once in a while, a different station enters that Top 5. I have a feeling we may see a new occupant there. That may be worth discussing next.
    Last edited by JohnVero; 06-21-2019 at 05:07 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnVero View Post

    I’ve noticed the top 5 stations in the most recent Jax PPM are perennial favorites. Every once in a while, a different station enters that Top 5. I have a feeling we may see a new occupant there. That may be worth discussing next.
    Actually, my bad, that already happened in the April PPM. I look at the ratings each month but I must glanced too quickly. Country format WQIK found itself out of the top 5 back in April in probably their worst performance in like forever. I'm surprised that didn't make news on this board. I'm sorry to say but this board has gotten very lame. Just yesterday, I came to the conclusion that I will never again initiate a conversation here. It's just not worth my time when there's no back and forth with others joining the conversation. Anyway, back to the subject at hand.

    I recall WQIK earning double digit shares for a very long time. But to see the station drop to the mid 4's in April. Ouch! They are back in the Top 5 in May. iHeart's Urban AC, WSOL was in the Top 5 and that happens on occasion. Probably the major reason for this is the ridiculous amount of stations offering country. Jacksonville is not the only market that does this sort of thing sometimes. It rarely works in the long run. Besides country on Renda's WGNE Gator Country. There's country on 94.1 simulcast on 105.3 as well. Flagler added a country station in St. Augustine but I have no idea if it reaches into Jax too.

    I have to wonder what iHeart is doing/going to do to help WQIK. A while back, there were effective TV ads promoting their "Big Show" morning show. Over the years, promotional efforts have moved away from support of local stations to the iHeart concerts and their other social media platforms such as iHeart Radio. I now live in the West Palm Beach TV market and I do see TV spots for their AC WOLL which is a rarity I think. So many stations just have to fend for themselves. More penny wise and dollar foolish stuff.

    In the past, collectively, it looked like 15% or even more of the market was tuned into country. 94.1 and 105.3 don't subscribe to Nielsen but it looks like the shares for country are slowly dropping off. It may be part of what I feel is a changing market. Population: 1,319,500 Black: 278,700 (21%) Hispanic: 112,300 (9%). There are 4 Urban stations but iHeart really owns it. Cox Media has two formats each on a translator. Neither appears as a formidable threat. It doesn't look like there's a Spanish format which is a little puzzling. Personally, I think at least a Spanish Contemporary format should be in the offering.

    Ironically, when Renda Broadcasting sold off both 94.1 and 100.7, they eventually gave themselves more competition in the country format. It's another example of what I talked about earlier. Both those signals got crumbs for support.

    To expand on what I eluded to earlier as well. 94.1 was once a Soft AC and it was a St. Augustine station. Over time, their numbers began dropping from a near 3 to fractional shares. I never understood why nothing was being done to reverse that situation. It turned out the plan was to move WSOS-FM 94.1 to a Jacksonville signal and with that there would be increased billing revenue. It made a lot of sense. But unfortunately, Soft AC was probably considered competition for their cash cow WEJZ. I always thought both formats could have been programmed significantly different. Renda could have owned AC but obviously that didn't happen.

    Instead, classic rock came to 94.1 and with that was the return of the dynamic duo, Lex & Terry. It's clear Jax managements remain high on L&T as a Hail Mary Pass to save the day. Unknown to me, the station was being offered for sale and perhaps the thinking was classic rock and L&T would make the station more valuable. I doubt that did anything. Renda spent a lot more money buying that station than selling it. And so it goes.

    More to come.
    Last edited by JohnVero; 06-22-2019 at 07:35 AM.
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    We continue with a look at Jacksonville radio stations and the May PPM. Non-music formats don’t always get a lot of attention but should.

    WOKV was, for a long time, my main go to source for news and information. I can’t recall when WOKV first entered the Top 5 of most popular stations in the market but they’ve been there for quite some time. It’s one of the uniqueness’s of the market that news/talk is so popular. Their “Jacksonville Morning News” is a well-produced program. Their stories have long come across as clear and concise, yet informative.

    But, as time moved along, WOKV changed, in my view. I thought they were even better when they were associated with Ch. 4 news. There was no need to hype Ch. 4 and it was just a good news partnership. The news was the focus and not self promotion. Unfortunately, with Cox Media’s purchase of CBS 47 and Fox 30, there was now a TV news operation to run. That changed the dynamics somewhat and one that I felt went over the top sometimes.

    I understand the power of advertising and promoting your brand. No one can deny Cox’s success on both their TV and radio news. WOKV’s on-air presentation has been #1 in the ratings often and so it doesn’t appear to be an issue with the masses. I usually see things differently.

    On a sad note, I found out Bob Schuman passed away a few years ago. Bob once anchored the WOKV Jacksonville Morning News. As I was preparing this post, I thought of Bob and wondered what he was doing. So I surfed the web etc. and got the news. Bob was a longtime broadcaster and radio friend in Detroit. I was a big fan. WOKV with Bob and even Roxie Tyler was of a different time and place.

    WJCT-FM was on my car station presets for a long time when I lived in Jax. I listened to them more frequently in the last few years in Jax. WJCT-FM is a public broadcasting station featuring news and talk. It’s got some good local features. The hype is absent and I found that refreshing. I find it interesting that a public supported radio station subscribes to Nielsen. I haven’t determined if other public broadcasting stations in other markets also subscribe to Nielsen or how typical that is.

    WJCT-FM earns on average, mid 3’s, which sounds solid enough. What’s true is Jacksonville is a news/talk market.

    There’s also News/Talk WBOB which broadcasts on 600 AM and translates on 101.1 FM. They’ve made a number of programing changes since I last checked. I have no idea how they perform as WBOB does not subscribe to Nielsen. I have a feeling they don’t perform as well as WJCT-FM but this is just a guess. If only we could see non-subscribers numbers.

    Another non-music station worthy of mention is “1010 XL 92.5 Jax Sports Radio” (WJXL) The station has got a good local vibe to it. Their morning show features Dan Hicken and Jeff Prosser plus there’s other good local-appeal shows and talent on the schedule.
    I preferred 1010 XL to any other sports talk stations. WJXL is another station that doesn’t appear in the published Nielsen ratings. I have a feeling they do pretty well. I recall the station didn’t lack sponsors for sure.

    More station review and PPM to come.
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    Collectively, Urban formats in Jax earn just under a 15 share, according to the May PPM. Urban formats are among the most popular in Jacksonville and in other markets as well.

    Over 10 years ago, I discovered WSOL-FM better known as V 101.5, an Urban AC. They are a heritage station and have had a long history of performing well. They pop into the Top 5 stations overall sometimes. The song I first heard was Champagnes’ early 80s hit “How ‘Bout Us.” In case you’re not familiar with it, here’s the song:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=44rvsvMmEUM

    That song probably defines my musical taste to a tee. Mellow, soulful, awesome lyrics and melody. Simply, a great song. Some of the songs they played reminded me of living in S. Florida. Some of it was like the soundtrack of Miami’s Y100 of the early 80s.

    I noticed V 101.5 still features Bobby Caldwell’s late 70's “What You Won’t Do For Love” on their playlist. It’s an incredible song but shunned by many gold-based formats. This song and artist comes under the blue-eyed soul category. And there were many songs like that. I always got a kick out of typical reaction to that song as many never thought Bobby Caldwell was white. Personally, I’ve always been color-blind when it came to music.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7gV81mKADcA

    Worthy of mention is Cox Media’s “Hot 99.5 FM – Duval’s Only R&B.” There’s no hip-hop on the playlist and that’s why they can say “only” in their designation. This is a translator station. Early on, they played lots of great 70s tunes. If the station still features 70s, they are on a very minimal rotation schedule. I didn’t notice any in the few hours I reviewed. Even translator stations are moving on musically.

    Interestingly, Hot 99.5 features gospel tunes very early in the morning. I recall one of my co-workers turning on the radio in her cubicle first thing. She was a 50ish African-American and listened to Gospel. I was told that about everyone she knew did this as a morning routine. So, I can understand why Hot 99.5 offers this feature.

    iHeart’s “Praise 107.9” (Gospel) is a translator station (WKSL HD 3) yet performs decently in the ratings just slightly ahead of Hot. There’s The Promise (100.7) Christian Contemporary in the mix as well. The Promise doesn’t subscribe to Nielsen but I recall reading about their popularity in the market. With New York City’s recent sale and flip of WPLJ to a Christian programing, we can’t assume Gospel/Christian programing is a smaller market or even regional occurrence.

    With the exception of Jacksonville’s AC WEJZ, I never quite understood why so many soulful hits were shunned by most adult oriented formats. As an AC, WEJZ was limited in what they could offer. Classic Hits, on the other hand, had a lot more latitude, especially with specialty programing to include Saturday night party-themed shows. When Magic 107.3 (WJGH) Variety Classic Hits) came to Jacksonville, that situation improved but it was far from what other markets were offering.

    It’s logical we talk about classic hits in Jacksonville and their ratings next.
    Last edited by JohnVero; 06-25-2019 at 09:37 AM.
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    Classic Hits – Pt. 1

    On December 25, 2004, “96.9 The Eagle” was born and was branded as “Jacksonville’s Classic Hits.” In all my years observing format launches, if this wasn’t the best, it was damn close. What a great execution! The TV ad promotion that followed in the weeks and months ahead on the local channels got radio listeners up to speed quickly.

    They were prepared. There was obvious purpose. Their tight playlist would become a trademark. Like the music or not, they developed a consistency in sound. It’s something that so often falls by the wayside. The station became an immediate hit. As is often the case, a new format comes on the scene, and in a few months, it can start leveling off or find an audience losing interest. That’s has yet to happen. Eagle has been a ratings juggernaut.

    The format Eagle replaced was oldies and known as “Cool 96.9.” During this time, oldies formats were coming to an end fairly regularly. In a number of markets, former oldies formats were seen as updating their playlist and morphing into classic hits with eventual rebranding. Obviously, that slow approach did not happen in Jacksonville but I often wish it did, especially if it lead to the “Greatest Hits” or variety type classic hits format.

    For several months prior to Cool 96.9 flipping to the Christmas format and then finally to classic hits, the station began to significantly update their playlist. 50s and many 60s oldies were replaced with a more 70s sweet spot and pop-oriented sound. It looked like things were coming together. As often happens, even with ratings trending up, the station flipped. Once these decisions are made, they are rarely reversed.

    While the general public probably didn’t give much thought to this new format designation called classic hits, I felt the term was just not accurate. From the beginning, Eagle took a rock lean. Today, it’s very much a classic rock station. They don’t call themselves that as they have created a powerful brand in classic hits. But it is what it is.

    Across the country, listeners were being treated to this new format called classic hits but a lot of it was truly Retro Top 40. Similar to the oldies format formula, many of these new classic hits stations weren’t one note. The music now featured songs 10-15 years "newer. A good variety of genres from pop hits to disco to Motown to rock ‘n roll were part of the mix. It was a far more interesting sounding format, in my view, and this type of classic hits format was known as “Greatest Hits.” For reasons, I'll never understand, it took so very long for the format to eventually get to Jax. More on that upcoming.

    Even years ago, I believed formats like Eagle should have been designated as “Classic Rock Hits.” Variety gold-based formats should have been designated as “Retro Hits.” Even for advertising purposes, I thought those terms better described the format. I made those suggestions To Arbitron way back when and I still believe they have merit. Over the years, this subject has been discussed on the boards. There are those like me who don’t consider the “Eagle” brand or any heavy rock-leaning format as classic hits but then we don't make the rules.

    Eagle has had a number of challenges over the years. Apparently, no one has learned from their successful launch to their consistency in sound to effective teamwork. There’s a good deal of copycat radio. One would think the best practices of the most successful stations would be a blueprint for others to follow. It doesn’t always work that way.

    More on the classic hits format in Jacksonville, ratings and a look back.
    Last edited by JohnVero; 06-26-2019 at 07:07 PM.
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    Classic Hits – Pt. 2

    In August 2010, the former Clear Channel brought Classic Hits (WJGH) Magic 107.3 to market. Nine years later, I’m still convinced the format could have been a major contender in Jax. Lots of things went wrong. But I also believe sufficient numbers of listeners could have been attracted to the station. I say this because there was an excellent team assembled. That was a necessary foundation to build upon.

    One jock had extensive knowledge of the market and expertise in music. Another had a long career in broadcasting including management positions. He also worked for CBS Radio in Classic Hits. He knew Brian Thomas who ran WCBS-FM for crying out loud. If only that team was utilized and not overridden. Their Christmas Format Fail serves as one example.

    The PD did not have classic hits experience. Some may argue this was a tactical error. in hiring him. Maybe it was. Maybe it wasn’t. His expertise was AC and had a great track record there. We’ve probably all taken on a new job or responsibility where we had to learn the ropes. It's our motivation to succeed and also our motives that says a lot. From what I came to know, the PD wasn’t the problem. Because of his skill set, Magic’s AC should have been even more pronounced.

    Magic remained without a P.D. until November – 3 months after launch. Eagle, on the other hand, had a P.D. from Day One assuming new duties when Oldies Cool 96.9 flipped to 96.9 The Eagle. That makes a big difference. I assume there was no salary budget until severance was paid out from the previous format talent team. What a way to run a business if that's true.

    Barbara Latham was CC’s Jax MM at the time. Her “press release” painted Magic as “an oldies station.” There were references to the Beach Boys among the artists mentioned being played on the station. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot first thing. This is not the image that should have been conveyed. I have to wonder if she even had a clue of what classic hits formats can deliver.

    Not having a P.D. and an airteam for many months wound up hurting the station. What I believed hurt even more was the dysfunction and turmoil that went on in the management arena. The MM was out and replaced by Aaron Wilborn who was promoted from sales in another market. He was new on the job. Whether it was incompetence or just wanting to make a name for himself, it turned out he was the wrong man for the job.

    Changes were constant. Sometimes Magic sounded heavier like Eagle. Sometimes they sounded more AC again like WEJZ. That important “consistency in sound” that wraps listeners in a security blanket was just not there. As I mentioned earlier, Eagle has that and it helps drives their success.

    Gail Austin who I believe was an OM for quite a while at CC Jax was also out and replaced by Kris Abrams in September 2011. His brother was a classic hits format coordinator or something like that. I figured the two brothers would bring the necessary resources to the station to ensure success. How naïve I can be! His press release says it all:

    “Magic is early in its Classic Hits development with a lot of room for growth.”

    If only that was allowed to happen. 6 months after that statement, the Magic team was fired via a downsizing initiative. A month after that, Magic was gone and replaced by automated Jack FM.

    Interestingly, during Magic’s run, Eagle dropped out of the coveted Top 5 to #6 in one book. Jack FM never did that. There was a time, Eagle ramped up TV advertising. They were feeling Magic’s presence. Magic generally was in the 4.7 to 5.3 range for audience share. There were some bad books but they were also hitting their targets too. But, as we've learned, the expense of an airteam requires exceptional numbers allowing the billing dollars to flow. It's a wonder the decision was made to put Magic on in the first place. Had X102.9 never came to Jacksonville, it's probable Magic would have never been born. Sad to think that but it's probably true.

    Jack FM’s first book was not great. Maybe that explained further chaos. The MM was demoted to Sales Mgr. The OM was gone too. Neither lasted a year in their position.

    I was probably the station’s biggest fan. I don’t remember who on the team said this to me but he said “you were the first in the building.” I knew what he meant. I had pushed for the format so long on these boards that I felt like I was the one who brought Magic to Jax. I saw so much potential. It’s a shame those who had real influence didn’t see Magic the same way.

    Every once in a while I switch off SiriusXM and listen to good ‘ol radio. WQOL gets most of my attention. This is a classic hits station where I live now branded as “The Treasure Coast’s Greatest Hits.” This is an iHeartMedia radio station. It’s done exceptionally well. It goes to show, it’s not the company that’s always completely at fault. Local radio management plays an incredibly important role. As this string is about ratings, that right team can make all the difference.

    Next: AC format in Jax and the ratings
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    AC in Jacksonville

    The heritage AC is 96.1 WEJZ. The station has been lucky in that for many years, they had no direct competition. Why that was escapes logic. AC’s typically perform well being female-friendly and a darling to advertisers.

    102.9 was the frequency that saw Mix, Soft Rock, and for a good number of years the 80s “The Point.” I don’t believe any of these formats were AC but probably amounted to indirect competition for WEJZ. Before my time in Jax, I heard there was a “Coast” brand. I don’t know if this was an AC.

    WEJZ has a long-term and a well-known talent roster starting the day off with Arthur Crofton. His is an amazing career. I don’t believe newscaster Jim Byard is still there unless he just works behind the scenes. This board unfortunately doesn’t provide a lot of info on radio happenings in Jax.

    WEJZ has been a perennial resident of the top 5 stations in Jax for a very long time. Most times it could be counted on being in the Top 3. By the end of 2006, WEJZ had slipped pretty badly dropping to #7 overall. Management will almost always react quickly in downward turns when it involves a cash cow.

    In early 2007, Ed Fairbanks was out, and Chuck Beck was named OM and programmer. WEJZ’s ratings rebounded when the playlist got refreshed. No direct competition can make a station just go through the motions. I found that happened with WEJZ and WJGL (Eagle) as well. A strong competitor can make a station be the best it can be. Great ratings happen when all involved are firing on all cylinders.

    My personal taste for AC doesn’t reflect what Jax AC listeners think. Despite ‘EJZ’s popularity, I never cared much for it. From their voice imaging to their music scheduling, I considered the station just average. It sounded too “formulistic” with a smaller market vibe. While I understand the nature of formatting, I can listen to WFEZ in S. Florida (Easy 93.1) and their refreshing and relaxing music. There’s no doubt formulistic aspects to the music scheduling but it flows so much nicer.

    Speaking of “Easy,” there’s a WEJZ competitor in WEZI “Easy 102.9.” The format has gone through a radical change. They started out on lower powered 106.5 as a true Soft AC. There was a uniqueness as many of the songs featured hadn’t been heard in Jax for years. I wasn’t surprised that didn’t last long. There may have been 25-54 issues or even concern it could indirectly impact Eagle. The playlist had a number of “Greatest Hits” elements to it. Today, it's an undeniable AC. The music doesn't fit the brand name but a lot of formats around can say the same. Just look at AC "KOOL" in West Palm. I doubt rebranding will occur at Easy.

    S. Florida’s WFEZ has updated and moved the music “sweet spot” to a contemporary place. But they have stayed true to the “Easy” brand. WFEZ has that “consistency in sound” that is critical and it's one more peg in achieving success. WEZI did not do the same. There’s incredible on-air talent on WFEZ. I can’t understand why some of them couldn’t voicetrack a daypart or two on WEZI. Easy 102.9 certainly lacks female presence both on the air and being out in the community.

    I’m not sure if the station is being run by a person with AC experience. Then again, it wouldn’t be the first time a format was managed by someone in Jax who lacked the know-how. The station has dropped commercials on Monday. That’s costly but it appears Cox Media is in it to win. That’s the best spin I can give Easy 102.9 at this time.

    Next: CHR & My final thoughts
    Radio is full of surprises. Stay tuned! ~ For inspirational content, follow me at https://twitter.com/LifeWithJohn. Contact me at [email protected]

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