Monday, March 15, 2010

That Lousy Ticket Signal -- and What to Do About It, Part 2

A few months back I suggested that The Ticket switch signals with The Bone (93.3 FM), which is now something called "i93hits," I think. My thought was that Cumulus should simply give The Ticket the much better signal of a much worse-performing station in its station lineup.  They could give The Ticket 93.3 and do something else with 104.1.

I don't know if "i93hits" is doing better than "The Bone" at that address.  Probably too early to tell in the way radio-station-gestation periods are measured.  But how good can it be doing if it's playing the same thing everyone else is playing? I dunno, I don't know nothin' 'bout birthin' radio stations.

But I do know that radio conglomerates do move solid stations to better signals that they own, or add simulcasts.  (I couldn't find when The Ticket was given 104.1, but I think it was during Susquehanna's stewardship, and Cumulus also simulcasts The Ticket on 1700AM.)  Case in point: WSCR-AM "The Score" is the pioneering sports-talk station in Chicago.  Its owner gradually improved its AM signal since its founding in 1992, and it now broadcasts at 670AM, a 50,000 clear-channel signal formerly held by NBC affiliate WMAQ.  But The Score apparently isn't stopping there.  I found this in a recent online edition of "Talkers" magazine, the talk-radio-industry bible.

“The Chicago Sun-Times’ Lewis Lazare writes that although a source with CBS Radio tells him there is nothing on the drawing board to put an FM simulcast on its WSCR, Chicago, he believes the company will do it soon – perhaps before the White Sox take the field in April. Lazare notes the languishing ratings of AC WCFS-FM and speculates that WSCR – which finished 10th in the market adults 25-54 in the January PPM – could really capitalize on an FM signal. Previously, there had been chatter in Chicago that Bonneville might take an underperforming FM and flip it sports but there has been no movement there.”

So I republish my previous suggestion that Cumulus give The Ticket 93.3 FM, a 50,000-watt FM signal licensed to Haltom City; I don't know where the transmitter is.  (104.1 FM is 6200 watt licensed to Sanger.)  A strong signal that reaches the entire DFW metro area.  Don't know anything about radio station economics, but I have to believe that a move like that would instantly enhance ad rates and increase demand for ad time on The Little One.

Because more people could hear it, and because the people who hear it now could do so secure in the knowledge that they would not lose the signal while crossing the street, or have it magically transformed in mid-bit into a Christian talk-radio station from Tyler.

Now, I do have it on good authority that Cumulus is taking some regulatory and engineering steps to solve some of its lousy-signal issues.  I am skeptical that they will do much good at the current power authorizations for 1310 AM and 104.1 FM.  But perhaps things will get better without an entirely new signal for The Ticket.

If Cumulus decides not to heed Your Plainsman’s generous counsel, perhaps it could spend a couple hundo and chip in some new cables, plugs, and iPod playback hardware for the studio.


James said...

Funny that you pots this today, as WBAP has begun a simulcast on 96.7 FM this very morning.

P1 Steven said...

Plainsman. Recently I emailed the Catman and asked why there was no original programming in the evening. I received a somewhat short, but detailed return email within the hour. I would suggest sending an email, he seems nice enough to throw a bone and be honest about it. If you like I can forward his response. In addition, I also lived in Chicago and listend to both of their local sports Stations. Both had solid lineups & solid signals.

Tim said...

I've emailed Cat before too. He's pretty good about emailing listeners. I've actually emailed him about how a station that pulls in boffo ratings and money can have possibly the worst signal in Dallas. He told me that it's something in the original contract and having to do with the original owners of the 1310 signal. I hope I'm not fibbing about the content (it's been a couple of years back), but it was something to that effect. My drive home is a mess, changing from 104.1 to 1310, to 1700, usually missing parts of conversation because of the delay in the two AM signals. I would be in hog heaven if they would give The Ticket the 93.3 signal. Most of the area can pick that up strong.