Emmis makes a smart move in Indy:
Emmis’ News/Talk WIBC-AM Indianapolis, which serves as the flagship for the Indianapolis Colts and Pacers and Indiana University football, will become a full-time Sports outlet as an ESPN Radio affiliate on January 7, 2008. At the same time, WIBC’s News/Talk programming will move to 93.1 on the FM dial, taking the slot that until today was held by Top 40 WNOU.
This is why WIBC is making a smart decision: The news talk listener and the sports talk listener are two different people.
Trying to hold your core talk radio listener through long blocks of sports when there are alternatives available is a dangerous strategy. Trying to be all things to all people only works when the consumer has no options. Usually, you wind up being nothing to nobody.
By splitting the talk programming off to the FM band, WIBC presents its core audience with what it wants — news and talk. They will win because they have local resources that WXNT and the Cumulus FM talker can’t match. Sports fans will tune in to the AM for the programming they can’t get anywhere else. They may take a ratings hit in the short run until the audience gets used to the switch, but in the long term it’s absolutely the right decision.
Besides — like music, talk radio sounds better without static.