WAAF targets the Boston market with a hard-rock format, serving a small niche, but one that it has all to itself. WWTM is all sports, with a signal that doesn't reach anywhere east of Worcester County very well. They join ARS' existing stable of stations: WRKO (680), its flagship talker; WEEI (850), which is all sports; WEGQ (93.7), the Lawrence-licensed 70s outlet; and WBMX (98.5), the hot AC "Mix 98.5."
No immediate format changes have been announced, although ARS begins an immediate LMA with WAAF/WWTM. This morning's John Lander morning show on WBMX is taking calls from listeners, offering to "give away" WWTM to the caller with the best idea for the station.
A few ironies worth noting: WWTM is the former WAAB Boston, which was co-owned until the early 1940s with WNAC Boston -- the station that's now WRKO. The stations were broken apart (and WAAB moved to Worcester) by the 1943 anti-duopoly rules; now they're back in the same hands again. And just before becoming WWTM in September 1994 (and after stints as WNCR and WFTQ), 1440 was known as WVEI, and was leased out by the prior owners of WEEI to supplement WEEI's signal on its former 590 frequency, which was heavily nulled to the west.
What happens next is anyone's guess. Could WAAF end up being more profitable simulcasting ARS' WEGQ "the Eagle"? Despite a transmitter move last year, WEGQ's 93.7 signal remains a rimshotter in areas west and south of the city, and in Worcester it still suffers co-channel interference from ARS' WZMX (93.7) in Hartford. Since WAAF shows up in the ratings not only in Boston but in ARS stronghold Hartford, could ARS try to rimshot 107.3 into both markets? Or will ARS try to make technical upgrades to make 107.3 more of a Boston player? (That won't be easy; 107.3 is squeezed in tight with first-adjacents in Exeter NH, Fairhaven MA, Chatham MA, and Lewiston ME). And could 1440 return to its old function of simulcasting WEEI, which is still weak to the west of the city despite its 1994 move to the former WHDH 50kw facilities at 850? We'll keep you posted...