OCEAN CITY – Hot Talk Radio expanded recently to fill in the gap of what national radio corporations have left behind.
WQMR President Jack Gillen has been involved with radio in many different capacities since 1963. He began WQMR 101.1 in Ocean City in 2004.
In September, WQMR partnered with WAMS Network, expanding its frequency across the Salisbury, Ocean City, Dover and Milford markets.
“Basically what we have done is we had one frequency 101.1 and we have merged with another small group,” Vice President Kevin Bresnahan said. “101 is now part of the WAMS Network … the 80’s channel that plays 1980’s music.”
The WAMS Network in the Salisbury/Ocean City market includes WAMS-FM 101.1 that simulcasts on 105.1 FM, which is “WAMS The 80’s Channel”. Furthermore, WQMR-AM 1590 AM simulcasts on 104.3 FM, which is a news format.
The WAMS Network in the Dover/Milford market includes WAMS-AM and is 1600 AM that simulcasts on 98.3 FM in Dover and 105.1 in Milford, which is also “WAMS The 80’s Channel”.
During the weekdays, Hot Talk Radio starts off with Mike and Mike in the Morning, an ESPN talk show from 6-10 a.m. Next on the agenda is “Power Talk” from 10 a.m. until noon where Gillen and Bresnahan take on various local topics and political issues with guests.
The schedule also includes Laura Ingraham, where listeners can follow colliding worlds of politics, the news media, and Hollywood. Up next is comedian Dennis Miller, followed by Mark Levin who has a top-rated show on WABC New York.
Hot Talk Radio is a Washington Redskins affiliate where fans can tune in to hear all Redskins games as well as the Maryland Terps, and on a local level Stephen Decatur High School.
“We are focusing the AM on Ocean Pines, Berlin, Ocean City, and Fenwick targets because a lot of what we’re doing including the football … are focusing on a local level,” Gillen said. “So we have two things working with this network, one is there is local level on the AM basis and the other is a regional level on the FM music appeal.”
Gillen explained that major radio corporations have made it extremely difficult for locally owned radio stations to compete. He said unlike those corporations who choose their music on a national level they are able to provide music that appeals to local listeners.
“The music is being chosen by disc jockeys that were on the air in the 80’s in this market place,” Gillen said. “We know what people listened to in that time period, and we know the people who were listening … this is something that national channels can’t provide.”
Bresnahan furthered that while national channels are pulling away from the area, back towards Baltimore and Wilmington, WAMS and WQMR are making their presence better known.
“We are more local and hands-on, and that will certainly service sponsors and clientele much, much better,” he said. “We have come back with a new strong program and people love it.”
Gillen believes in making a connection with other local businesses “is the way to go”. By expanding their frequency on a local level, Gillen is proving the point that there is stability for local individuals to start a business and compete with the “big guys”.
“We are live and local,” Bresnahan said. “We represent the tradition of the shore in radio.”