Dan Drolett: March 2005 Archives

The Lansing COL Shuffle



It seems that several radio stations may be coming to (or leaving) a city near you soon. Here's how the proposed shuffle, regarding three Lansing-area radio stations, shakes up:

WQTX-FM 92.7 (owned by Mid-Michigan Radio Group, or MMRG) has applied for a city-of-license change from Charlotte to Grand Ledge, along with the application for a new transmitter location, increased power and frequency switch to 92.9 FM.

WLCM-AM 1390 (owned by Christian Broadcasting System LTD) has applied for a COL change from Charlotte to Holt, and for addition of nighttime service from a new transmitter location closer to Lansing.

And if that's not enough, the above two proposed changes have sparked the need for yet a third proposed change:

WJXQ-FM 106.1 (also owned by MMRG) has recently applied for a COL change from Jackson to Charlotte (no technical modifications are included in WJXQ's application).

So why all of these changes? The reason for the first two is obvious: both the owners of WQTX and WLCM would like to improve their stations' coverage of the Lansing metro. However, that creates one tiny problem, in that it leaves Charlotte without a licensed radio station, or what the FCC refers to as "First Local" service. Hence, the application to change WJXQ's COL to Charlotte, so that the other two applications can be approved. WJXQ would not need to make modifications to their facilities, since the station already provides a city-grade signal over Charlotte.

One might wonder, though, in this day and age when many stations are tied to their cities of license by nothing more than an hourly ID, whether all of this paperwork and red tape is really necessary, although those who make their living from filing such applications might agrue differently. It will be interesting to see how this all pans out in the coming months.


WITL Brings Nascar to Mid-Michigan

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According to their website, WITL-FM 100.7 is bringing a new season of NASCAR racing to Mid-Michigan radio listeners, as an affiliate of the Performance Racing Network (PRN). WITL's sister station, WVFN-AM 730, had previously been an affiliate of the Motor Racing Network (MRN). WITL can certainly deliver a dedicated target audience for NASCAR coverage, making this deal a good matchup.


Lansing Baseball Fans Will Have Their Pick

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The Detroit Tigers may be searching for a TV home in their hometown, but at least they have found a radio home in Mid-Michigan for this season.

WTXQ FM 92.1 and WQTX-FM 92.7 (collectively known at The Ticket) will air all regular-season Tiger games this year, along with all regular-season games of the minor-league Lansing Lugnuts. This will be accomplished through the unique ability of the station to utilize both frequencies for separate broadcasts. When both teams are playing, the Tiger games will be broadcast on 92.1 FM, and the Lugnut games will be broadcast on 92.7 FM, and when there is no conflict, either game will be broadcast on both frequencies.

This is an advantage which The Ticket did not enjoy at this time last year, when the station landed the contract for the Lansing Lugnuts, and opted not to renew their contract with the Detroit Tigers (local AM Sports station WVFN picked up the Tiger broadcasts halfway through last season). At that time, 92.1 was still programming a Hot AC format as WKMY. That all changed in July of 2004, when WKMY dropped their format in favor of a simulcast of the All-Sports format on WQTX. The simulcast arrangement has opened up new possibilities, such as multicasts of local high school and college sporting events, and now the ability to carry both the Lugnuts and the Tigers, making many Mid-Michigan Tiger fans much happier this year.

In addition, XM Satellite Radio subscribers will be able to hear all of the Tigers' exhibition and regular season games as part of their regular monthly subscription, beginning this month.


Local Broadband Company Prepares to Expand in Clinton County



Westphalia Broadband Inc is gearing up to offer comprehensive broadband media service to residents of DeWitt and St. Johns, in addition to customers already being served in the company's hometown of Westphalia. Services offered by WBI will include telephone, high-speed DSL internet, and digital TV service delivered via Cat5 cable instead of the traditional coax used by most cable TV companies. According to the company's website, a package deal including telephone, high-speed internet and TV service is offered for less than $100 per month.

It's refreshing to see a locally-owned company jump into the business of delivering these digital media services, especially in a day and age when such services are mostly delivered by the corporate giants, at an ever-increasing cost to the consumer.


WJSZ Sold to Former Lansing GM

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Radio & Records online reports that WJSZ-FM 92.5, Ashley (Owosso) is being sold by Curwood Communications to Krol Communications for a reported price of $650,000. Curwood Communications is headed by president Michael Gaylord, and Krol Communications is headed by CEO/president Rod Krol. Mr. Krol was formerly the general manager of Citadel Communications' Lansing group of stations.

WJSZ currently transmits from studios in Owosso and transmitter facilities in Ashley, at an ERP of 2,000 watts. The station signed on in the spring of 1994 with an Oldies format, and later switched to a request-driven Rock/Pop format. Currently, the station is programming a mix of Classic and Mainstream Rock.


WILX Takes the Lead in Lansing TV News Ratings



The February Nielsen ratings are out, and the results were reported in Friday's Lansing State Journal.

WILX-TV has regained the lead over WLNS-TV in their 6 and 11 pm newscasts, while WLNS maintains a lead at 5 pm. In addition, WILX widened its lead over WLNS in the morning local news block (5 to 7 am). This was a win-back for WILX, since WLNS had previously held the lead at 6 and 11 pm.

It was also a good news book for WSYM-TV, with the Fox affiliate making gains at 10 pm. Former WILX morning news anchor Jason Colthorp recently took over the anchor chair for WSYM's 5:30 and 10 pm newscasts. The move appears to have paid off for WSYM, which entered into a news production agreement with WILX last summer.







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This page is a archive of recent entries written by Dan Drolett in March 2005.

Dan Drolett: April 2005 is the next archive.

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