Tim Sabean is the former Program Director of WCKG/Chicago and WYSP/Philadelphia.
At the time I was at KLOS-FM Los Angeles, a mainstream rock station, and I saw what was happening around the country with MAJOR ROCK STATIONS.
This new format called “Classic Rock” started popping up around the country and was cutting big stations down to their knees.
The format was focused, and flanked stations with tried and true proven hits from rock legends like The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Doors, Led Zeppelin, and other Rock Monsters.
The format was based on familiarity. Radio companies were investing in supplying programmers the tools to really zero in on getting a direct competitor in the crosshairs. The combination of a well positioned station, with a unique music position, great programming, excellent production, a focused air staff, marketing, and Jacobs Media was a lethal combination.
The proof was WCKG-FM in Chicago. We took it from 19th to 4th 12+ and held it there for 4 years without a major morning show. We beat our direct competitor WLUP-FM, and that was no easy task.
I’ll never forget my first meeting with Fred regarding the project of WCKG. After spending the day with Fred, we were on our way to the airport I asked Fred before he jumped out of the car “do you think we can tumble the Loop?” Fred turned to me, paused, and said “It’ll be a battle…but YES!”
That was the turning point in plotting the success story of WCKG-FM and we never looked back.
To take it even one step further, apply this same formula for success to a situation with Howard Stern and you’ve got a format that becomes a “Weapon of Mass Destruction!”
WYSP-FM Philadelphia jumped to #1, 12+, a feat that was never accomplished at the time with a narrowly targeted music format. The combination of Howard Stern in the Morning, Classic Rock all day, and the Philadelphia Eagles gave us the keys to own every male demo for years to come!
So if anyone has any doubt about the format of “Classic Rock,” just think about the last two examples…and I could name at least 10 more!