’You give us 22 minutes. We’ll give you the world,’ is the boast
from the New York radio station, 1010 WINS. To translate this from
mediaspeak, WINS is a rolling news service on a cyclical format, so
every 22 minutes, you’ll hear business news, travel, sport and two sets
of headlines. In fact, the average listener tunes in for 40 minutes at a
The rolling news format is still relatively new on this side of the
Atlantic - London’s News Direct 97.3 is the only one as yet - whereas
WINS has been going for 32 years, and is by no means the only station of
its kind in the US. Talk stations are far more popular in America than
in the UK and dominate national listening. Six out of the top ten
stations in the country operate on a news/talk format, while in the TV
world, CNN has taken more than a few pointers from WINS’ s success.
WINS is owned by CBS, which now has five other stations in New York
alone following recent deregulation of the radio industry.
Interestingly, this includes WINS’ close rival, WCBS, although WINS
brings in 45 per cent of CBS’s revenue in the city, working on an
impressive profit margin of 40 per cent, and raking in a cool dollars
32.1 million in advertising revenues last year.
It operates its advertising spots in a way that would leave many UK
advertisers gasping - 19 breaks per hour, all solus. The station,
however, has been known to take a somewhat cavalier attitude, ignoring
scheduled breaks when news coverage demands it, although it all gets
evened out in the end.
WINS isn’t concerned about how many hours people tune in - it is
intended to be a short-term medium, hence its ’22 minutes’ boast. It
sits comfortably at the number two slot in New Yorkers’ morning
preference behind the talk and rock station, WXRK, which broadcasts
’shock-jock’ Howard Stern’s syndicated show. WINS delivers
two-and-a-half million adult ABC1 listeners each week out of a
population of 14 million, and its share of listeners rises at the
weekend since Stern only broadcasts on weekdays.
Mark Mason, the executive editor and programme director of WINS, is
confident the rolling news format will continue to spread. But his own
ambitions are more modest. ’We’re past the building stage, and just
maintaining it now. We’re happy to stay where we are, as it would be
difficult to grow any more,’ he says.
Owned by - CBS
Launched - 1965
Listening figures - 2.5million adults per week
Ad breaks - 19 solus breaks per hour
Cost of 30-sec spot in morning drive time dollars - 2,000
1996 ad revenue - dollars 32.1 million