Cumulus takes big gun WMAL to FM; competes with WTOP


First platform change following acquisition of Citadel stations Cumulus will simulcast in  Washington, DC’s 630 WMAL AM on 105.9 WVRX FM.

In an effort to compete directly with the nation’s highest-grossing radio station, Cumulus media today at noon begins simulcasting news and talk programming from 630 AM WMAL on 105.9 FM WVRX — providing FM listeners in the DC area with access to WMAL’s 85 years of award-winning programming and community service.

This simulcast uniquely positions WMAL/WVRX to compete head-to-head with WTOP, whose $57 million in annual ad sales make it the highest-grossing station in the nation. Key to victory in DC: Follow the MONEY!

While WTOP has a repetitive news-wheel format, WMAL/WVRX programming is interactive through a mix of news reports and call-in shows that allow for engagement with listeners.

“When we grew to 570 stations nationwide last week, after closing the Citadel deal, I told my team to be creative at using innovative ways for the newly acquired stations to bolster our community involvement and that’s what our Washington, DC team has done so elegantly here,” said Lew Dickey, CEO of Cumulus.

WMAL President/General Manager Jeff Boden: “By expanding our successful brand to the FM dial, we will be a viable listening and advertising option for many more people in the Washington, D.C., area.”

Boden also stated: “There are many potential listeners who never listen on AM, and we are now making programs of wide interest available to the largest possible audience. Programming simulcast as of noon today on AM and FM includes The Chris Plante Show, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin and “Morning Majority” (hosted by former Fox News anchor Brian Wilson, “The Daily Caller’s” Mary Katharine Ham and WMAL veteran Bryan Nehman).

On Friday, 9/16/11, following approval from the Department of Justice and Federal Communications Commission, Cumulus completed a $2.2 billion purchase of Citadel Broadcasting and is now the nation’s largest pure-play radio owner with 570 stations reaching 93% of Americans each week.

RBR-TVBR observation: Perfect timing in Washington, DC as the political money flows consistently. WMAL is a legend and this head-to-head match-up will bring a higher level of market competition and a higher value to DC radio.

Next important factor for Cumulus will be to establish a strong internet web portal. DC is a different market as it is a mobile market and the internet with today’s mobile devices play a very important part in the DC metro and especially inside the beltway.

That is all you hear on national news from all news organizations:  Follow us on Twiitter – just got an email from the White House – etc.  Cumulus to win they must build a strong web portal.