102.7 WNEW becomes “102.7 Blink”

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It was a long time coming. What was once one of the most revered rock stations in the country, 102.7 WNEW lost its way in the mid-1990′s. Constant musical shifts: AAA, Alternative, Classic Rock, Mainstream Rock, back to Classic Rock took their toll on the audience. Finally an answer was found as the station hired so called “shock jocks” Opie and Anthony for afternoons. Ratings rose in their daypart and eventually WNEW flipped to all talk, but could never fill in all the dayparts to the same level of success due to Howard Stern being heard on sister station 92.3 WXRK.

Opie and Anthony were eventually syndicated, but it all came crashing down in August of 2002 when the duo were fired for a highly publicized promotion that went awfully wrong. The station’s ratings, which weren’t all that high to begin with, fell below 1.0. In early 2003, the station began stunting with Mainstream Top 40 music. Rumors began running about an entertainment feature filled format targeting women. After many delays this format came to reality on April 10, 2003 at 8:00pm with a live broadcast from a celebrity filled launch party. E! TV host (and Blink afternoon driver) Todd Newton introduced the new format with a live interview with Shania Twain. Planned as an interactive radio station, the station hyped its ability to take live requests via AOL Instant Messenger. Also on the introductory airstaff were morning team and real life couple at the time Chris Booker (formerly of sister WXRK) and Lynda Lopez (formerly of WKTU and sister of Jennifer).

Comments

  1. Charles Herrion says


    Boy, did 102.7 shoot itself in the foot on this one! When Chris Booker and Lynda Lopez were on Blink 102.7, in spring of 2003, they were part of an overall, hip, cutting-edge format that featured five-song blocks during which almost any type of song from almost any time period in perhaps the last 30-40 years could be played. It was possible to hear, let’s say, vintage Elton John, followed by Tone Loc, then a freestyle song, then a country song, then Kelly Clarkson, or any other contemporary artist. You never knew which 5 songs you’d hear. Then there were the short spotlights they’d interject, which I think they called “Song-Bites”, which were short news bits and interviews featuring up-and-coming or contemporary artists. They had also picked out a new night DJ from a open casting call, who was due to start soon. The various radio personalities were fresh and hip. They had televised promotional drop-spots from all across the celebrity spectrum, running the gamut from Whoopi Goldberg to Lionel Ritchie to Britney Spears. You can’t buy that kind of endorsement. But they threw it all away! They fired all the on-air staff and the new night DJ before he could even start; in favor of a format entitled “Music Women Love”, as if they didn’t listen to the previous format! When that failed they changed the station from Blink 102.7 to Mix 102.7, essentially a WKTU clone. When that didn’t work, they became Fresh 102.7, an imitation of Lite-FM. As if we needed another one! Back when they had the fresh, hip, original format of Blink 102.7, they should have heeded the saying: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. In an age where broadcast radio is all about separating music genres, styles, categories, periods and listeners, and systematically excluding scores of past hits and established artists’ new offerings from playlists, Blink 102.7 was poised to bring back the days of true Top 40 radio. They passed on a fantastic opportunity. The airwaves, the fans, and the music industry are all the poorer for it.

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