Entercom certainly knows how powerful a great country brand can be, since they still own SIX of them, even in the wake of the departure of San Francisco's WOLF (now relegated to an HD-2 side channel) to sports.
Yet, their Boston 850 WEEI franchise has been feeling (in spite of having an awesome online presence) the pressure of an FM competitor from CBS and WBZ-FM in another great sports town, so you have to know what a difficult, yet absolutely correct, revenue-based decision this has been for them.
Tom Taylor this morning calls it a cume gift to San Jose's KRTY and that's no doubt correct to some degree.
However, the departure of a direct competitor in a PPM market bestows an even more powerful present than more cume, as was proven in 2009 when Clear Channel shut off the country format on WDTW in Detroit: Time Spent Exposed.
Ask any country programmer in a PPM market.
It's almost impossible to completely stem TSE loss to a direct format competitor and nothing improves share in PPM as much as a solid, sustainable TSE increase. Nothing (other perhaps than going commercial free) drives that more immediately than pushing a shared-cume station out of the format.
Bob Kieve and his Empire Broadcasting team have played the game very well with signal-challenged KRTY and KLIV over the years.
Now, it must be said that they richly deserve what I predict they will see in the very next PPM weeklies and then monthlies, leading to great quarterlies, a substantial improvement in quarter hour persons and share, driven primarily by the kind of TSE that only having no direct competition can deliver.
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