Will ESPN rock out in the Apple


The rumor mill is floating the idea that Emmis Communications is considering the sale or lease of its WRXP-FM in New York City, and that the buyer/tenant will be Walt Disney Company. Disney wants a new home for ESPN WEPN-AM. But while unaffiliated tongues are wagging, some principals are holding theirs and Emmis honcho Jeff Smulyan tells us there are no talks in progress.

Emmis has made some high profile hires to establish WRXP as a viable Alternative in the Big Apple, including Matt Pinfield and Leslie Framm. It is still fighting to become a force in the ratings and of course, like all radio stations, it is operating in a highly unfavorable economic climate.

Although most of its radio stations were sold to Citadel, Disney hung on to the bulk of its sports and children’s stations. WEPN is locked in a format duel with CBS Radio’s WFAN-AM, a duel in which WFAN has the upper hand.

RBR/TVBR observation: WEPN has 50 kw to work with, but it is boxed in on its 1050 kHz dial perch by CHUM in Toronto and by KYW-AM Philadelphia, one click up at 1060 kHz. Better coverage of the full NYC market would be an invaluable addition to the station’s arsenal.