The Elephant In The Radio Room

Long-time readers may have noticed that we’ve had almost nothing on one of the biggest changes about to hit Cleveland radio…changes at AAA/adult rock WNWV/107.3 “V107.3”, the Elyria-licensed station that is being sold by Elyria-Lorain Broadcasting to Akron’s Rubber City Radio Group, owners of oldies/news WAKR/1590, rock WONE/97.5 and country WQMX/94.9.

The application to sell the station was approved by the FCC on November 28th, and closing – and a temporary move of the station to RCRG’s Akron Radio Center – should happen soon. A part of the sales agreement is that Rubber City won’t be able to operate 107.3 from its current Elyria home, thus the need to move to Akron until permanent Cleveland area studios are put together.

We have our reasons for not saying much, but most of it is…well, we don’t trust a lot of the information we’ve heard.

In the time since the sale of WNWV was announced, we’ve heard speculation that the station would carry pretty much every format imaginable. We’ve heard just about every format except polka. We’ve heard smooth jazz, smooth AC, soft AC, alt-rock, syndicated talk (!) and even a retooling of the current “V107.3″‘s AAA rock format as possibilities.

The first public item causing stir in the local radio community was this item from Cleveland Scene writer Anastasia Pantsios, entitled “V 107.3 to return to snooze music format”:

In late 2009, Elyria-based WNVW 107.3 FM abandoned its rapidly fading “Wave” format — “smooth” jazz & soft R&B — in favor of something a little more contemporary and upbeat. It became V 107.3, which featured a “Triple A” format— a mix of contemporary and classic rock, with artists like Steely Dan and John Fogerty getting airtime alongside newer acts like the Black Keys, Snow Patrol, and Clevelander Kate Voegele.

But after two years in which the uneven, mismanaged and under-resourced V107.3 failed to catch fire, the station will return to the world of smooth contemporary sounds. Dave Koz, Yanni, and Lionel Richie fans can rejoice when they wake up from their naps. For most Northeast Ohioans, the station might as well be going off the air, as “smooth” anything has bled followers across the country. Only about two dozen stations nationally still feature this soporific format.

For out-of-towners, Scene is Cleveland’s “alternative weekly” tabloid newspaper, and the ratio of rock music fans vs. smooth jazz/AC fans in its readership is probably 50,000 to one.

Pantsios’ article spells out the end of “V107.3”, with employees “out of work effective December 16; they have been ordered not to discuss their severance or the station’s format change.”

We do hear Facebook chatter that V midday personality Ravenna Miceli has lined up a special music mix for what is expected to be her last week on the air – this week.

Meanwhile, the out of work V folk will be replaced by others. Rubber City Radio has placed this help wanted ad everywhere from the Plain Dealer to radio trade site All Access:

WNWV Cleveland is looking for full and part time on-air talent with strong communications skills and ability to connect with listeners on-air and online. For part-time, weekends a must as well as availability for occasional weekday fill-ins. Proficiency in content creation & social networking a must. NO PHONE CALLS. Resume and audio demo required to Nick Anthony, c/o Rubber City Radio Group 1795 West Market Street Akron, Oh 44313 or email to nanthony (at) rcrg.net The Rubber City Radio Group is an EOE.

Friend of OMW Lance Venta at Radio Insight snooped out a domain registration by Rubber City:

Rubber City has registered 1073TheWave.net for its new acquisition. The station had flipped from Smooth Jazz “The Wave” to AAA in December 2009. We’re assuming this will be a revised Smooth AC this time around much like the format has evolved in other markets should the move to the previous format take place.

And add this just out there today, from the industry E-mail newsletter RAMP (Radio and Music Pros) (free subscription link here):

RAMP has learned that once the station officially changes hands, Rubber City will flip it to Smooth AC under its former identity of “107.3 The Wave,” the name it was known as during most of its 22 years as a Smooth Jazz outlet before going Triple A in 2009. “It will feature Pop and Urban AC vocals along with Smooth Jazz vocals and instrumentals,” SVP Nick Anthony tells RAMP.

With RCRG’s Nick Anthony talking openly about the new station, at least in the radio trade press, we guess that the secret’s “out”.

There have certainly been a lot of pieces out there, but we haven’t comfortable enough to confirm details on what we’ve heard before now.

Readers may recall we tracked everything but the lunch schedule of incoming personnel at new CBS Radio sports talker WKRK/92.3 “The Fan” in Cleveland. But this is entirely different…and we wouldn’t be at all surprised if our friends at West Market Street floated a few trial balloons in the air, hoping they’d reach us.

Meanwhile, regarding “92.3 The Fan”, almost none of our information was coming directly from the Halle Building, due to the national CBS Radio effort to build the new station.

It’s certainly clear that major changes will be coming at the 107.3 spot on Northeast Ohio’s radio dial…soon…though we haven’t heard an exact date for the format change…

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13 Responses to The Elephant In The Radio Room

  1. Gray Death Legion says:

    Hooray! Crappy radio returns to Cleveland! Seriously, the irony is almost sickening. Cleveland is supposed to be the “Rock and Roll Capital of the World,” and here are our commercial FM options: Poorly programmed formats, a half-hearted attempt to mimic an iPod on shuffle, a low-budget sportstalk station that doesn’t even have the rights to air games from any of the pro teams. Wow. Now this. I shouldn’t be surprised though, given this market’s track record. I said sayonara to CLE FM a long time ago, but this really does feel like yet another bullet is being put into the ossified corpse that is this city’s radio market. Praise the FSM for satellite and Internet options.

    • Joyce says:

      Speaking of “crappy”, that music this station plays now is the epitome of “crappy” music. I stopped listening to this radio station when they changed the format to the mess that is played on it now. Bring back some “smooth jazz” PLEASE!! Only then will you get this listener back. Everybody is not into the “Rock” music which is hard to listen to unless your a 20 year old who really does not appreciate good music.

  2. Tim says:

    V 107.3 was a good idea but badly executed for a niche format. The new Wave station will fill a void in the Cleveland market for “soft” music, especially with WDOK sounding more “Fresh”/ hot ac these days. The new station should do well with the female and 35-64 demos. AAA can still be heard in NE Ohio on WBWC 88.3 Berea and WAPS 91.3 Akron.

    • Tim says:

      Should have said WJCU 88.7, not WBWC which has an alternative format.

      • Joyce says:

        THANK GOD. Get that “Rock” crap off the airwaves. Bring back some jazz music. Everyone is not in their 20″s and go for that “loud” crap. Bring back some “real” enjoyable music

  3. john allen says:

    As a huge fan of ravenna and Rocco the the rock dog I am dissapointed and sad that it is coming to an end I have a job maintaining apt complex turning over empty suites so all day I listen to the radio when I Told my supervisor that this is the last week for 107.3 format he ask what do we listen to now? Serious in the morning ravenna early afternoon Rocco it made our job easier to deal with great jocks and great music same thing when 92.3 changed to sports wow! Except 107.3 was our favorite now what? We loved the format they have now they played music no other station would looks like john Carroll will get my ears until I hear that ravenna and Rocco. Are at another satiation playing great music again

    John Allen
    Maple heights, Ohio
    John1958allen@gmail.com

  4. Dennis Beidle says:

    Does this mean the end of WNWV’s HD radio feed, since neither of Rubber City Radio’s two FM stations carry HD broadcasts?

    Might not matter anyways, since HD radio seems to be the 2000’s version of 1980’s AM stereo….

    The only bright spot would be that Rubber City Radio tightens V107-3’s (or whatever they’ll call it) format. In a recent one half hour afternoon period the playlist veered from the late Gerry Rafferty’s “Baker Street” to Missing Person’s “Destination Unknown”. V107-3 has made it a point to id the group mainly by its lead singer Dale Bozzio (or, as one dj put it: the “infamous Dale Bozzio”).

    The other thing is the station’s identity seemed, well, confused. I’ve heard WNWV id’s as: “V107-3, Cleveland” and as “107-3-CLE”. Come to think of it, the station DOES currently sound like a small town wannabe a big city broadcaster (think Findlay or Lancaster), anyways, since most of the commercials now are for Lorain County businesses.

    It was a much, much better station before it’s format switch in 2009.

    • Steve says:

      I’ve always hated the term “HD Radio.” HD refers to television. Guess it was the “hot term” of the day. I even saw ads for HD countertops and sunglasses. No wonder viewers are confused…

  5. Bernadette says:

    Disappointing news. After losing 92.3 to more “lets blame the QB and coach” talk, I had programmed 107.3 for their variety of music. I guess Cleveland is just destined to have THE WORST choices for radio stations. What a shame.

    • Theresa says:

      I’m with you there, Bernadette…..those two were also my “go to” radio stations!

      At least we have decent college radio stations – I’ve been listening to WJCU and WCBS- now they’re my “go to” radio stations!

      As an aside, I’m 49 years old………

  6. Yekimi says:

    Don’t know how long they’ve been doing it but WUAB has been testing their 49.3 sub-channel for “Bounce”.

  7. BOTR says:

    Is there any news about what type of format 940 WGRP/1470 WLOA is going to have? Judging by what I’m hearing on WGRP (songs mixed in with construction noises), I’m going to guess it’s going to be a “variety hits” station.

  8. Jerry says:

    This the 4th time in my lifetime when a great radio station changed from “My” music…hip rock or whatever you want to call it to snooze jazz. It makes me sick!

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