SBD/October 27, 2011/Media

Talking In Memphis: Nation's 51st-Largest Market Boasts Five Sports Radio Stations

Memphis currently has five sports radio stations, and though it is “hard for the listener to find a downside with all the options, the crowded market has raised eyebrows inside the business, with whispers about just who will survive and how they'll do it,” according to Kyle Veazey of the Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL. The number grew to five following "last week's switch of WMC-AM 790 from a classic country format to carrying Fox Sports Radio programming and some spillover in live events from WMFS-AM/FM's growing portfolio.” Memphis is the nation's 51st-largest market “with just shy of 1.1 million listeners 12 and over,” and WHBQ-AM host George Lapides said, "It's absurd. There's not room for more than two." KQPN-AM host Chris Vernon, whose station held the Fox Sports Radio affiliation until last week, “hopes the originality of his program will stand out.” Vernon: "Of course there is too much sports radio, but what I have always counted on is that there's not enough good sports radio." Veazey reported WMFS-FM, which “has been broadcasting as the local ESPN Radio affiliate for about two years and simulcasting on WMFS-AM 680, won the sports ratings battle in September,” edging WHBQ. Veazey wondered, “Could all five survive and thrive? Those in charge hope so.” But Lapides “isn't so sure,” and he “doesn't think companies can make money selling national programming and doesn't think Memphis will be a five-station market in another 12-18 months” (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 10/26).
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