I've had nothing but radio news this week, it seems. First it was Motorola's new iRadio service, and then the latest portable units from Motley Fool Rule Breakers pick XM Satellite Radio. Now the WashingtonPost Co. (NYSE:WPO) has announced plans to launch a local radio news service, in hopes of converting listeners into loyal subscribers.

The new station will launch in March in cooperation with Bonneville International Corp., which owns radio stations in eight U.S. markets and competes with media companies such as Clear Channel (NYSE:CCU) and Viacom's (NYSE:VIA) CBS Radio (formerly known as Infinity Broadcasting). According to the company's press release, the new station will feature news, information, and "diverse views" on all manner of issues that impact listeners in the Washington, D.C., area, including consumer information, sports, cultural events, and so forth. The station will also include some journalists' commentary from outside the pages of TheWashington Post.

The melding of traditional radio and newsprint, two media that have been struggling as new technologies erode their core audiences, isn't the only interesting aspect of this deal.

Although the newspaper industry's circulation woes have been a hot topic lately, some companies have shown improvements. National newspaper companies such as New York Times (NYSE:NYT), Gannett (NYSE:GCI), and Dow Jones (NYSE:DJ) have paid close attention to their Web properties as well. (Recent data suggests that online news is alive and well, including The Washington Post's own website.) Given the trend towards digital content, I find Washington Post's turn toward radio an interesting -- if somewhat bewildering -- plan.

This isn't the first thought-provoking shakeup in D.C. radio. A year ago, I wrote about the demise of an old and well-loved local station, WHFS -- and wondered about the future of terrestrial radio in general. Washington Post Radio will take over 107.7 FM and 1500 AM in D.C., the spots long held by Bonneville's well-known and high-rated news station WTOP. Washington Post probably paid a pretty penny for that coveted spot on the FM dial; many Washingtonians automatically head there when seeking local content (one of the best advantages left to traditional radio). To make the move work, Bonneville will shift WTOP and its popular classical music station -- the only one in D.C. -- to new spots on the dial. It's also entirely axing another channel, "modern music" station Z104.

It'll be interesting to see whether Washington Post will get its money's worth from this endeavor. This suprising move may be the first of many, if other traditional media companies take similar chances to remain relevant with audiences.

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Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned.