Jammin' Oldies-The Truth 101.5 flip even came as surprise to local general manager, he says

Categories: Media, News

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Jammin' fave Prince.
We recently told you about the sudden flip of The Truth, at 101.5, to Jammin' Oldies only moments before talk-show host Mike Zinna's program last Friday.

Jeff Norman, president and general manager of the outlet, says he was almost as blindsided. He knew something would likely happen soon, but not exactly when or how.

How is that possible? According to Norman, the decision about pulling the plug on The Truth, was made at the Virginia headquarters of Max Media, which owns 101.5 FM and its sister station, Hot 107.1 FM.

"I knew contracts were up for renewal with the Weather Channel and ABC News," which provided news and weather updates on The Truth, "and I knew we weren't in the position to sign them, because we didn't know the future of the station," he notes. "So I knew something was coming, but I didn't know when. I found out on the Friday before Labor Day, just like those other guys."

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The Truth logo.
These folks included Zinna, who "was pretty upset, and I don't blame him," Norman says. "But that's radio."

Besides, Norman points out, Zinna wasn't a Max Media employee. Instead, "he came in and brokered time with us. We gave Mike inventory for his services, and he could go out and resell his inventory."

At first, Zinna pitched weekend shows to 101.5, Norman continues -- but after becoming friendly with Truth program director Brian Wilson, his efforts evolved into a Zinna-hosted weeknight-program, followed by a move into the 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. drive-time slot a few weeks ago -- far too recently to judge whether he would have been able to build an audience over the long haul.

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Mike Zinna.
In a sense, Zinna was a victim of bad timing, as well as The Truth's failure to catch on during its year or so of life. "Trust me, if the station would have taken off and generated revenue, we wouldn't be having this conversation," Norman concedes. "I don't have anything negative to say about Mike. I wish him the best, and I'll give him recommendations about where he's heading next. It's a sad situation. But we couldn't keep doing what we were doing and expect a different result."

And that despite The Truth's attention-getting launch...

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