Good-Bye Country, Hello Hip-Hop!

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“Real 98.3” Brings iHeart’s ‘The Breakfast Club’ to Indy”

Originally published by IndyStar’s David Lindquist , on October 9

After devoting one of its radio stations to country music for 14 months, iHeartMedia will try hip-hop and R&B in Indianapolis.

WZRL-FM (98.3), or “Real 98.3,” debuted Oct. 3, replacing Nashville-themed “Big 98-3” at a frequency that was home to Radio Disney from 2003 to 2015.

Real 98.3 joins a crowded field of hip-hop stations. WHHH-FM (96.3), WRWM-FM (93.9) and W232CP-FM (102.9) ranked 10th, 14th and 20th, respectively, in September ratings compiled by Nielsen Audio.

For the final month of “Big 98-3,” the station ranked No. 17, trailing country stations WFMS-FM (95.5) and WLHK-FM (97.1). WFMS placed fifth in the ratings and WLHK placed eighth.

Before on-air personalities are heard on Real 98.3, the station will play 10,000 consecutive songs by acts such as Drake, Jay-Z and Beyonce.

On Nov. 3, influential morning show “The Breakfast Club” will debut at Real 98.3. Based in New York City, “The Breakfast Club” features a cast of DJ Envy, Angela Yee and Charlamagne Tha God.

Earl Jones, president for iHeartMedia’s Kentucky-Indiana Region and senior vice-president of urban operation, called Real 98.3 “an exciting and powerful addition” to the company’s local portfolio.”

“Hip-hop is thriving and I can’t wait to get things rolling,” Jones said in a statement.

 

Analysis

Commitment for this station has to be questioned.

For the 2nd time in less than two years, iHeart has flipped formats of this station.  Considering the weak signal, just a 30,000 watt Class A, the radio conglomerate seems to be using this simply as a distribution point to add to its list for a nation syndicated program it controls.  In July 2015, it was country’s “Bobby Bones Show”.  Neither format had local on-air talent, and sales staffs have not been dedicated to focus driving local advertising revenue.

So 98.3 was “big”, now “real”… whatever.