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New urban station looks to take on New York's WBLS for urban radio listeners

(June 27, 2014) The shakeup of black-oriented radio stations in the New York market added a new turn last week when Cumulus Media announced the launch of "Radio 103.9," a new  urban adult R&B station that will replace the lite rock music format currently on WFAS-FM. The change in format begins July 4th, with the official launch taking place July 7th.

Radio 103.9 will be taking on WBLS-FM, one of New York's top stations, and one of the most successful and oldest urban stations in the nation. In February of this year, Emmis Communications acquired WBLS from YMF Media, the creditor that took over the urban broadcasting outlet from black-owned founding company, Inner City Broadcasting. YMF also acquired WBLS' main competitor, Kiss-FM, and shut it down, leaving New York with only one FM station targeting black listeners. WBLS is ranked as the fourth largest station in the city, with a 5.6 share according to Nielsen's May ratings.

The newcomer is hoping to compete by targeting the urban female audience. "Women ages 35-44 who enjoy urban format music and stars from the last few decades through today are underserved in the Big Apple," said Kim Bryant, Vice President/Market Manager for Cumulus New York, "and we're changing that now with an urban radio renaissance,".

The station's line-up includes the nationally syndicated morning drivetime program "The Tom Joyner Morning Show" and the afternoon drivetime program "The D.L. Hughley Show" that are both part of the Cumulus partnership with Reach Media.

Radio 103.9's local shows include "LaLoca" with host Sharon "La Loca" Montero, who joins comes from Power 95.3 in Orlando, and "Hanging Downtown" with Marc Clarke, a host widely known for his three years hosting the popular "Hang Suite" on WHUR 96.3 in Washington, DC.

"New York is the greatest city in the world and the radio programmers and personalities that came before me are a part my philosophy on radio today," said Ken Johnson, Program Director of "Radio 103.9." "The only thing greater than my love for New York radio is my respect for its listeners."


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