Press-Republican

Local News

March 6, 2008

WIPS Radio goes dark

WIPS victim of declining advertising revenue

CROWN POINT -- One week ago today, financial difficulties forced WIPS Radio here to fall silent.

The 1,000-watt AM broadcaster went off the air at noon on the last day of February.

Owned by BisiBlue LLC, a division of Crown Point Network Technologies, WIPS first went on the air in the 1950s.

General Manager Gregg Trask said that when they acquired the station seven years ago, they thought they would sustain the operation from advertising sales.

"We can't support it anymore. We feel horrible about it. The ad revenue never developed."

FORMAT CHANGE

When BisiBlue took over WIPS, it started out with six employees and former television soap-opera star Renee Props as a disc jockey. But declining revenue meant most of those jobs had to be pared.

About a year ago, to save money, WIPS switched from a locally produced format of music and talk to network programming supplied by ABC Radio.

"We tried adjusting different things to make it easier to run," Trask said. "Crown Point Network Technologies was taking a loss every month to keep it on the air."

It was costing about $3,000 a month to stay on the air, and Trask said the mounting deficit convinced them they had to pull the plug.

"We felt really bad about going silent. If I could find some money, I'd like to keep it open. We know we had listeners. Somewhere down the line, it has to translate into a break-even situation. That's what we were trying for. We couldn't find enough ad revenue to do that."

LOCAL SUPPORT

One reason the station couldn't make a profit was because the number of locally owned businesses that want to advertise has been declining, Trask said.

"There isn't as much local business as in the '70s and '80s. There isn't the interest or ability to maintain local voices. We felt we were an integral part of the area. It provided a real service to the community."

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