Z100 morning show goes national

March 30, 2009

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Z100 morning show goes national

By By Matthew Flamm

Published: March 30, 2009 - 5:59 am

Elvis Duran and the Morning Show, the long running drive-time show that used to be called The Morning Zoo, is going national.

Premiere Radio Networks, a subsidiary of Clear Channel Communications Inc., has picked up the New York-based program for syndication, the company announced Monday. Mr. Duran’s show, which features prank calls, song parodies and a team of sidekicks, is already heard in Philadelphia, Miami and Cleveland, in addition to New York.

It changed its name to be able to fit into more markets after the show began airing in Philadelphia last July.

In an interview, Mr. Duran acknowledged that the show stopped being New York centric once it started airing in Miami three years ago, but said that the change hadn’t hurt the program.

“Most of our content is not local-driven,” he said. “Other than a difference in accent, we stick to a very universally themed show.”

The move to syndicate the top-rated WHTZ-FM program came as no surprise to Clear Channel watchers. The radio and outdoor advertising giant was taken private by Thomas H. Lee Partners and Bain Capital Partners in a $20 billion deal last year and has been looking to cut costs.

Premiere has been rolling out the entertainment news show On-Air with Ryan Seacrest around the country over the last year and using it to replace local programming. Mr. Seacrest also does a syndicated Sunday morning show, American Top 40.

“Clear Channel is pushing national solutions,” said Robert Unmacht of media consulting firm iN3 Partners. “It cuts costs.”

For Premiere, syndicating the show also offers a chance at revenue growth, which has been hard to come by in the radio business.

“In addition to providing great ratings at those affiliates [that sign up], we can roll up that audience and sell it into the national ad marketplace,” said Charlie Rahilly, president of Premiere Radio Networks.

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