July 25th, 2016 by Inside Radio

Classic hits, adult hits…what’s the difference right? Just play the oldies! (If you’re a radio programmer, that’s meant to be a joke.) The two goldies formats have plenty of musical crossover but, as Billy Joel covers in “It’s Still Rock and Roll To Me,” they each still have a distinct persona.

“There are differences between the two formats, not necessarily because of what the two audiences like as much as what they’ve been trained to expect from the stations,” offers Edison Research VP Sean Ross. “At classic hits, one Duran Duran song is a reliable hit. Adult hits plays five, and if they’ve been built around variety as a selling point, it doesn’t matter to some PDs how the other four test.”

Still, it can be tricky to define—and refine—the format’s signature since gold-based formats must constantly evolve to pinpoint their audience sweet spots. And to make things all the more difficult, there are more than a few of those Duran Duran or “Jack and Diane”-type hits that serve both. This makes differentiating classic and adult hits risky business, although savvy players say they’ve “got this.”

“In Syracuse, I call it the Steve Miller Syndrome. You can hear ‘Fly Like an Eagle’ on no less than five radio stations in this market,” says Mimi Griswold, brand manager at Galaxy Communications. “What plays before and after that song on a classic hits station vs. an adult hits station vs. a classic rock station is what defines the station profile. It’s feel.”

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June 27th, 2016 by Inside Radio

Radio stations have enjoyed a lengthy legacy of pairing their call letters with local concerts and national tours that roll through town. Today, however, stations have come to dig for—and mine—the off-air gold that comes with adding sponsorship and promotional opportunities to their own expanding portfolio of proprietary events. It’s redefining the breadth of “non-traditional revenue.”

Many broadcast groups now devote entire divisions to live events, while fashioning sophisticated campaigns that increase the bottom line with, at times, double-digit gains.

“Radio marketing has come a long way from hanging crooked banners on concert stages,” says Pam Levine, a consultant with Galaxy Events, an arm of Galaxy Communications, which owns 14 radio stations in Syracuse and Utica, NY. “Experiential marketing has become an important way for businesses to reach customers in our communities. There are situations where the advertiser will say, ‘We don’t want to do radio at this time,’ but we offer a menu of events which might be more in line with their goals. We’ve developed business relationships with event clients that we’ve been able to morph into radio advertisers over time, and vice-versa.”

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June 6th, 2016 By Inside Radio

As radio industry sticky wickets go, this one’s a doozy—and all-too familiar. You’re a smaller or midsize station, trying to prove your worth to clients and, among other ledger items, you’ve got one huge expense: Nielsen Ratings. Do those numbers give you the arsenal you need to sell, or is the price too high?

Stations all over the map, and format list, grapple with this all the time, and many have taken the leap away from Nielsen—and what is said to be a minimum $100,000 annually for data not everybody believes is authoritative enough to cement relationships with local advertisers. For those stations, it’s about hitting the streets, the web and the phone to prove ROI—and they’re finding their way to results.

True, in most markets, Nielsen remains the only game in town for radio to show advertisers who dominates a market by age, gender, daypart and so on. And yet some stations—and companies—continue to bow out. In midsize market Syracuse, N.Y., Galaxy Communications Syracuse market manager & director of Sales, Steve Vasick, explains, “The decision to forgo Nielsen ratings originally came about eight or so years ago when the economic collapse put pressure on everyone’s bottom line. With a six-figure expense tied to a ratings service subscription, it made more sense to maintain jobs and forgo the ratings.”

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Syracuse’s WSEN, Sunny 102 combining into one ‘super’ radio station

March 21st, 2016 by Geoff Herbert,

Two Syracuse radio stations are combining to form one “superstation.”

Galaxy Communications announced Monday that WSEN-FM 92.1, previously owned by Leatherstocking Media Group, is merging with the Galaxy-owned WZUN Sunny 102 FM next week. For the next seven days, the stations’ combined programming will be heard on both frequencies, 92.1 and 102.1 FM.

Then on Monday, March 28, all on-air personalities for both stations will be heard on 102.1 FM.

“It’s a very unique situation,” Galaxy Communications C.E.O. Ed Levine said in a phone interview.

WSEN had branded itself as playing “Central New York’s Greatest Hits,” primarily golden oldies and classic rock ‘n’ roll. Levine said it was “one of the longest continuous format stations in the market.”

The oldies format will be mixed in with Sunny 102, which has been playing “classic hits” for years. Sunny 102 is also well-known in the Syracuse area for switching to Christmas music every year as a sponsor for Lights on the Lake during the holiday season.

“We are thrilled to be able to continue the legacy of WSEN by combining it with Sunny 102 to create a superstation,” Levine explained in a press release. “We’ve expanded our playlists to incorporate a tremendously wide variety of music. Plus, we preserved several jobs for some of Syracuse’s best known radio personalities. It’s a great day.”

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Utica College Follows “My Hometown Sports” to ESPN Radio

UTICA/ROME — Starting this fall, radio coverage of Utica College sports will be moving from Townsquare news/talker WIBX to Galaxy’s three Utica-Rome ESPN Radio stations.  That’s according to an announcement from the college this week.

Those who’ve been watching recent moves in the market are probably not surprised: the crew at “My Hometown Sports,” who has been producing the play-by-play broadcasts for the past few years, made a similar move earlier this month.  Fred Miller and Gene Conte, who formerly hosted SportsWatch on WIBX, reappeared after a few weeks off with the debut of their new ESPN Radio show, The Cheap Seats, on Monday — the same day UC made its announcement.

According to a press release on the Utica College website, My Hometown Sports team will continue to provide live coverage of UC football, basketball and hockey.  On top of that, the college says “spring sports such as lacrosse, baseball, and softball will likely be broadcast for the first time.”

The deal is effective with the upcoming 2011-2012 academic year, with the first broadcast of UC football coming September 3, when the Pioneers head north to take on Saint Lawrence.  The school says a complete radio schedule will be finalized within the next month.

Galaxy’s Utica-Rome trio of ESPN Radio stations include WTLB/Utica, WIXT/Little Falls and WRNY/Rome.