ESPN Radio Moving To 98.7 FM; Kiss-FM And WBLS To Merge


This morning ESPN Radio announced that its long-in-the-works move to New York’s FM dial would happen as the clock struck midnight Sunday morning, and its landing place is a bit distressing: 98.7, the soon-to-be-former home of the Urban Adult Contemporary outlet WRKS, a.k.a. Kiss-FM. (The complex machinations behind the deal are outlined at Radio-Info.) The official statement cited changes in the way radio ratings are measured as a reason behind the move, even though Kiss-FM was tied for sixth in the New York market last month, according to Arbitron. (The absolute dominance of WLTW, a.k.a. “Lite FM,” on that chart is pretty staggering, by the way. Is Delilah the most powerful woman in New York?)

As it turns out, Kiss-FM isn’t totally going away: It’s just getting shunted to 107.5 FM, to be exact, which is the current home of WBLS-FM. The two stations will apparently merge; all morning their programming has been simulcast on both Kiss-FM and WBLS, with commercials heralding the “future of black radio” being spliced in between songs. One could argue that this future being a consolidated and out-of-the-middle-of-the-dial one is not all that good of a thing, couldn’t one?

So what parts of Kiss-FM will remain after the dust clears? From the official word on the merger:

The music and thecommunity of NYC will come together Monday, April 30th at 12AM and the legacy of WRKS will continue as midday air personality Shaila and night air personality Lenny Greene join the WBLS family. Shaila will occupy the mid-day shift from 10a-3pm and Lenny Green will continue in the evenings from 7pm-12am.

No word on what other shows might survive the move—or, for that matter, what WBLS jocks will be lost in the shuffle. At least soon-to-be-former Kiss-FM parent Emmis Communications noted in its official statement that the severance packages it was doling out would be generous?

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