One More Infinity Format Not Here Yet

OMW notes that we’re now many, many weeks past a report by the folks at Radio Business Report, which reprinted the “JACK FM” rumor…and said it was imminent to be placed at one of Infinity’s Cleveland market stations.

Fast forward to mid-October, and, well…

* WQAL/104.1 (the station most mentioned in rumors) is still hot AC “Q104”.

* WDOK/102.1 hasn’t budged from its AC perch.

* WXTM/92.3 is still pumping out the alt-rock, with “Rover” in AM drive.

* And, WNCX/98.5 is still classic rock-ing, with the last days of Howard Stern’s over air program.

Furthermore, unless we’re missing something, Infinity hasn’t flipped ANY stations to “JACK FM”, the eclectic “iPod on shuffle” format also known as “classic hits” or “adult hits” in the business, since legendary oldies stations WCBS/New York and WJMK/Chicago got “JACKed”. This, despite actually hiring a new format chief solely in charge of, well, “JACK FM”.

Now, Infinity, soon to be known again as CBS Radio, is reportedly hot on another FM format… talk.

Monday, a San Francisco FM station formerly owned by religious broadcaster Family Radio was officially handed over to new buyer Infinity, which has been stunting on the 106.9 frequency since. (For the record, locally, Family owns WCUE/1150 in the Akron market, and WYTN/91.7 in Youngstown. The programming heard on those stations is the same as what’s been heard on 106.9 FM in San Francisco until this week.)

The new California station, now known under the calls “KIFR”, is reportedly headed for an FM talk format, under the guidance of veteran west coast talk programmer Ken Kohl as VP/GM.

But that’s not the only thing prompting trade publications like Inside Radio speculating about Infinity fueling more talk radio on the FM band. WTKK/96.9 Boston afternoon driver Jay Severin is set to debut early next year on 10 major market Infinity radio stations…and it’s thought many of those may be new FM talk converts. Severin is definitely a political talker, not an entertainment or sex-driven talker.

For that matter, Clear Channel is not immune to “regular”, traditional talk on FM…with WPGB/104.7 Pittsburgh just down the road, and a new Minneapolis FM talker to start later this year. WPGB has Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, in addition to local talk vet Jim Quinn (also heard on WHLO/640 Akron, WWVA/1170 Wheeling WV and other stations), and their Minneapolis station will take Rush and Hannity from crosstown station KSTP/1500.

OMW’s not about to speculate on which of the above four Infinity Cleveland stations could also see talk in its future. In fact, we have no idea if Infinity – er, CBS Radio – plans to expand talk radio down into the low end of the top 30 market spectrum. But…it’s apparently on the sidelines as an option for the company, next to “JACK FM” on the Infinity Future Format Menu…

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