Milwaukee Sports Radio’s FM Takeover
FM Radio in Milwaukee is going through some changes. No longer do we need three stations playing the same type of genre. One is just fine. And the only genre that has multiple stations on the FM dial is… sports talk. In the last six months, there’s been a massive shift to more sports on the FM side of things simulcasting with an AM partner. Sports radio is the current king in Milwaukee, and that’s probably not going to change any time soon.
Multiple sports channels on the FM dial will succeed because there are differing opinions and topics at all hours of the day. What ‘Chuck and Winkler’ are talking about on 105.7 might not be interesting but 97.3’s ‘Drew and KB’ have a great guest on at the same time. Or the ‘The Big Show’ is rolling in the afternoon with a Packers segment, and they’re worth keeping on for a full drive. You can toggle between the three and find what you’re looking for on Milwaukee radio. Further, the personalities are not running out the same takes. Sure, there’s some overlap but nothing that makes you think it’s repetitive from station to station.
One of these three stations is hoping for their lead personality becomes the face of Milwaukee sports radio. At this moment, Bill Michaels holds that honor with the statewide Bill Michaels Radio Network and his extensive coverage with the Green Bay Packers. Although, critics would say Michaels does not give time to other sports like Bucks and Brewers making him a bit one dimensional. Mike Heller is a contender due to his Dan Patrick and Rich Eisen fill-in appearances giving him some notoriety on national radio, yet, he resides in Madison with a Badgers-focused network. That alone makes things difficult to really get a stronghold in Milwaukee. Due to the acquiring of 620 WTMJ, ESPN Milwaukee might have the most potential chips and leeway to make big strides in the coming year to be the first place people go for sports. It will be fascinating to see how this turns out in one or two years.
What about those who do not like sports or need some music in their lives from time-to-time? There’s still a station for every kind of genre. Even though there’s a growth in sports stations, it’s not like any genres went away from radio. There’s still two Top 40 stations, a country station, a hip-hop station, two alternative stations, two classic rock stations and one that plays it all. People don’t need choices any more. They don’t need to toggle through three Top 40 stations only to get commercials on two and the same song they heard two hours ago on the other one. Music is easier than ever to access from your car. There’s satellite radio, Pandora, Spotify, Apple Music, therefore, the reliance on radio isn’t needed as much. Local sports talk does not have that hurdle. Sure, there are some podcasts (SnoTap Network, sup?) but most podcasts are made for hour-plus long trips, not the drive in or home from work.
Sports radio took over the FM dial, and I’m not sure they’ll ever give it back.