WEMP Begins the Phase as New Rock 101.9

It’s been more than 24 hours since one of New York City’s worst radio “experiments” officially failed. When the 10 a.m. headlines concluded yesterday, WEMP/101.9 had wrapped up its nearly year-long all-news with one “final story.” The anchor, Gene Michaels, was abruptly cut off saying, “You’re listening…” Dead air ensued for six seconds.

Those who didn’t have their radios on, or tuned to the live stream, missed a faux anchor delivering the final story for FM News.

“It is to announce that a format change is about to occur at 101.9,” the male voice-over person said. “In just a few minutes FM News will become New Rock 101-9. The final line of the final story is this, a special note of thanks to everyone involved in FM News for their passion and support. Sometimes just saying thank you isn’t enough, but in this case, it’ll have to do. Thank you and good bye.”

With the immediate switch to Alternative Rock, 101.9 returns to a format Emmis ran prior to Merlin Media’s arrival last summer. There is no definitive word that this will become the permanent format. There is also speculation that Merlin will move the new version of WEMP to Chicago. It’s too soon to know if Merlin will keep the WEMP call letters. We can only assume that Randy Michaels can’t get rid of the calls fast enough, and lose the bad taste that was WEMP.

We’re told only 10 people were retained as on-air talent for the new station. Until that happens, though, they will provide additional content to the Philadelphia sister station.

The first song played on New Rock 101.9 was the Beastie Boys’ No Sleep ‘Til Brooklyn. Thus closing the book on FM News 101.9 in less than 12 months. But it is not without precedent. Just think of Patrick Duffy emerging from the shower to a one-year dream season on Dallas. The dream of WEMP as an FM News station is thankfully over.