By Kiarra Solomon
For many years now, there has been a continuous battle between the two major radio corporations in Philadelphia: Clear Channel and Radio One. Clear Channel owns Power 99FM, WDAS 105.3FM, and WDAS 1480AM and Radio One owns HOT 107.9, 100.3 WRNB, and Praise 1039. These stations have long fought for ratings, often swapping talent, switching formats and subliminally targeting the others’ audiences through promos and contests. And why wouldn’t they? This is Philadelphia! And just like with everything in Philly being Number 1 is everything!
As a listener, it’s easy to get confused with all the drama that ensues. And that is why you have me! So let us begin with an update, just so we are all on the same page.
Tarsha “Jonesy” Jones of Jonesy in the Mornings was recently fired from Power 99 FM after being listed as the defendant (along with Clear Channel) in a defamation lawsuit. One week later, Shamara (the midday host) was fired as well. Shamara took to Twitter, changing her name from @ShamaraOnAir to @ShamaraAfia, her bio to now mention she was unemployed and tweeted:
“Damn I could’ve stayed in the bed if I knew I was gonna get fired today! Now who am I gonna give a #hive5friend,”
“I got the whole, we’re going in a different direction speech.”
The rumor mill is in overdrive as the night show talent, The Hot Boys, fill in for Jonesy and Johnny B does middays. And since the Hot Boys and Johnny are just filling in temporarily I wouldn’t be surprised if Power decided to syndicate the popular morning show The Breakfast Club from sister station Power 105.1 in New York. Who knows what they’ll do for middays. But whoever Clear Channel does bring in will have to bring listeners with them if they want to maintain their position in the ratings.
Hot 107.9, Power’s biggest competitor, recently switched station name, frequency, and format, (now its Hits and Hip Hop) and decided to syndicate the very popular Rickey Smiley Morning Show. To celebrate the changes, Hot 107.9 hosted a Station Launch Party on Wednesday December 7th at Whisper Night Club in Center City. Special Guests included DJ Drama, Rapper Meek Mill, and all of the stations on-air personalities. Could this “new direction” at Power 99 have something to do with these recent changes on Hot 107.9? You do the math.
You should also know that WDAS AM (1480AM) recently switched from Rumba to R&B Oldies, playing all R&B Christmas music until after the holiday. Why the switch? Well, previously B101 was the only station to play all Christmas music in Philadelphia and it was not all R&B.
It appears that both Radio One and Channel are taking steps to position themselves to continue this battle for listeners and ratings.
Contest and promotions are yet another tactic that Philadelphia radio stations use to gain listeners. And there are lots contests on Philadelphia radio right now.
Clear Channel is giving away tickets to see All Stars of Hip Hop in January and popular rapper Big Sean in December. Not to be outdone Radio One’s biggest prize pack includes tickets to Mary J Blige’s AC concert, a trip to Beverly Hills for lunch with Mary J and a $2500 shopping spree. Both companies offer online contests for listeners who register with the respective sites. For a complete list of the contests, go to each stations website and click their contests tab.
So there! We are now all on the same page on what’s going on in the world of Philadelphia Radio. I’ll continue to keep you up to date on what’s going on at Power, what’s hot on Hot (yeah, pun intended!), and whose giving you what! So check back soon. I’ll be here with your Backstage Pass.