Alt Rock “99X” For Cleveland Translator?

UPDATE 5/23/12 12:02 PM: As expected, alt-rock “99X” has launched on the 99.1 translator known legally now as W256BT (due to the move from 99.7 to 99.1).

Debut song: “Gold on the Ceiling” by Akron’s Black Keys.

UPDATE 5/23/12 11:15 AM: There’s word out of Oak Tree that this may launch on 99.1 FM as soon as 12 noon today.

We noticed what we think is a dead carrier on 99.1 a little earlier, replacing a distant, scratchy pickup of what we believe was BAS Broadcasting’s WFRO/99.1 “Eagle 99.1” Fremont. The (for-now) OMW World Headquarters is on the fringe of the 99.1 air signal…

———-

It looks like it might be alternative rock, not talk, for that Clear Channel Cleveland FM translator we’ve been tracking ever since it was licensed to Lorain.

99X LogoClear Channel has launched a website – 99XCleveland.com – and an iHeartRadio feed of what’s currently being heard on the HD2 sidechannel of rock/talk WMMS/100.7. (It’s the Premium Choice “Alt Project” feed with WMMS HD2 liners and no mentions of “99X”, yet.)

The website promises you can listen to “99X” on the aforementioned 99.1 FM, the 250 watt translator mounted on the tower of classic hits WMJI/105.7 in the Parma antenna farm, and calls the station “Cleveland’s New Rock Alternative”.

As of this writing, W259BI/99.1 doesn’t appear to be on the air, though Clear Channel filed Monday for a license to cover its construction permit.

Long-time readers know that when we are wrong, we nearly put up a billboard telling everyone.

Yes, we’ve been speculating that 99.1 would end up as an FM repeater of talk WTAM/1100.

We did make it clear, however, that our thoughts were educated guesses based upon Clear Channel’s moves in other markets in similar situations.

The company attached FM translators to powerful AM news/talkers in Portland OR (50 kW KEX/1190) and Miami (5 kW low-band WIOD/610) among others, in markets where it had no flagging full-power FMs to spare.

In other markets, like Sacramento (50 kW KFBK/1530) and Albany (50 kW WGY/810), Clear Channel sacrificed full-power FMs for the AM news/talk simulcast.

Add to that that, off the top of our head, at least, we can only name one Clear Channel HD-fed FM translator used to mount a new music format – “103.1 The Vulcan” in Birmingham AL – and the circumstantial evidence was very much in favor of a talk simulcast on Cleveland’s 99.1. (Even the Birmingham effort took over – for a time – an AM that was the long-time home of talk WERC, which itself moved to a full-power FM frequency.)

Note that we carefully pointed out each time that we’d heard exactly nothing about the fate of 99.1, format-wise, out of Oak Tree. We haven’t yet heard anything about “99X”, either.

But…we’re not ready to close the books on this one, yet.

Clear Channel has, after all, pulled a “fake” on us before.

Remember when Dover-New Philadelphia’s WJER-FM/101.7 was in the process of moving north to Canton, and someone at Freedom Avenue messed with our heads by creating a full-fledged country format website claiming to be for “101.7 The Bull”?

The station, of course, is today’s AC WHOF/101.7 “My 101.7”, and aside for perhaps a crossover tune or two, not a note of country music ever aired on that frequency.

OK, so this is a bit more elaborate, complete with the iHeartRadio feed and public website.

Maybe we’re just gunshy…

Advertisements

14 Responses to Alt Rock “99X” For Cleveland Translator?

  1. Lance Venta says:

    There’s plenty of Clear Channel music fed translators. Along with The Vulcan in Birmingham there is also Urban 104.1 The Beat and Gospel Hallelujah 105.1. There’s Hot AC “100.7 The River” that just launched in Cincinnati (with no web presence), Urban “Wild 103.9” in Lexington.

    99XCleveland.com was registered on September 20, 2011 so apparently this decision was made sometime after 92.3 became The Fan and perhaps changed CC’s plans as I too expected WTAM on 99.1.

    • I count the three Birmingham translators as the same effort 🙂 And I was unaware of Cincinnati, though you say it “just launched”. CC hasn’t been sprouting these things up nationwide like Cumulus has. (Isn’t “99X” the name of Cumulus’ HD-fed alt-rock translator in Atlanta, moved off a full-power signal long ago?)

      It is as easy a play for them as the FM simulcast of WTAM would have been. Plug and play Premium Choice format. Wonder if they’ll do anything local on it? Assuming no, it’s almost a free station for them, and may pick up some young demos not being served by WMMS…

  2. schafe says:

    The first 6 or 8 songs seem to lean more AAA than Alt rock. I suppose they’re protecting MMS.

  3. schafe says:

    Of course, I post that, then the next song is P.O.D.’s Alive…which is certainly rock.

  4. Mark says:

    Here in Atlanta, Cumulus is the king of translators. They have 2 powerful translators, one with the Journey AC format and the other picking up their old WNNX/99X Alternative. Dickey Broadcasting (which is separate from Cumulus) have their WCNN/680 The Fan on a translator too. There is some speculation that Cumulus may move their Atlanta Greatest Hits to one of the translators when the current frequency becomes an All News station next week.

    Clear Channel put WGST/640 on a real low powered translator that no one can hear.

  5. I can’t receive the signal in South Euclid. It is currently getting walked on by Eagle 99.1 from Fremont. Must be an inversion or atmospheric conditions.

    • We were just thinking of that when we were getting a scratchy “Eagle 99.1” signal just before “99X”‘s debut, and the current OMW World HQ is not all that much closer to Fremont than you are. Friday, even full power stations were getting wiped off the dial by Detroit/Windsor/Ontario/NW Ohio stations.

      We assume the W256BT signal will be even worse affected, at least some distance from the stick…

  6. fmacek says:

    Good station, too bad you can’t hear it into downtown Cleveland. It’s dead by the time you hit the lakeshore.

  7. squibby says:

    If I can’t pick this station up where I work I’m going to have to find another job. Ever since 107.3 changed formats I keep changing the station to find something to listen to.

  8. Yekimi says:

    I heard it in SW Akron, but sounded scratchy and distant, really had to crank up the sound to make out what was being played. Not my cup of tea, so probably won’t listen in again.

  9. Brian says:

    I can’t pick up station in Westlake or Strongsville. It’s a shame the station has potential. Detroit has better radio than the home of rock and roll, I used to pick up their radio over the lake and it was much better. I will be switching to all streaming via internet when home and on the road. Radio has been dead for awhile unless you are a 15 year old girl.

  10. scott beeman says:

    THIS STATION IS KICKASS, HOWEVER I CANT PICK IT UP AND I LIVE IN CUYAHOGA HEIGHTS, WICH IS IN CLEVELAND. SO WHY DO YOU CALL IT A CLEVELAND STATION? I AM 47 YEARS AND SICK OF THE CRAP THESE STATIONS ARE PLAYING AND I CAN HERE THEIR CRAPPY MUSIC ALL THE WAY OUT OF THIS DIYING STATE. LETS ALL GET OUR HEADS OUT OF OUR ASSES AND PAY FOR MORE WATTS OR WHAT EVER IT TAKES, HELL I WILL EVEN DONATE IF I IM ASKED. SURE HOPE THIS STATION STICKS AROUND TILL IM DEAD CAUSE SOMEBODY FINALLY GOT IT RIGHT.

%d bloggers like this: