Rock radio is not dying


Last week, in the wake of the CBS flip of WYSP to Sports, you ran a story essentially declaring that rock radio was in significant decline.  Respectfully, I think the story was dead wrong and needs to be corrected.

It is true that a small handful of rock stations have been eliminated to make room for spoken word FM brands.  However, you failed to mention or consider the significant number of stations in other formats that have also been eliminated for the same reason.  In fact, the evidence shows that the only thing these stations had in common was that they were weak performers. 

For the record, here are a number of other recent format flips that demonstrate my point:

•         Our new sports station in San Francisco, The Game, was Country
•         When we launched KMBZ-FM, we terminated an AC
•         In fact, we added an additional rock station this year when we put K-Fox on a full San Francisco signal

As for other groups:
o   WTOP-FM was classical
o   WSB-FM was hip hop
o   KIRO-FM was oldies/classic hits
o   The Ticket/Detroit was hot talk

Furthermore, rock stations are thriving in many, many markets.  A significant number of classic rock stations, active rock stations, AAA stations and alternative stations are market leaders in 25-54 and 18-34 demos.  And many markets support more rock stations than AC, country, CHR or any other formats.

The fact is that rock radio is generally thriving and I would hate to see false perceptions take hold. 

Thanks for listening,

David Field, Entercom CEO

Editor’s note: Point taken–there are good exceptions to the statement, especially outside of the bigger markets. Last week was a tough one for the Classic Rock format, imminently losing both WHQT in Orlando and WYSP in Philadelphia. We do agree with you though, on the overall demise of FM music stations. In the particular story you refer to, we did say so: “But the bigger threat is music formats on FM are disappearing in general.”