Merlin Media flips all-Newsers in NYC, Chicago


Merlin MediaLooks like Merlin Media CEO Randy Michaels has had enough of trying to raise ratings at FM News 101.9 (WEMP-FM, New York) and FM News 101.1 (WIQI-FM, Chicago). The final stories covered by both stations announced their format changes.

“Effective immediately, Alternative is back on the air in New York as New Rock 101.9 and Adult Hits are on the air in Chicago as i101. It was a difficult decision to make, but after a year of minimal audience engagement, coupled with the format’s inherent expense, I felt it was time to make a change,” said Michaels. “I’d like to thank the people who poured their heart and soul into the effort and I

wish them all the best.”

“After a year without Alternative in New York, I expect to see the audience rapidly

embrace New Rock 101.9. The market is wide open and the listeners are passionate for this type of music,” stated Jim Richards, Interim Operations Manager of WEMP and WIQI. Richards went on to say, “Chicago’s current competitive market matrix creates an incredible opportunity for Adult Hits and i101 is the ideal weapon for the battle.”

Here’s a sample of the first 10 songs on each station:

New Rock 101.9

Beastie Boys – No Sleep Til Brooklyn

Alex Clare – Too Close

Foo Fighters – Walk

Third Eye Blind – Graduate

Phoenix – 1901

Of Monsters and Men – Little Talks

Offspring – Self Esteem

Black Keys – Tighten Up

Pearl Jam – Daughter

Rage Against the Machine – Guerilla




*NSYNC – Bye Bye Bye

P!nk – Get the Party Started

311 – All Mixed Up

EMF – Unbelievable

Goo Goo Dolls – Name

Marky Mark & The Funky Bunch – Good Vibrations

Alanis Morissette – You Outta Know

Poison – Unskinny Bop

Britney Spears – Baby, One More Time

Salt N Pepa – Whatta Man

RBR-TVBR observation: Guess the naysayers were right: 1) The AM-band news stalwarts in Chicago and NYC were just too entrenched. And 2) Aiming at a younger crowd with human interest, entertainment and family tips/news wasn’t working—most of them are fixed on NPR. The best thing WEMP can do now is aim for more Indie Rock songs and steer away from any cookie-cutter alternative mix.


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