WNNW 800 AM just outside of Boston has recorded some impressive Time Spent Listening (TSL) numbers for the last year or more
“We consistently hold the number-one spot in Boston for TSL,” states Pat Costa, General Manager for WNNW 800 AM as well as WCEC 1110 and WCCM 1490, all near the metro Boston area. “People listen to our station an average of 14 to 16 hours.” Most flashlight batteries don’t even last that many hours. So, what does this Eveready AM have that other stations don’t?
For starters, it has targeted programming. WNNW 800, one of the first AMs in the country to broadcast HD Radio using BE equipment, is a leading Spanish-language station in a market not generally known for its Hispanic culture. Licensed to Lawrence, the state’s predominant Hispanic community with a Spanish-speaking population of around 50,000, WNNW 800 programming is unique, highly targeted, and virtually untouchable. “There’s not an FM in the entire Boston area that’s in Spanish, probably because the Hispanic population hasn’t reached critical mass here. Yet we’ve been very successful with Hispanic programming since 1990, even before the format was fashionable,” says Costa.
It’s no coincidence, either, that WNNW 800 AM’s TSL began to climb soon after the station increased its coverage area into Boston with a new BE AM 6A transmitter, and added HD Radio technology months later. After all, you can’t get listeners, let alone sustain listenership, without coverage and good—if not great—sound. “Because we don’t have the million-plus Hispanics in this market that the bigger (advertising) agencies like to see, it’s really important that we constantly improve what we have,” explains Costa, who converted WNNW 800 AM to HD Radio technology with a slight modification to the BE AM 6A transmitter late last year and has been promoting the sound on-air and on remotes ever since. “For an FM to go to HD is nice. But to go from AM analog to HD is really a step up in quality,” he adds, citing listener comments from a recent HD demonstration in the station lobby. “Listeners thought they were listening to a live feed instead of the off-air HD signal from a $99 RadioShack HD radio.” It is this kind of leadership that, above all else, is responsible for WNNW 800’s remarkable staying power, earning this highly competitive AM station a top spot in the Boston market and a few top-name advertisers, including Lowe’s, McDonald’s, and Anheuser-Busch.