WGCI raids rival station for talent

WPWXWGCIIn a bold move, a local radio station has raided a rival’s cupboard.

As first reported by Radio Insight, WGCI-FM raided their crosstown rival WPWX (Power 92) and nabbed two of their viable on-air personalities: midday host Frankie Robinson and afternoon host Tone Kapone, who both continue in the same daypart capacity with WGCI. This is the second WGCI stint for Robinson, who co-hosted nights with Leon Rogers from 2007-09.

Power 92, owned by Crawford Broadcasting, and WGCI, owned by iHeartMedia, are both Urban Contemporary/Hip-Hop stations, each targeting the adult 18-34 demo.

Out at WGCI are midday host Lori Swain and afternoon host UB Rodriguez. Swain recently landed a show on Tribune’s local news channel, CLTV.

No replacements have been named for the existing Power 92 personalities, and no date has been set for Robinson’s and Kocene’s debuts on WGCI. Until then, interim jocks fill those slots.

This is the second time this year an iHeart urban station has raided a competing outlet for talent: in February, iHeart’s stole away popular Los Angeles morning radio personality Big Boy from Emmis’ Rhythmic CHR outlet KPWR-FM to help launch Real 92.3/KRRL-FM, the first true Urban Contemporary full-power station in L.A. since the demise of KKBT-FM “The Beat” in 2004. Emmis sued Big Boy for breach of contract, but he and iHeart prevailed.

Since then, ratings for KRRL improved over the former KHHT, while numbers slid for KPWR.

According to Nielsen Audio, WGCI finished ahead of Power 92, tied in eleventh place overall while WPWX tied for 23rd in the latest PPM survey. But the numbers in the key 18-34 demo are closer in ranking, according to Robert Feder.

This is the latest move iHeart has made locally to shore up its dayparts on its stations. A week ago, WLIT-FM hired Kristina Zsenyuk to host a live and local morning show on “My 93.9 FM”, replacing Paul “Cubby” Bryant on June 1. The move comes despite decent ratings for the New York-based Bryant.