Friday, May 24, 2013

More de Castro Talk

Radio Ink has a few pieces on Mr. de Castro this morning. They spoke with him briefly yesterday...

In an interview with Radio Ink Thursday, Jimmy de Castro said WGN has some great personalities now and some great personalities "I'd like to bring back." When pressed on who he was thinking about, he wouldn't say. After all, de Castro had only been in the building for two hours. He said now is the time for research, infusing energy into the hallways, coming up with a strategy for the station, and implementing that strategy. He also said he believes more stations can be added to the company. Tribune only owns WGN-AM.

When asked about a news and sports format functioning and succeeding as one format, de Castro said, "I don't know the answer to that. I absolutely believe you can create a personality-driven news station and a personality-driven sports station." He said sports-talk has become to men what Oprah was to women and added that he's going to stir things up a little bit and focus on creating great content. He added that WGN needs to grow younger, a dilemma facing many AM signals around the country.

They also did this little piece about the Cubs hurting WGN...

Most researchers agree play-by-play is not very PPM friendly. When you add the dismal performance of a team like the Cubs, that play so many day games, on an aging frequency on a station trying to successfully execute both news/talk and sports in a major market you have to wonder if de Castro will look to make major programming changes to drive revenue and "grow the audience younger." Here's the perspective from a former Chicago market manager.

"While the call letters remain iconic, the brand has lost all of its luster. It no longer stands for anything. None of the talent generate water-cooler talk, they all lack relevance to today's Chicago listeners. In neither morning nor afternoon drive do they do a good job of providing information when big news breaks #which used to be a WAGON hallmark#.The station really doesn't even have an identifiable logo #such as WLS's#, nor a single positioning slogan. The incredible erosion of the Cubs' on-field product and the Cubs brand means that the team does not currently drive passion for WGN. Because of the over-all station ratings decline and the eroding level of sponsor interest in the Cubs, WGN salespeople are meeting more resistance selling the station and are earning less- resulting in a steady stream of AE's leaving. Chicago is a market where media buyers tend to buy two AM stations for any client: WBBM-AM is a given, and for the past two years, sports-talk WSCR has replaced WGN as the other. They need to find a way to make the station compelling to media buyers who still spend 60% of all market revenue."