by Jason Roop
Richmond's country radio competition appears to be kicking up.
Newsradio 1140 WRVA, which started a simulcast on 98.5-FM last year, has been playing construction sounds today, promising "something new" starting Monday morning at 9.
Owned by iHeartMedia, the station has registered Big985Country.com, Lance Venta reports in a blog on RadioInsight.com:
iHeart has also registered Big985Country.com for 98.5 W253BI Glen Allen/Richmond, VA. W253BI will give Richmond its fourth Country station joining SummitMedia’s “K95” WKHK and Alpha Media’s “98.9/100.3 The Wolf” WLFV/WARV-FM and Classic Country “93.1 Hank-FM” WWLB.
The Big985Country.com domain refers visitors back to iHeart.
Aaron Sutten, director of marketing and promotions for iHeartMedia Richmond, declines to discuss the changes before Monday.
iHeart, which also locally owns Q94, XL102 and 106.5 The Beat, must have sensed an opening in the market for a new country station. Longtime Richmond powerhouse K95, owned by Summit Media, sunk in Nielsen's quarterly spring ratings from the No. 2 spot to No. 8.
That's according to the topline ratings information released by Nielsen on July 16, measuring the average share of listeners from 6-10 a.m., ages 12 and older.