Behind the Broadcast Extra: Patel on WPTR format change; my programming suggestions
It's just been over a week since WPTR-AM (1240) became the third radio station in the Capital Region to have an 24-hour sports format, joining WOFX-AM (980) and WTMM-FM (104.5). WPTR had been an oldies music station, but has been airing sports programming with Union College hockey and NASCAR.
CBS Sports Radio is being heard on WPTR, which is now known as "Sporty 1240."
Earlier this week, I spoke with Neerav Patel, chief operating officer for Empire Broadcasting Corporation, which runs WPTR, WABY-AM (1160) and WJKE-FM (101.3), about the format change.
One of the big reasons Patel changed formats and aligned the station with CBS Sports Radio is because of Jim Rome. Rome's show had been on WOFX for many years. But when Rome left Premiere Radio Networks for CBS Sports Radio late last year, WOFX no longer was able to air the show because it's affiliated with FOX Sports Radio.
"Everybody’s excited about Jim Rome coming back," Patel said. "I've gotten a lot of compliments. I knew there were a lot of positives behind Jim Rome coming back."
You can read more of my interview with Patel in my Behind the Broadcast column in Saturday's print edition and on the website.
Now, if I were running WPTR (and I have program directing experience, although it was in college radio some, gulp, three decades ago), here are some ideas I have to make the station successful.
-- Get the Mets.
A lot of people were angry when WOFX dropped the Mets after the 2011 season in favor of the Boston Red Sox. Even though the Mets are struggling, they have a loyal following in the Capital Region.
But those Mets fans must understand that most of the Sunday games will be preempted when WPTR airs NASCAR.
-- Stream the station on the web.
Right now, WPTR, and its predecessor, WVKZ, didn't have a Internet presence. WVKZ did have a website, and still does, but the station's signal wasn't streamed.
Having the station streamed on the web will be beneficial for the station's success. Union hockey would be the biggest beneficiary of this. Right now, its games are streamed by Teamline.cc, and I have read numerous complaints on Twitter the last couple of seasons that the broadcast sometimes drops out.
Patel did tell me that getting a webpage is high on the list.
-- Get at least one local talkshow.
WOFX has Rodger Wyland. WTMM has Mike Lindsley and Bruce Jacobs. You can't rely on just the national programming. The station needs a local voice to give it an identity.