I’ll Have What SHE’s Having


Every once in a while I get excited about the name of a new radio station. I know, I need to get out more. But as a broadcasting veteran, and an optimistic and curious sort in general, possibilities always intrigue me.

A station this week in Chicago changed its call letters to WSHE. Now, the whole “SHE” thing is not new. A prior WSHE aired during my youth in Fort Lauderdale, and KSHE currently broadcasts in St. Louis–both deploying rock formats targeting men.

The reason why the new WSHE in Chicago is so important and rife with possibility is that its main demographic is women. Brilliant timing. Women now make up about half of our workforce. They are out front in business, science and medicine, politics, entertainment, and more. They add perspectives we men cannot, and they know how to win. Hell, Wendy’s now kicks the Burger King’s ass. Her burgers are better than his, and so are her ads.

As for the new station in the Windy City, SHE’s well-positioned. Very fitting in the town that gave rise to Oprah and some of the most successful female CEOs in the country. Imagine the possibilities. The ability to amplify the empowerment of women. The chance to turn bad into good. Perhaps some sort of timely and proactive partnership with the NFL’s Chicago Bears, as the pro football league strives to eradicate the abuse of women that so darkly tarnished its image in the past year.

No, SHE won’t just be all about playing the hottest cut from Adam Levine or Lady Gaga. The station will certainly offer personalities, imaging, and promotions that click with women. If they ace all those features, WSHE will be a big winner. And women in Chicago could win big, too.

Why stop there? There are streaming Gay and Lesbian stations on the Internet. What’s preventing a progressive company in a major city from cornering the homosexual market in terrestrial radio?

It appears the call letters KGAY and WGAY aren’t locked up, and would be very powerful brands if utilized the right way. Just like other prominent radio stations with winning names and top-notch presentations that capture their demos, their formats and/or their cities, like New York’s sports leader WFAN or the Bay Area’s legendary rocker KFOG.

How about stations targeting moms or dads? There’s already a WMOM in Michigan. Its slogan (Always Listen to Your Mom) is genius!

Other stations have tried calling themselves The Beat, The Drive, and have even used names like Bob, Dave, and Alice. So, what’s the next frontier in the branding of stations?

The answer may be right in your own hand. Mobile phones. As more people use smartphones to access radio stations through apps or other technologies, broadcast companies are falling over themselves to embrace mobile consumers and connect with them any way they can.

As crucial as these devices are and will continue to be, why not brand your station accordingly? How about Tech 99, Mobile 94.5, or The Cell? Along those lines, WCEL (a humble 380-watt station in Plattsburgh, New York near the Canadian border) and KCEL (broadcasting with only 630 watts to something called the Antelope Valley in Mojave, California) are both taken. But WCLL is available.

And, note to our broadcast friends in Canada, where the call signs of radio stations all begin with the letter C: there is no CELL. Get on it, Moose Jaw.

Dave Coombs has been a morning radio host on, among others, Boston’s WBOS and Wesleyan University’s WESU.

2 Responses to I’ll Have What SHE’s Having
  1. Beth Reply

    Women also account for more of the important demographic: discretionary spending. It makes sense for radio – like every other medium – to acknowledge that.

    • Dave Coombs Reply

      That’s why some folks call it a SHE-conomy.

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