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Some Explanations About WHLD Switch to Sports Talk

Jim Rome

Jim Rome

You’ve got questions about the WHLD-AM 1270 switch to sports talk, I’ve got answers.


Why did Cumulus Media, which owns the station, switch from the swing music format here?

Cumulus is in  a partnership with CBS Sports Radio and it wanted one of its Buffalo stations to join the lineup of the new 24/7 sports talk network. WHLD is the weakest station among the Cumulus stations here and the easiest to make the switch without much of a risk.

How much does Cumulus pay to carry CBS Sports Radio on WHLD?

Zip. Nada. Nothing.

It is a barter arrangement, which means that Cumulus runs commercials for CBS Sports Radio and gets some time to sell its own commercials. It’s a win-win. John Hager, the operations manager for Cumulus here, told me “we feel there is a greater opportunity for revenue” with this format.

Has Cumulus reached out to former WECK sports talk hosts Brad Riter and Nick Mendola?

“We haven’t talked to anybody,” said Hager.

I would expect Cumulus doesn’t plan on hiring anyone to keep costs down.

Why is Jim Rome, the most valuable product on CBS Sports Radio, still on WGR?

The deal to keep Rome on WGR was made before Cumulus agreed to carry the format here. I’m being told that Rome’s deal with WGR is for one year. If WHLD is still carrying sports talk a year from now, it wouldn’t be shocking if CBS Sports Radio moved Rome from WGR to WHLD.


How busy is Rich Gaenzler, who is hosting the only local show on WHLD from noon to 3 p.m. when Rome is on WGR?

Pretty busy. After his shift on WHLD, he has an afternoon shift on 103.3 The Edge.

Why does Cumulus think the format may work on WHLD?

Hager noted that the sports format fits with 97 Rock and 103.3 The Edge in that they all appeal to male listeners. Perhaps WHLD will sell advertising in tandem with deals involving the more popular stations in Cumulus’ group here.

Not surprisingly, local viewers exited Alabama’s 42-14 romp over Notre Dame in Monday night’s title game in big numbers after halftime.

The game started with a 16.5 rating, which turned out to be the highest rating of the night. By 10 p.m., the game lost more than a third of its local viewership and had an 11.2. It never went higher than a 12.5 after that and slipped to single digits by 11 p.m.

Thanks to the fast start, the game finished with an average rating of 12.2.

Thanks to local interest in the Fighting Irish, the 2013 title game actually out-rated Alabama’s 21-0 title win over LSU in 2012.  That game averaged a 10.4 rating, growing audience for most of the last hour and hitting a high of 11.7.



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3 responses to "Some Explanations About WHLD Switch to Sports Talk"

  1. Larry says:

    Alan, one good thing from having HLD on we now get local sports programming almost all day. I think it is good too that Genzler is talking about Bandits and Bisons they are still our teams and GR doesn’t do a lot of talk about them. I am wondering if UB would think about getting away from Weck and moving to an actual sports station.

  2. Rob says:

    Some thoughts while thinking about Zig Fracassi:

    I agree that they will be a distant second for the time being however they have a golden opportunity to put a dent in GR’s ratings in a similar fashion that WNSA did back in the day. My suggestions would be to tap into the News Sports talent, like a Mike Harrington for baseball and hockey, Tim Graham and why not even simulcast the Bucky and Sully Show? All talented, and some polarizing, people and they would be a draw for an hour show here and there.

    Since GR cherry picks ESPN can 1270 get the Colin Cowherd show? Any well-known national show at the 10am slot would compete easily and faster than the Sabres-controlled hockey show from 10-12. The only time I see that GR show doing well is late in the hockey season and if they make the playoffs.

    Brad Riter would be a good local pick-up but I never saw what the big deal was with Nick Mendola. He’s similar to Kevin Sylvester; nice guy but not a #1 host for radio. Nick’s better in a complimentary role like he was on GR.

    I caught some of Rich Gaenzler’s show and he did a nice job. He actually knew players from Notre Dame and Alabama to give a qualified opinion. Think Schopp would have done that? Schopp even admitted to a caller that he doesn’t know or follow UB Football to give an answer to a question a caller had which was a simple one on the future of UB’s Football Coach at the time.

  3. gary b says:

    I can’t understand why Jim Rome is so popular.He repeats himself so much,his 3 hour show is really only about 90 minutes of fresh material.

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