Greater Media unplugs NewsTalk 96.9 but is the new urban contemporary format a stunt?
Boston has been without a full-time urban contemporary radio format for seven and a half years, but that's all changed this morning. WTKK's talk format signed off to the sounds of Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" as Rhianna's current hit "Diamonds" launched brand new Power 96.9 a few moments after 10am.
At 10:06am, Greater Media issued a vague press release which has raised questions whether this format, as it's heard currently, will be a keeper or perhaps something else or some variation of it may be in store for later this week. A bare-bone klutzy-looking website, lack of any kind of social media presence on Twitter or Facebook and sloppily-produced imaging and sounders made many radio observers wonder what Greater Media has in mind as far as the final product goes.
As you may recall, the urban contemporary-formatted WBOT/Hot 97-7 was sold by Radio One to Entercom in 2005 for $30 million and converted to WKAF, serving as a downtown relay for suburban active rock signal WAAF 107.3. Although Boston hasn't had a 24-hour urban format for a while, a number things have changed as far as format's popularity here and elsewhere go. For one thing, urban contemporary format has been steadily declining in popularity nationally over the past few years according to Arbitron study released last month. A clear indication of that was Clear Channel's WJMN/Jamn 94-5 shifting to a more radio-friendly segment of the urban contemporary genre with "Hip Hop and Hit Music" tag in the past couple of years, dropping its longstanding "Hip-Hop and R&B" market image.