Friday, June 12, 2015

Is 105 The Ticket finally done in Minneapolis?

It hasn't even been a complete week since afternoon talk hosts Bob Sansevere, Mike Morris and Ben Holsen were given their walking papers at third tier Minneapolis-St. Paul sports talker 105 The Ticket but when a barely noticeable radio station cuts the only paid and local on-air staff they have, the writing is usually on the wall.

To begin with, nobody was clamoring for a third sports talk radio station in the Twin Cities -- much less, one spread across three FM frequencies which seem to be a better fit for a niche music format as opposed to fulfilling a contract which owner Cumulus made with CBS Sports to give them an outlet for their national sports talk network.

I know all too well that sports is where the money is and that while a talk format -- especially one using local talent -- isn't cheap to launch, maintain, nurture and grow; it is a gold mine when it comes to advertising because of the ad availability in a talk format. With Cumulus management axing their five hours of local sports talk, they seem to be sending a signal that they either don't care that these three small FM signals could actually make some money with local content even with microscopic ratings or that a new format is on its way.

If the new format route is the future for the stations that, when run as a trimulcast, have featured alternative rock, hard rock, alternative rock, classic R&B, alternative rock, soft oldies, oldies, adult contemporary and now sports talk; the next likely step is the Cumulus broadcasting format of classic country billed as NASH Icons or a return to adult contemporary as they were at the end of the Love 105 format. Cumulus has been sitting on a pile of web domains registered for the NASH Icons format -- one of which seems to coincide with the Minneapolis-area 105 signals so that is at least a possibility.

If Cumulus decides to ride out the CBS Sports format, though, the company is using three frequencies to fulfill a contract. Not knowing the language of the contract with CBS Sports, I am curious if Cumulus could use just one of the frequencies -- 105.7 has the best coverage of the immediate Minneapolis-St. Paul metro -- to broadcast sports talk and throw a music format on the 105.1 and 105.3 frequencies which could actually appeal to listeners and make this clusterfuck of an ownership group some money.

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