Sign campaign draws attention to radio format
By Patrick Cloonan
Published: Monday, Aug. 19, 2013, 12:36 a.m.
It's hard not to notice the billboards that read “Christian Radio 1080 AM.”
An ad agency in Pittsburgh said the client wanted it that way.
“Wilkins Communications placed those orders directly with us,” Lamar Advertising account executive Lou Cipriani said. “What they like to do is to saturate the market.”
Wilkins has owned WWNL-1080, a 50,000-watt daytime-only ministry-format station, since 2001. The station signed on as WILY in 1947 and later was known as WEEP, a country station for much of its existence in the 1960s and 1970s.
WWNL is one of three Pennsylvania stations owned by the South Carolina-based broadcaster. The others are WITK-1550 in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and WYYC-1250 in York.
Wilkins owns 20 stations in 17 markets from Indiana to New Mexico to Florida. All are AMs except for an FM station in Mobile, Ala.
Cipriani said Wilkins usually puts advertising signs out for a month.
“They did it in four to six markets last year,” Cipriani said.
He said he thinks one of them was in Pennsylvania.
“They do this in parts of the country where they have stations,” Cipriani said.
Why the company does so is unknown. Wilkins officials could not be reached for comment in Pittsburgh or at corporate headquarters in Spartansburg, S.C.
It coincides with a format flip to Christian music and ministry by former talk outlet WAVL-910 in Apollo.
It comes amid an upcoming transition of McKeesport's WMNY-1360 to religion format by Pentecostal Temple Development Corp., which is getting AM 1360 as a donation from Renda Broadcasting.
Other religious-format stations in the Pittsburgh market include K-Love's WPKV-98.3, licensed to Duquesne; Salem's WPIT-730 and WORD-101.5; and, for part of its broadcast day, 810 Inc.'s WEDO-810 in McKeesport.
Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1967, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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