Ryan Seacrest makes a surprise appearance onstage at the Enrique Iglesias / Jennifer Lopez concert at Philips Arena Wednesday to launch Power 96.1 in Atlanta. (Photo: Cliff Robinson Photography for Clear Channel)
Clear Channel Media and Entertainment went all out on Wednesday night around the launch of Power 96.1, a new mainstream Top 40 station in Atlanta. In addition to digital outdoor displays and television support the company flew in hometown hero Ryan Seacrest to announce the new station on stage at an Enrique Iglesias/Jennifer Lopez show at Phillips Arena.
"I am thrilled to be back on the air, daily, in my hometown," said Seacrest.
Power is launching with 9600 commercial free songs in-a-row and then, on Tuesday, will add Seacrest's show in middays as well as the Premiere syndicated "Elvis Duran and the Morning Show" which moves across the hall from its current home in the market, Clear Channel's rhythmic Top 40 WWVA/WWLG (Wild 105.7, 96.7). No word yet on what Wild will be replacing Duran with.
The new station, which replaced active rock WKLS, enters a market that is already very competitive.
In the July Arbitron ratings Lincoln Financial adult top 40 WSTR (Star 94) ranked fifth in the market with a 5.8 share of total market listening with Cumulus mainstream top 40 WWWQ (Q100) just two tenths of a share behind and Wild grabbing 3.7 percent of the audience.
The launch follows an ongoing trend toward increased competition in the Top 40 format that includes several high-profile flips like CBS Radio's recent launch of mainstream top 40 WODS (AMP 103.3) in Boston which competes directly with Clear Channel's legendary WXKS (Kiss 108).
The trend toward more top 40-related radio stations is being driven by several factors including the incredible popularity of current pop music and Arbitron's change to the Portable People Meter for radio ratings which seems to capture more listening for mainstream, mass-appeal formats.