Former Tribune CEO Randy Michaels Launches All-News Radio Station in New York


NEW YORK - Merlin Media, the new company of former Tribune CEO Randy Michaels, said on Monday that it has launched FM News 101.9 as the Big Apple's only 24-hour FM all-news radio station.

Michaels left Tribune late last year amid controversy and reports that he had hurt its image by encouraging frat boy behavior. Earlier this summer though, he announced the acquisition of majority stakes in two radio stations in Chicago and WRXP-FM in New York with private equity firm GTCR.

Merlin Media, which holds the stations, said Monday that the New York rock station will now be a news outfit - as some had predicted - and focus on "the real-life information needs of on-the-go adults and working parents."

Beyond the on-air content, the station said it will offer personalized online and mobile content that promotes audience participation through social media and digital video.

“As music moves to the mobile device, now is the time to put spoken word on the band most people use," said Merlin CEO Michaels. “Our one-to-many broadcasts will be supplemented by personalized, one-to-one interactive content so that instead of commercials that interrupt a tired music playlist, we offer our marketing partners multiplatform solutions that build brands and move product in the best possible environment.”

At the end of July, Merlin Media unveiled a similar strategy in Chicago with the launch of what it said would be the Windy City's only 24-hour all-news station - FM News 101.1.

“Spoken word, since the beginning of radio, has consistently been the top billing format in the world," said Merlin COO Walter Sabo.

“No one gets their news from a singular source in today’s fragmented media world," said  said Liz Aiello, vp of programming, Merlin Media. "In developing our strategy for FM News 101.9, we really wanted to create a unique environment that presents inspiring, relatable, pleasant and fun content that comes to you just as it would from a friend."

Among the New York news station's talent is Steve Langford, formerly the lead reporter for Howard Stern’s Howard 100 News.

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com

Twitter: @georgszalai

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