Lansing radio shake-up!

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At 9 a.m. this morning, September 15th 2005, Citadel Broadcasting in Lansing, Michigan is really shaking things up and we all know how much the listening audience loves change.

Much of this was generated by cross-town WHZZ-FM (Z-101.7) which MacDonald Broadcasting just switched, on the 12th, from CHR to the "Jack-FM" format calling itself "Mike-FM." This left Michigan's capital city with no hit music.

So, upper management decided to do what is happening all over America. They blew up WJIM-FM (97.5) which was best known as Oldies 97.5 at 10 a..m. Thursday. This change moves long-time morning icon Rich Michaels over to classic rocker WMMQ-FM (94.9) to be teamed with Deb Hart. Hart was partnered for many years with long-time market morning guy Tim Barron. Barron's future is unclear. Rich Michaels' long-time news partner Monica Harris is being relinquished to the morning show on soft-rock WFMK-FM (99.1).

Obviously, all of these stations are part of the Citadel cluster, which also owns news-talk WJIM-AM (1240), sports WVFN-AM (730) and country WITL-FM (100.7).

The announcement was made by Michaels and Harris on the air along with General Manager Rob Stryker and Corporate VP Matt Hanlon. Interestingly this move places Rich Michaels on the same exact frequency where he started in the early 80's at Lansing's (then CHR) WVIC The New 95 (94.9). The WVIC calls are now on Rubber City's classic hits FM at 94.1. That station was once WIBM-FM from nearby Jackson, MI. Confused? So is the audience.

The last song on WJIM-FM was "American Pie." The music IS dying...all over the country as terrestrial radio continues to chase the audience who are over 50 years old to satellite companies like XM and Sirius. And the beat goes on.....for a small monthly fee!

 

4 Comments

This, without a doubt, has been the most eventful year in Lansing radio since 1995, and the number of changes which took place that year boggled my mind. We saw (or rather, heard):

- the launch of "Wild Country 94.9" on WVIC, as they bailed out of CHR to take on market leader WITL.

- the dismantling of the Wild Country (a.k.a "The Cat") format four short months later, when MSP Communication (WITL's then-parent company) bought WVIC and relaunched it as Active Rock "Buzz 95" (I'm not sure, but The Cat may have been the shortest-lived format in Lansing radio history).

- the abandonment of the Country format by WILS-FM, as they filled the hole left when WVIC dropped CHR for Country, and relaunched themselves at WHZZ, "Z-101.7".

- WIBM's switch from "Oldies 94.1" to Country as "94.1 The Bear", which was basically a reaction to WVIC dropping their short-lived Country format.

- WJIM-FM's subsequent switch from Soft AC to Oldies within a few days of WIBM's format switch (making it a reaction to a reaction).

- the purchase of WITL, WVIC and WVFN by Liggett Broadcasting, which would signal more changes down the road.

All of the above occurred within a 7-month period in 1995. I thought THAT was a year, but the changes we've seen in this market in 2005 may just break that record. If there is ever evidence of a domino theory in radio, this is it!

ALL MUSIC AND NO MORNING SHOW TALK? THAT DOES NOTHING FOR ME TO BREAK UP A LONG COMMUTE. I MIGHT AS WELL PUT IN A CD OR SUBSCRIBE TO XM IF THESE ARE THE ONLY OPTIONS ON PUBLIC RADIO. THEY CERTAINLY GOT THE LOYAL LISTENERS UPSET BUT THE "BABY BOOMER" ERA IS EVIDENTLY OVER AS FAR AS MARKETING GOES AND I GUESS $$ TALKS.

Well, maybe some people like change. The highlight of my day started with Rich, Monica and John. I'm sure I am not the only one that is sad
to see the oldies station be eliminated.
What will happen to the Oldies merchandise, ex: mugs, jackets, etc? Will the listeners be able to purchase any items?

I work at the State of Michigan Secondary Complex.

Until September 15, it seemed like everytime I walked through the building I heard Oldies 97.5 everywhere. People here loved it. Not only that, it seems that everywhere I went (even in stores) the Oldies station was playing.

I find it interesting that it is the opinion of upper management that the Oldies format is dead. The reality is, all us Baby Boomers are now without children in the house which leaves us "wads" of discretionary income to spend on the sponsors of radio shows. We are one of the largest factions of the population right now. And our incomes are far greater than the younger people just starting out.

Unfortunately for commercial radio, if the Oldies format is no longer on a commercial station we will be forced to subscribe to the no-commercial format of XM radio.

The bottom line - - - we can no longer spend our "wads of money" on local commercial radio sponsors and we will, indeed, refuse to frequent their business establishments if they continue to sponsor commercial radio stations who stopped airing our favorite music.

We have a HUGE purchasing market. Perhaps upper management should reconsider their decision and bring back just one single Oldies format station.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Art Vuolo published on September 15, 2005 10:01 AM.

Fig returns to CK 105.5 was the previous entry in this blog.

Big Changes at Citadel-Lansing is the next entry in this blog.

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