WHAT HAPPENED TO WJNA? See
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2002: Alan Diskin Explains...
This page first posted on Univox in October 2002.
BACK ISSUES OF
One day I asked Radio Rewound host Alan Diskin, a former Clear Channel employee, if he knew why WJNO, WJNA, and WBZT switched frequencies several times in the late 90s.
Following is his fascinating answer:
Why Do These Stations Keep Switching Frequencies?
Copyright 2002 by Alan Diskin
As a former Clear Channel employee, I was privy to some information generally not publicized to many.
The switching of frequencies for WJNO, WBZT and WJNA came about for several reasons, as were told to me, whether this was the "official" corporate answer, or just perhaps, a local management response to satisfy the curiousity of the local Clear Channel employees. I cannot swear to the validity of this information and I am only conveying management's response.
Prior to Clear Channel's takeover, WJNO-AM's frequency had been 1230, with a 1,000 watt signal based in West Palm Beach, combined with a repeater tower in Pompano Beach. 1040-AM, a 50,000 watt signal based in Boynton Beach, had been independently owned and known as WFXY. [Editor's note: Remember Foxy 1040?] Clear Channel bought WFXY and moved WJNO to that frequency. The 1230 frequency was bought by the James Crystal Radio Group and the call letters WJNA were created.
WJNO-AM 1040 and WBZT-AM 1290, both Clear Channel properties, were and still are, stations programmed to cover the West Palm Beach-Boca Raton radio market, as well as a portion of the Treasure Coast market. These AM newstalk and sports stations had such strong signal reach however, that they were actually covering most of the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood market!
Clear Channel also owns WIOD-AM 610 and WINZ-AM 940, newstalk and sports stations programmed to cover the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood market and actually reaching and blanketing the West Palm Beach-Boca Raton market. Most of the programming of these four stations is replicated in both markets, meaning listeners in both markets could tune into several Clear Channel stations and hear many of the same programs.
It is important to know the relevance of market size, which determines advertising revenue, air-talent salaries, etc. WIOD and WINZ are in the 12th largest radio market nationally. WJNO and WBZT are in the 47th largest radio market nationally. Most radio stations earn a major portion of their revenue from advertising, especially the large accounts, usually placed by advertising agencies. Advertising agencies want to place their "buys" in the largest markets of the country, usually the top 10 or top 25 and less frequently, in the top 50.
Even though they possessed huge signal strength covering Broward and Dade counties, WJNO and WBZT could not get their share of these large agency buys, as could WIOD and WINZ in a much larger market, to satisfy the agency's concern to buy a higher market.
In addition, many smaller local direct advertisers in Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast, did not want to pay higher spot rates to stations reaching out to areas that would not contribute to increasing their local customer base. At the same time, Clear Channel was looking for another FM station in the West Palm Beach-Boca Raton market.
Without getting into alot of intimate details that I wouldn't know about anyway, the James Crystal Radio Group and Clear Channel struck a deal. WRLX-FM 92.1 and the AM frequency of 1230, owned by James Crystal would be swapped for the AM frequency of 1040. There may very well have also been some cash involved.
This satisfied Clear Channel's needs for another FM station and they could keep their AM stations more local. James Crystal picked up a powerful AM frequency that boosted WJNA's signal coverage and market reach and could command more large agency buys.
WJNO was moved to 1290, a 10,000 watt powerful, but sometimes spotty frequency, even in its local Palm Beach County area. WBZT moved to 1230, also spotty and weak in Palm Beach County and has become a station without much fanfare or recognition, even with programs like Dr. Laura Schlessinger and Dr. Joy Browne.
Who got the better of the deal? It's not for me to say but, with radio stations changing formats and ownership so often today, only time will tell.
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