Monday, August 22, 2005

Radio Brands Part II

I see radio brands used and misused all sorts of ways. I will post more about thsi in the future for certain but let me focus the microscope on this bit of minutea. Today's lesson is about call letters being used to carry a brand name.

There was a classic case in the 1980s right here in Philadelphia. When WDVR was flirting with the beautiful music format decided the station should beknown as Easy-101. They changed calls to WEAZ but the air staff only refered to the station as EAZY101. At the top of the hour, they would sneak in the legal ID .. but it was typically burried in programming tags. The four letters W-E-A-Z were never used on air in a correct legal ID. They were using the calls in conjunction with the brand.
more here:

WDVR was certainly not the first. I have only anecdotal evidence on the following so please add salt. if you know something I don't, please fill me in!

The story goes that the first call flip ever was in Boston. I have assumed this excludes all call flips required by early name regulations. In the Korean war this station took an anti-war position. As the war drew out it killed its ratings. Over the years even after the war ended the reputation stuck to the call letters regardless of format or ownership change. They filed with the FCC for special permission to change their calls... and got it.

My only problem with this is that I am fairly sure that call flips preceded the Korean war. but... It's probably got some truth in it.

Below are some nice and obvious examples of a call sign serving the brand
Progressive Talk
Conservative Talk
WGOP-AM (fact: Republican Party nickname GOP stands for Grand Old Party)

Nice history of some Philly call flips here: