Skip to comments.Charlotte's WDYT (1220) shuts down due to the economy
Posted on 01/29/2009 10:29:32 AM PST by raccoonradio
The talk station, which carried syndicated talkers Sean Hannity & Bill O'Reilly, has gone silent, says the Charlotte Observer. Station owner Danny Fontana, who positioned his station as a competitor to WBT-AM (1110) tells the newspaper the economy is to blame, saying, I think our format was the right one, but the economic conditions right now are the worst I've ever seen. Fontanas CRN Communications plans to hold on to the station license, and says its considering options from selling the station or changing the format. WDYT came in 21st in the latest Arbitron ratings
(And when you go to their website it doesn’t say they’re off air but when you click lineup it gives you a “not authorized to view” message)
Talk radio station goes off the air
Advertising downturn doomed Danny Fontana’s 3-year-old effort, WDYT-AM.
By Mark Washburn
Posted: Thursday, Jan. 29, 2009
Struggling talk radio station WDYT-AM (1220) has gone off the air, the latest victim of an advertising market in free fall.
Revenues fell below the expense levels, said Danny Fontana, a Charlotte investment adviser who used to be on rival WBT-AM (1110) and launched WDYT three years ago. I couldn’t see running in the red.
Fontana assembled investors to buy the station for $950,000 in 2006 from former N.C. lottery commissioner Kevin Geddings, who was later convicted of mail fraud. Its transmitter was moved from Kings Mountain to Gaston County to improve signal strength in Charlotte, but it was still difficult to receive in parts of the core market.
Even with the addition of key syndicated talents like Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity, WDYT found it hard to crack the market amid the advertising downturn and went through a series of layoffs.
In the most recent Arbitron ratings period, for the fall quarter, the station ranked No. 21 in audience share. That put WDYT on the lower end of the spectrum among major stations in the region.
On Monday, WDYT notified the Federal Communications Commission it had ceased transmitting.
Fontana said his group, CRN Communications, does not intend to give back the station’s license. CRN continues to hold it under a 30-day agreement with the FCC, which can be amended for an additional year.
Fontana said CRN was looking at options ranging from selling the station to coming back with a different format.
I think our format was the right one, but the economic conditions right now are the worst I’ve ever seen, he said.
He said the group will continue to look for new financing.
Advertising sales have plummeted for all traditional media, print and broadcast, for more than a year. That’s led to cost-cutting moves, including layoffs. Some analysts predict broadcast revenues will decline more than 10 percent this year, led by cuts in the key automotive ad sector.
>>Advertising sales have plummeted for all traditional media, print and broadcast, for more than a year
The libs want to force progressive talk on the air with a fairness doctrine, even if it would doom stations to fail.
But what can be said when even a right-leaning station
down in N.C. has to shut off because the advertising
just isn’t there? (Imagine what it’s like if you’re
in radio and you have a fairly successful right-leaning
station. Then the feds come in and force you to put on
Rachel Maddow, Randi Rhodes, Ed Schulz, Ron Reagan Not-A-Jr...
The real fun is going to start when the big talk radio guys start getting told they either take massive pay cuts of they get replaced.
Ad rates pay for everything. Ad rates are sinking into the toilet, and it dosent matter how popular a host is; The amount of money they get paid per listener is based on the listener spending at retail. That’s what the advertiser is paying for, the access to the listeners wallet.
The wallet gets lighter, the pay scale goes into atrophy.
CBS kicked off local overnight hosts in Minnesapolis, Pittsburgh, and Boston and started an overnight show based
at their St Louis station, Overnight America, to save money.
But listeners of the overnight host, Steve Leveille, organized a protest (contacting advertisers etc.) saying that the show was valuable and had listeners who were dedicated
(CBS must have felt it wasn’t worth paying the guy, even though he wasn’t making much money). He returns next week.
(CBS didn’t want to risk advertiser defections, etc.)
But it is interesting, about the “big talk radio guys”. I do
know Rush and Hannity signed big deals, etc. but they’re
a license to print money for Premiere/Clear Channel
and Citadel/ABC/Clr Channel (a new partnership), respectively. But you could see local hosts get cut.
>>The wallet gets lighter, the pay scale goes into atrophy.
That’s very true, but I wonder if they could find another way to cut costs. (In Boston WBZ’s storied reputation
went into the toilet and they figured the host—who really doesn’t make all that much—was worth bringing back.
I did read somewhere, though, that Arbitron doesn’t
bother to do ratings for overnight hosts...
Well the high paid radio talkers could spend a few bucks on the BC lawsuits that some of us have been contributing to.
I guess flying around in your Gulfstream, going to see the Steelers, smoking cigars, living in Marin county and San Fran or sucking up to people like Lanny Davis (Hannity). The two legal beagle talkers - Ingraham - dull and RINOish and Levin just calls people a big dope. They are no help.
Rush is getting in the fight now at least.
To understand the economy look at a chart of the S&P 500 starting in june 2008 - right after that O gets nominated 7 it starts going down.
Keeps sinking a dives in October when the polls have O up 20%. Rallies a little Nov 1 to 4th on better poll numbers for Juan McCain.
O wins and the market sinks lower. No rally yet.
The public and business has no confidence in him just dread.
I live in the Upstate of SC - about 75 miles from Charlotte. Our local talk radio, WORD, transmits on two AM frequencies (950 & 1330) and they recently added 106.3FM. I don’t think this story is giving the whole picture regarding the talk radio market in this region.
Bush will no doubt be blamed for the market sinking but after awhile I’d hope people would wake up and see 0 did it...
Ingraham has her fans and also her detractors; some don’t feel
she’s dull and she’s one of the top rated hosts or at least
is high up there in having many affiliates. Though it is possible she’s on so many stations because Talk Radio Network,
which also does Jerry Doyle, Michael Savage, Monica
Crowley, and Phil Hendrie, may charge only a small fee or
no fee at all (as long as ads are carried) and it’s attractive to stations watching the bottom line. Levin
(ABC-Citadel) adds a third hour starting Monday...
I was thinkin’ about gettin’ back into radio. Guess I’d better think of somethin’ else.
I am seeing some talk stations simulcasting on FM these
days. Recently WPRO in Prov RI and WTAG in Worcester did just that (even in some cases on smaller ‘translator’ stations)
>>>I could see a talk station shutting down if it was Air America but they had conservative talk,
Just goes to show that the pull back in advertising by car dealers and real estate agents is indscriminate. It follows in the footsteps of the local conservative weekly which ended its print version last fall, opting for an online production. Although nothing has posted since before Christmas. Another thing hurt this station was that did not have a very strong signal and could not be picked up in much of Charlotte. The 50,000 watt WBT broadcasts Rush here in CLT and appears to be at no threat of disappearing.
Face it, most talk radio is dead flat boring. Now Hannity’s TV show is just a visual version of his radio show. The same old yammering over and over day after day just wears thin, radio needs some innovation like Lee Abrams brought to XM before the beancounters took over.
Now they’ve got “free” channels of “HD” that mostly have simulcast or no content, the internet and satellite competitors, and the new generations look to their cellphones instead of a radio for information.
Rush is the biggest exception, but his strength is his ability to entertain even those who disagree with his philosophy, and reinforce the thoughts of those who do. I enjoy hearing an hour or two of his analysis on most days, but beyond that - the last thing I want to listen to is more talkers, right wing or otherwise.
Ah, the weak signal figured into it!
In New England there was a liberal talk host awhile back
who got kicked off (Deborah “Arnie” Arnesen) because, among other things, she started referring to SUVs as “FUVs”. Car
dealers sponsoring her show were not pleased!
I was a conservative talk show host at a 50,000 watt with Clear Channel until 2003. Got canned because the new PD wanted his friend in. Almost went to San Antonio but took a friend up on his offer to go into Real Estate. No regrets. Clear Channel just canned 1800 employees.
Talk radio isn’t dying because of the content. It’s dying(for now)because radio advertising is intangible. Most advertisers would rather cut radio from budgets before the internet or billboards etc. They’d rather see and touch it and it’s less $$.
TV is suffering the same plight. My best friend is a TV news anchor and is moving to Texas at about a 30% pay decrease from Florida.
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