New Rock 101.9 May Hit the Road to New Jersey

The smoke has barely cleared from the drama surrounding Merlin Media yanking FM News off the air. But there is still plenty of news emanating from the offices on Hudson Street.

For starters, FishbowlNY has learned that Merlin, which last month erased the memory of FM News in favor of a resurrected Rock format and former call letters, may leave SoHo for new, less expensive digs.

“There are rumblings of a possible move to a lower-rent location,” a source admits to FishbowlNY. “Since they’ve greatly downsized the staff, they dont need an entire floor at 395 Hudson, and are trying to save every penny possible since millions were flushed down the toilet during the year wasted trying to build an audience for the now-defunct WEMP.”

The source adds that WRXP may head to New Jersey.

While the Internet hasn’t been awash with this information, two rumors have persisted in the blogosphere: Merlin is teasing listeners with the Rock music before flipping to the final format, and it will remain free of personalities.

The source attempts to squelch those thoughts.

“All this talk about air talent flowing in and out of the building may certainly put to rest the rumors that the station will be attempting a jockless, or automated format like the Jack-FM days,” the source says. “That was a bad idea then, and even worse now since New Rock is back and looking to stay.”

Among the air talent visiting New Rock interim program director Jim Richards was former WRXP jock Brian Phillips.

“Folks in the building were very excited to see Phillips and are hoping he makes a ‘permanent return,'” the source says.

Richards was spotted meeting with Maria Garcia, the former morning co-host at WBLI. There is already some speculation that Richards may team Phillips with Garcia, one of the few 101.9 holdovers who has DJ experience.

We’re told jocks will likely open the mic starting in October.