Radio personality Michael O’Hara is passionate about NASCAR and the loyal fans it attracts.
That is why the senior account manager for Port Broadcasting LLC has expanded the radio coverage of auto racing by airing it on 102.9 WCYR Country Road FM in addition to 1400 AM this season.
“We are going to carry every Monster Energy Series and Xfinity Series race along with four Indy Car Series races, including the Indianapolis 500,” O’Hara said.
The races are simulcast on 1400 AM and 102.9 FM, which are the only stations in eastern Maine that carry NASCAR.
“We’re committed to motorsports,” said O’Hara, who hosts his own oldies music show on Port Broadcasting stations WGUY 96.1 FM and 1230 AM.
The 250-watt AM station has a range of approximately 25 miles around Greater Bangor and by expanding NASCAR coverage to FM, O’Hara said they will be able to reach more listeners.
Plus, broadcasts on the FM side are in stereo.
He said the response this year has been excellent and that there is a healthy NASCAR fan base in Maine thanks to local racetracks such as Speedway 95 in Hermon.
“[NASCAR] exudes family values,” O’Hara said. “It is a family-driven sport from grandfather to grandson. And it’s the second-most popular sport among women behind the NFL.
“The loyalty among the fans is like no other sport,” he said.
O’Hara pointed out that according to an American Marketing Association survey, NASCAR fans are 76 more likely to purchase products that are affiliated with NASCAR than is the general public. And 51 percent feel by purchasing products from sponsors of NASCAR, they are contributing to NASCAR.
Those are among the facts he lists when trying to attract sponsors for the races on the radio station.
O’Hara has eight sponsors for Port Broadcasting’s NASCAR coverage, but he said he would like to expand that to 15.
He said because WGUY is a low-power station, he is able to sell his ad time more inexpensively than a larger station. A 30-second commercial costs $4.95, but longer-term deals are available.
O’Hara said NASCAR racing continues to improve its image.
“There’s more diversity now, and it has a heartland feel to it, a soul,” he said.
The Brewer-based radio station competes with television during races, but O’Hara points out that Monster Energy Series and Xfinity Series races are split up among four different networks, while all of the races are broadcast on their two stations. It also allows folks who don’t have access to a TV to follow the races.