Monday, March 25, 2013

DC Radio: WTOP HD3 Channel Spawns AM Format

Dave Kolesar
WTOP, the very successful multi-station operation in the nation’s capital owned by Hubbard Broadcasting, has begun airing a format called “The Gamut” on its nearby AM 820 kHz signal, WWFD in Frederick, Md., supplanting a simulcast of Federal News Radio. (See original posting, Click Here.)

According to Radio World, The Gamut format had launched earlier on the HD3 multicast channel of WTOP’s FM signal at 103.5 MHz.

“The station’s original 4,500 song playlist has been expanded to 10,000 songs and features an array of recorded music types that span from pre-WWII to present day,” according to an announcement.

“A sampling of artists includes Scissor Sisters, Doris Day, Mumford and Sons, Devo, Elvis Presley, Boney M and Johnny Cash.The Gamut will also serve as a platform for up and coming local artists looking to bring exposure to their music.”

Paul McLane at Radio World writes: 
Conventionally minded program directors everywhere will blanch at this musical mess; yet this is exactly the kind of music mashup that I loved in college. And perhaps unsurprisingly, the idea has its roots in college radio. According to the announcement, “The station was born from the extensive and unique music collection of WTOP Engineer Dave Kolesar, whose long-time experience with college radio and deep ties to local music gives The Gamut a mix of old and new, mainstream and homegrown.” When was the last time you heard a station give a shout out to an engineer for its musical programming? (Broadcast consultant Sam Brown helped too.)
WTOP’s Senior VP/GM Joel Oxley guesses that with more than 10,000 songs in its library and intended to be played, “We are pretty sure The Gamut has the largest playlist in the country for a local radio station.” The format will continue to be heard as well on multicast channels of two other FM signals in the area. The station also plans to accept artist submissions, serve as a backup station for sports aired on WTOP’s 1500 kHz signal and carry local sports coverage.

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