In a year already notable (notorious?) for the letting go of top Detroit drivetime radio talent (including former Greater Media brethren JJ & Lynne and Arthur Penhallow), CBS today announced that sister stations WOMC and WYCD will be consolidating their operations to Ferndale (where ‘OMC resides); not only sharing real estate but, perhaps, also on-air talent. 104.3 PM Driver Ted “The Bear” Richards is the first casualty of this coupling. The Detroit News’ Susan Whitall broke the story first.
Even radio insiders are watching closely for how this will all shake out. Country PD superstar Tim Roberts has been programming both stations for the better part of the past six months.
The utilization of air personalities on multiple partner stations is certainly nothing new. I turned down a job at rocker WPFR-FM in Terre Haute, Indiana more than 20 years ago that would have had me jocking live on the FM while also “babysitting” their satellite AM country station. Radio legend Ann Delisi reminded me earlier today that Chum twins 89X and CIDR have also been known to “double dip” their people. (To say nothing of the whole traffic reporting model).
That said, while the radio industry at large continues to suffer financially and budgets are tight, many question the wisdom of continuing to tamper with live, hometown, on-air talent; in particular when the Portable People Meter (PPM) continues to underscore that stations rich in personality and local content (i.e. news and sports radio) are thriving. After all, higher ratings translate into higher ad rates and increased revenue, right?