Clear Channel Los Angeles says Rush will be moving from KFI to KTLK-AM in January. KTLK-AM will become The Patriot AM 1150, home of Los Angeles conservative talk radio, featuring Rush, Hannity, Glenn Beck and others. A similar move is being made in San Francisco where Rush will be moving from KKSF-AM to KNEW-AM. And as expected on Rush will move from WABC to WOR. The Clear Channel strategy is to move Rush off an established station, in the case of L.A. and San Francisco, to anchor a new station and help build that station up. Clear Channel recently purchased WOR-AM in New York and he’s being moved off WABC, a Cumulus station.
In all those cases the move is to a station with less coverage. Technicalities:
- KFI/640 is by far the biggest station in L.A., audible by day from Las Vegas and the Central Valley down into Mexico — and by night over the whole Southwest. KTLK/1150 basically covers the metro area.
- KKSF/910 and KNEW/960 both transmit from the shores of the East Bay, but KKSF is stronger by day, and still not bad at night. KNEW aims its signal away from the South Bay, where about half the region’s population lives.
- Compared to WABC, WOR sacrifices coverage to suburban New Jersey and parts of upstate New York. Other than that, they’re about even.
I’m also wondering how much the temporary move of Rush in Boston from WRKO/680 to WXKS/1200 helped “build up” the latter. These days WXKS is running Bloomberg business news, which fills a niche but isn’t a big ratings winner.
The larger picture here, and the reason I bring this story up, is that the real stations aren’t the stations at all, but the shows and the talent. Rush’s listeners care about Rush, not where they find him. As this fact becomes more obvious over time, look for the Clear Channels of the world to become routers of talent and programming through any available medium (especially the Net, which is where everything is already moving), rather than a collection of radio stations.
And let’s face it: Rush isn’t on any one station. He’s on SCAN. Keep hitting that button and you won’t miss him.
Not missing is the future of radio. And, maybe, of all media.