Lots Of Moves

Both physical and format moves dominate our item this evening…

BACK HOME AGAIN: An Akron market radio station is back in Summit County this week.

And we found out because readers as far north as the Slavic Village area of Cleveland – just south of downtown – are reporting a much stronger signal out of Clear Channel hot AC WKDD/98.1.

We hadn’t heard anything from Freedom Avenue on this long-awaited move, but sure enough, WKDD is now once again at its former transmitter site on Bellaire Lane in Cuyahoga Falls, the former Northampton Township…the station’s long-time home at 96.5 FM.

The location is the same, but we hear WKDD is actually on a new tower at the Bellaire Lane site…something we assume World Champion Tower Hunter and long-time personal and professional Friend of OMW Scott Fybush will notice the next time he’s around these parts.

There are other WKDD related changes.

Clear Channel has put the signal of sister talk WHLO/640 Akron on WKDD’s HD2 channel, displacing its “Club Phusion” music programming.

We know that because Pittsburgh-based syndicated morning man Jim Quinn (“Quinn and Rose”, middays on WHLO) has been touting both the HD2 addition to 98.1 and the signal improvement on his show, telling listeners the show could now be heard (via 98.1-HD2) “from Cleveland to Dover”.

There’s a bit of radio exaggeration there, of course. HD signal range is somewhat less than the analog signal range.

But it’s still an improvement for “the more fortunate suburbs of Cleveland”, as Quinn puts it, compared to the either the main signal at 640 AM, or the existing simulcast on Canton’s WRQK/106.9-HD2.

We heard that simulcast continuing tonight…and don’t know if Clear Channel plans to do something else on WRQK’s HD2 channel. For now, we believe it stays.

WKDD has also adopted a new slogan to go along with its station identity as “Akron’s 98-1, The New ‘KDD”…it’s now offering music labeled “trom the 90s, 2K and Today”.

The road for the WKDD move back to Bellaire Lane was paved by the station changing its city of license from Canton to the Akron suburb of Munroe Falls…

MOVING BACK HOME, TOO: And there’s a format change (first of two) with this as well.

As expected, incoming owner Chris Lash has taken over WANR/1570 Warren and sister daytimer WRTK/1540 Niles, part of his pending purchase (as “Whiplash Communications”) of the two Beacon Broadcasting outlets.

And Lash has already made one change.

Also as expected, WRTK has split off from its Fox Sports Radio simulcast of WANR, and has flipped – to classic country, as “1540 The Farm, Youngstown’s Country Legends”. The change happened with Lash’s takeover of the stations in an LMA on Wednesday morning.

“1540 The Farm” already has a website, here.

Lash tells OMW that streaming audio will be available “very soon”. Reader Tim Lones at Cleveland Classic Media tells us that the streaming is already up and running, and reminds us that Lash is heard 7-10 AM on his new station. The streaming is going well past WRTK’s daytime signoff, and we’ve heard WRTK promote its website equally with the radio station.

Lash also notes that WANR and WRTK will move into the renovated WRTK building (the former WNIO/”CD 106″ studios) in the Mineral Ridge section of Trumbull County soon – over the Labor Day weekend. (CORRECTION: WRTK is already operating from there, and of course, its transmitter has always been there.)

As noted, WANR will continue with its Fox Sports Radio sports format.

The WRTK format change shouldn’t be a surprise, given Lash’s involvement in “legendary” country music.

This site touts his “Ohio Hayride: The Buckeye State’s Only Live Country Music Radio Show”, which airs in Southwest Ohio on the Waynesville station he operates (WYNS/89.3 “Hybrid FM”), and classic country WPFB/910 Middletown.

We haven’t asked him yet, but we assume Lash will air the show in some form on his newly flipped WRTK/1540…though there are only two shows left between now and mid-October.

The WRTK flip means there are now three classic country stations in the region – the other two are WRTK’s former sister AMs under Beacon Broadcasting, WLOA/1470 Farrell PA and WGRP/940 Greenville PA, simulcasting with the format.

With a sale of those stations and AC WEXC/107.1 Greenville PA “C107.1” imminent, there’s no guarantee that “Classic Country 1470 and 940” will continue…

AND A FORMAT MOVE: OMW hears that ESPN Radio affiliate WLKR/1510 Norwalk, a daytimer owned by Elyria-Lorain Broadcasting, has flipped format.

Station officials confirm directly to OMW that WLKR’s AM side is now airing Dial Global’s “Kool Gold” classic hits format, featuring 60s and 70’s music.

Bill Forthofer, station manager for both WLKR and AAA WLKR-FM 95.3, and country WKFM/96.1 Huron, tells OMW:

“We feel this music format will appeal to more people in our local market, and will allow us to better localize our station.”

According to WLKR/1510’s Wikipedia site, for what it’s worth, it’s a return to “oldies” music for the station…which carried Westwood One’s “Oldies Channel” until 2006, after a stint carrying that same network’s “Adult Standards” format…


One Response to Lots Of Moves

  1. Tim Lones says:

    Streming audio is already working on WRTK..Chris Lash himself is hosting 7-10AM Monday-Friday..I hope that if this is successful, he might find a way into the Canton/Akron Market down the road..

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