Merlin Media, Failed to Launch FM News 101.1?


Merlin Media’s FM News 101.1, formerly Q101, has overtaken WBBM’s FM simulcast on 105.9.

But the Sunday launch despite the buzz it created, was soft, which according to a radio expert, is not good for a radio station.

CEO Randy Michaels said:

“”My favorite format has always been spoken radio. I’ve long had a nostalgic love affair with the big AM stations known for the format, and today – as music moves to the iPod– it’s time for spoken word to move to FM.”

On its opening, the station also ran, which, along with the station’s pilot broadcast constituted a “soft” launch.

A soft launch is:

a partial grand opening that is typically not as highly advertised. The goal of a soft opening is to utilize a small test set of customers in order to create a buzz and to test your product or process

The website is asking listeners contribution to their programming. radio journalist Corey Deitz says:

“Before the Internet, we lived in a world where radio stations stood by themselves as iconic pillars of media. Not so today. A successful radio station is now required to integrate tools for a multimedia presentation. Radio is now a package deal: website, streaming, podcasting, video, and more…and IMHO soft openings are best left to the fast food restaurants.”


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