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All-Business Radio About To Make Waves On AM Dial

June 16, 1988

BOSTON (AP) _ Business hours will be around the clock for planned radio networks based in Boston and Colorado.

Boston-based Business News Broadcasting Inc. is signing on stations for a 24-hour satellite feed of business and financial news scheduled to begin Oct. 1 on the AM band, which has been losing listeners steadily to FM stations in recent years.

In Colorado Springs, Colo., Business Network Radio Inc. is planning to enter the market next month with a mix of business news and general features.

″There’s a huge appetite out there for business news,″ said John H. Knowles Jr., one of the five BNB founding partners. ″We’re targeting the people at the top of the pyramid with the highest business acumen.″

Knowles said about 15 stations around the country had signed agreements to take either full 24-hour broadcasts or partial reports. The network will have about 25 editorial and 20 sales and executive employees at its Boston headquarters and its offices in New York city and Washington, D.C.

″Right now, much of the AM band is wasteland,″ said Knowles. ″We think there is a strong niche we could fill.″

Demographics, not numbers of listeners, will draw advertisers to BNB, said Knowles, who describes the projected BNB listener as a upper-level executive with at least a $15,000 investment portfolio.

″There are about 3.5 million people who fit in that category,″ he said. ″We’re not even going to get 10 percent of them. But the advertisers should recognize that this is a very attractive market.″

Among the other founders and investors who put up nearly $1 million over the past two years are Fred Walters, a former exective editor at WINS all-news radio in New York, and Jim Hood, former Associated Press deputy director of broadcast news operations.

Business Radio Network Inc. plans to begin broadcasting in between 12 to 15 markets on July 4, said Roger Petrik, vice president and chief financial officer.

Petrik said more than 100 stations had expressed interest in BRN and the company had secured about $1 million in financing for its first three months of operation.

News director Eric Burch estimates 80 percent of the format will be business-related, including mangement and investment tips and farming news. The company plans to place staffers or stringers in more than 60 major cities worldwide, he said.

″It’s the wave of the future,″ said Burch. ″It will be everything from hard-line features to what Lee Iacocca eats for breakfast.″

The nation’s first all-business station, KMNY in Los Angeles, also is planning to syndicate its programming in August. After 14 months on the air, KMNY has about 1 percent of the Los Angeles market.

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