ESPN Radio Moving To 98.7 FM; Kiss-FM And WBLS To Merge

Categories: Disappointments

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This morning ESPN Radio announced that its long-in-the-works move to New York's FM dial would happen as the clock struck midnight Sunday morning, and its landing place is a bit distressing: 98.7, the soon-to-be-former home of the Urban Adult Contemporary outlet WRKS, a.k.a. Kiss-FM. (The complex machinations behind the deal are outlined at Radio-Info.) The official statement cited changes in the way radio ratings are measured as a reason behind the move, even though Kiss-FM was tied for sixth in the New York market last month, according to Arbitron. (The absolute dominance of WLTW, a.k.a. "Lite FM," on that chart is pretty staggering, by the way. Is Delilah the most powerful woman in New York?)

As it turns out, Kiss-FM isn't totally going away: It's just getting shunted to 107.5 FM, to be exact, which is the current home of WBLS-FM. The two stations will apparently merge; all morning their programming has been simulcast on both Kiss-FM and WBLS, with commercials heralding the "future of black radio" being spliced in between songs. One could argue that this future being a consolidated and out-of-the-middle-of-the-dial one is not all that good of a thing, couldn't one?

So what parts of Kiss-FM will remain after the dust clears? From the official word on the merger:

The music and thecommunity of NYC will come together Monday, April 30th at 12AM and the legacy of WRKS will continue as midday air personality Shaila and night air personality Lenny Greene join the WBLS family. Shaila will occupy the mid-day shift from 10a-3pm and Lenny Green will continue in the evenings from 7pm-12am.

No word on what other shows might survive the move—or, for that matter, what WBLS jocks will be lost in the shuffle. At least soon-to-be-former Kiss-FM parent Emmis Communications noted in its official statement that the severance packages it was doling out would be generous?

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8 comments
perplexed
perplexed

Can anyone explain to me why talk/sports stations want to be on FM? Are there that many people with FM-only smartphones and MP3 players?

Sam
Sam

Doubly inconvenient for me. I loved listening to WRKS in the bedroom as well. Listeners can't catch a break. It really feels like the loss of family.  I'm rather thunderstruck.

Sam
Sam

I got used to listening to WEPN on my tiny Sony AM radio on my kitchen table! Time to upgrade! smh

EMT
EMT

WOW!! you killing me! I don' like this! Tom Joyner, Michael Baisden, Where can we listen to them now. I'm heart broken.

JNez
JNez

this is a very sad day...but i guess the pockets of disney were too deep for emmis broadcasting to ignore. the 98.7 frequency was valuable real estate and disney paid handsomely to get espn radio new york there. now our two legendary urban radio stations are combined. this is indeed a very sad day.

E Barclay Harris
E Barclay Harris

This is a sad day for American Black owned radio. How could  this happen?

Jl
Jl

How can we discard of Black History

Monique bryant
Monique bryant

you can go to mingle city.com to read micheal baisden goodbye letter to 98.7 micheal is not going to wbls.98.7 kiss fm will be missed.

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