Broadcast Notes

Well, WDAM was supposed to get a new set earlier this summer. But, construction crews have been delayed.

Finally! They’re coming for sure next week. The morning show I produce — as well as the late night news — will be staged on our new interview set next week (been up for months). The other newscasts are going on the road while the crews tear down our 11-year-old set to make way for the new one.

Time once again for another in a series of occasional swipes at the local chapter of Clear Chuckle Radio. The radio show Valvoline’s Southern Sports Tonight is in Hattiesburg today to broadcast their show live tonight. Obviously, they’ll be talking about Southern Miss.

Ah, but here’s the catch — actually, two of them. The local VSST affil is WFOR-1400 — a 1000 watt AM Clear Chuckle station — meaning they don’t cover much territory.

Hell, lately it seems like they’re not on full blast. I live barely 10 minutes from that station and I’ve been having trouble picking them up. Just like the tree falling down in the forest with no witnesses, the point is does anyone really know a regional radio show is in town? I’d imagine not many.

The other catch — and I don’t mean for this to be a partisan entry — Rock 104’s airing the third installment of the Southern Miss coach’s call-in show up against the final hour of VSST. Rock 104 is a 100,000 watt FM station. When it comes to finding out what’s up with the Golden Eagles as we near the season-opening kickoff, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out where most of the listenership’s going to be.

But getting back to WFOR. In fairness to them, the topography of this area doesn’t make for an AM-friendly market. Because of that, the only real success in AM I’ve witnessed in my 10 years here in South Mississippi was when WQIS-890 was urban contemporary station “Q89”. The only drawback: they have to sign off at night because of the dial setting — same as WLS-890 of Chicago.

To give you a little background, WQIS is the sister station of SL-100, my previous radio home. After a long and successful run with urban contemporary programming, management noted a decline in the ratings and changed the format — to news/talk radio. The effort was there, we had folks from local TV guest host some of our local shows — yet we’d often go an entire show without taking a live phone call from a listener (therefore, we had to “fake” such calls). Heck, we even had Rush Limbaugh’s show and that didn’t equate to the numbers (ratings and revenue) urban contemporary pulled in.

Anyhoo, after I left SL, WQIS would go through a few more format changes. In November of ’96, they traded in Rush and the rest for beautiful music. Yes, nothing like a little AM static to go with your Perry Como. Ever since the sales to Cumulus and Clear Chuckle, WQIS was given the calls WEEZ — as a few stations shuffled some calls and formats within their family — and is now a black gospel station. A very mild throwback to the Q89 days.

When the Blakeneys bought WHSY-FM to remake it into Rock 104, they also got WHSY-AM1230 in the deal. Think the carrier’s been signed on? Nope. WHSY-AM’s coverage reach was about the same as WFOR’s now.

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