1010 WINS New York and KYW Philadelphia are celebrating fifty years as ‘All News, All The Time’.
Radio Reloj in Cuba started doing All News in 1947. The only station doing the format longer.
WINS and KYW are remarkable success stories.
Both launched when a few station owners were experimenting with All News. Gordon McLendon being the most notable. Others would follow and many would fail. WINS and KYW have evolved to become digital brands as well.
The stations are famous for the slogan “Give Us 22 Minutes, We’ll Give You The World”. The format clocks are virtually the same as when they started.
All News matters even as media usage changes and AM listening declines.
Last week the ‘Storm Of The Century’ threatened and then missed New York and Philly. KYW and WINS kept listeners informed with traffic, weather and live press conferences. Boston took the brunt of the storm and sister WBZ had reporters live from all over the metro. Business as usual for an All News station Their cities rely on them during breaking news and weather emergencies.
Mayors and governors told the public before the storm to keep their phones charged and use them to get emergency information. Radio was barely mentioned as a source for information. These officials apparently didn’t consider the internet, cable and cell service might be interrupted during the storm. Yet, a battery powered radio would be a lifeline.
Houston is the only top ten radio market without an All News radio station. Houston is prone to hurricanes and serious flooding and home to a major shipping channel, chemical plants and oil refineries. A place with serious traffic problems and perfect for All News.
Radio One tried the format in Houston. But economics and poor signal made it unfeasible to continue. Radio is a business after all. (Full disclosure, I was Program Director of KROI for part of its run. The digital audience was growing rapidly. But time ran out.)
All News grows slowly. WINS and KYW were not overnight successes. A big story, disaster or a serious weather event is usually needed for a station to catch on. KROI had none.
But, there is a big opportunity in creating a Houston All News franchise. A great signal, deep pockets and patience is needed for the format to succeed. Houston deserves and needs a KYW or 1010 WINS. Hard to imagine the sixth largest radio market wouldn’t support one over time.
By the way, WCBS did a great job covering the storm too. Their 50th is less than two years away.
Another slow starter with staying power.