After its merger with CBS Radio closed Friday morning, Entercom Communications wasted little time making moves.
The company quickly flipped CBS Radio’s Top 40 mainstay WBMP (Amp 92.3) in New York to Alt 92.3, with the tagline “New York’s New Alternative.”
Entercom released the following statement: “Alt 92.3 will give music fans a true alternative – an expertly curated playlist with local, informed discovery.”
Commented Entercom president of programming Pat Paxton, “In a city where alternative music is a way of life, we are thrilled to finally fill the void in radio in New York City. With the launch of Alt 92.3, we will cater to the passionate audience who have helped define the genre for decades – and we couldn’t be more excited to turn up the volume.”
As part of the changeover, the station has let go popular morning show hosts Shoboy and Nina, afternoon drive DJ Astra on the Air, and nighttime personality DJ Toro, with reports indicating they may be moved to other stations within the Entercom family.
The move took the stunned staff by surprise Friday morning, revealed in a series of texts.
The first songs airing after the flip included Foo Fighters’ “My Hero,” 30 Seconds to Mars’ “Walk on Water,” MGMT’s “Kids,” Vance Joy’s “Lay It on Me,” and Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”
There hasn’t been an alternative station in the New York area since 2011, when Emmis Communications WRXP (101.9 RXP) flipped formats to all-news under Randy Michaels’ Merlin Media. That station briefly went back to an alternative format for three months in 2012 before switching to news/sports as WFAN after its sale to CBS Radio. When RXP went on the air in 2008, it was the first alternative station in New York City since WXRK – WBMP’s predecessor — flipped to Active Rock in 2005 as WFNY when Howard Stern left the station to join SiriusXM at the start of the year in 2016.
WBMP’s last ratings in October showed it had a 2.0 12+, placing it at #19 in the market.