The Miami-Fort Lauderdale market, which already boasts four all-sports English-language AM radio stations, now will have an FM sports station, too.
Lincoln Financial Media announced Friday that it has purchased WMSF-104.3 FM, which airs adult contemporary music, from Palm Beach Broadcasting. Beginning Wednesday and for the foreseeable future, WMSF will simulcast the programming that airs on WAXY-790 AM, which brands itself as 790 The Ticket.
Cost of the purchase: $13 million.
Jeff Dinetz, general manager of Lincoln Financial’s South Florida stations, said WAXY and WMSF will carry the same programming at least until the sale is approved by the FCC and until the FM station’s transmitter is moved from Palm Beach to Miami. He said that process could take three to six months.
Dinetz said it was too soon to discuss long-term programming plans for both stations or whether 790 would continue to broadcast sports long-term. But one possibility would be 790-AM carrying national sports programming, likely from ESPN Radio, and 104.3-FM airing local programming that now airs on 790.
Lincoln Financial has a similar arrangement in Denver, where the AM station airs Fox Sports Radio and the FM station carries local sports talk.
790 The Ticket’s programming includes, among other things, Miami Heat and Miami Marlins games and Miami Herald sports columnist Dan Le Batard’s afternoon drive talk show.
Dinetz said acquiring an FM station is appealing because sports radio stations target younger audiences “and that’s the way to reach them. It’s hard to get the 18-to-49 year old demographic on the AM dial. For us to become the first and only FM sports station in the market is huge for us.”
The saturation of sports radio stations in the market has splintered the genre’s audience. According to Arbitron’s most recent ratings book (June 24-July 18), The Ticket ranked 20th among 40-plus stations among men 25 to 54, the primary target demographic for sports stations.
WQAM-560, which carries sports talk and University of Miami and Florida Panthers games, ranked 23rd.
Palm Beach-based sports station WMEN-640, which has penetration in Dade and Broward, does not subscribe to Arbitron, and its ratings were not available Friday. WINZ-940 also carries sports, including Miami Dolphins games and a weekday Dolphins talk show.
Dinetz said Lincoln Financial’s new FM sports station will be rebranded as WAXY-104.3. The company already owns two other FM stations in the market: classic hits WMXJ and adult contemporary WLYF.
Palm Beach Broadcasting CEO Dean Goodman, who acquired WMSF from CBS several months ago, said selling the station “is consistent with our desire to super-serve the Palm Beach County market and our original plan for divestiture.”
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Erik Spoelstra recently told 640's Sid Rosenberg that he's surprised the Lakers could acquire Dwight Howard without giving up Pau Gasol, but "they have a history of getting those bigs."
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### Check our last post for the Friday media column and Heat free agent news. And check back for Dolphins and Canes this weekend.