WNEW-FM, CBS Radio’s “ambitious bid to compete with all-news stalwart WTOP-FM (in DC), is languishing nine months after going on the air”, reports Ben Fisher in Washington Business Journal. That, he continued, is “according to industry experts and ratings data. Even though it went live in January with the backing of a broadcasting giant and a core of well-regarded on-air talent, WNEW has mostly placed in the mid-20s or lower in weekly and monthly Washington-market rankings compiled by Arbitron Inc.”
Those numbers mean that WNEW is attracting local audiences comparable to WBQB-FM in Fredericksburg, VA., or WERQ-FM, an urban music station in Baltimore – well behind long-time DC radio rating leader, WTOP-FM.
But, Steve Swenson, CBS Radio’s senior vice president and DC market manager, said WNEW is "right where we thought it would be.”
“What I look for is the building of an audience," Swenson said. "Since we've gone on the air, we've been consistently adding people."
While there has been some speculation about how long WNEW might stick with its all-news format, the real goal may not be the size of its audience, but to win a significant chunk of the advertising money in the marketplace – considering WTOP is the most profitable radio station in the country.