The launch Monday of a 24-hour sports radio station by Cumulus Media rattled scores of music fans who are petitioning owners to return the sounds of swing to 1270-AM.
“It’s like having all your teeth pulled and then somebody handing you a piece of sponge taffy,” said Marlene L. Schuler, 75, of Cheektowaga. “There is so much sports on the radio and TV now,” she said. “Every minute they’re doing sports.”
The CBS Sports Network will now be heard around the clock at the new Fan 1270-AM, confirmed Steve Bearance, Cumulus/Buffalo vice president and market manager. He defended the move.
“With Buffalo being such a sports town, we wanted to have another voice, another sports outlet for so many people,” Bearance said.
Cumulus owns two AM stations, one at 1270 and another at 1120 managed under a lease agreement with the Rev. Samuel A. Rivera, president of Hispanic Pastors Association.
Cumulus purchased Citadel broadcasting in late 2011. It also owns three FM stations locally: WHTT 104.1, WEDG 103.3 and WGRF 96.9, which had broadcast Buffalo Bills games from 1998 through 2011.
“We had the Bills for 12 years, so we know how to sell sports,” Bearance said. “It fits our cluster stations, plus it’s great programming with some of the national hosts we have access to like Tiki Barber, Boomer Esiason.”
The new sports format features one local segment airing daily from noon to 3 p.m. It is hosted by Rich Genzler.
Harv Moore, former Swing program host, said he learned about the shift to a sports format in December.
“No one told me the reason, but one of the factors was that Swing 1270 wasn’t bringing in any revenue,” said Moore. “The plan was to put on 24-hour sports from the CBS Network and [Cumulus] would get revenue from that.”
Swing, Moore was told, would be shifted to 1120-AM. Instead, Cumulus cut Swing, and left the Hispanic Christian station – Buffalo’s only Hispanic station – at 1120, for now.
“There was an outcry from the Hispanic community,” explained Bearance. “I have letters from the mayor and the Hispanic Heritage Council about the importance of that station to the Hispanic community.”
Moore, who was Swing’s only local program host, prerecorded his shift, which was aired daily from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Moore remains hopeful about the future of the swing music format.
“There’s a huge hole in the market for that kind of format,” Moore said. “I was surprised the number of people out there listening. Usually people over age 50 are more passive about radio stations.”
Schuler is one of Swing’s 400-plus Facebook fans. She grew accustomed to hearing music from such artists as Dionne Warwick, Barry Manilow, Barbra Streisand and Neil Diamond.
“I’m not the only one disappointed,” Schuler said. “I’ll especially miss Saturday morning’s Rat Pack from 10 to 11 with Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr.
“That’s the only station I ever listen to,” she said. “I have it on four radios.”