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When Radio Stations Change Formats

Why do radio stations change formats? The answer is money, of course. When a radio station’s ratings decline, the station cannot charge as much for advertising, which means less revenue overall. Typically, this is evaluated over “books” or several radio ratings periods.

Here in Rochester, the latest format change involved 98.9 The Buzz (WBZA-FM), owned by Entercom Marketing Results Group. When morning show hosts Scott Spezzano and Sandy Waters went on vacation the week of July 4th, teasers ran stating that due to “positive listener feedback,” they were going to keep the “Everything. All The Time!” hits format on the air during their absence. When they returned the following week, the format became permanent. 

When Radio Stations Change Formats

So why would The Buzz change its format? The folks programming The Buzz had a decision to make: go younger or go older, and somehow do it without alienating existing listeners and keeping the station imaging the same. They chose the latter, which made most sense.

By skewing the music older, they can capitalize on a slowly rising Fickle 93.3 (WFKL-FM, Variety Hits). Also, this brings them closer musically to Radio 95.1 (WAIO-FM, Classic Rock), owned by iHeartMedia, which achieves higher ratings overall.

Making this change positioned The Buzz more competitively helping them remain on top and continue to see advertiser dollars. Also, with the change in hosts and demographics, the new format better suits their listeners.


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