Mid-Michigan: March 2005 Archives

The Lansing COL Shuffle

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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.

 

A True Gem in Local Radio

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In this day of radio stations selling out to bigger corporations and losing their local flare, it is pretty hard to find a truly local radio station anymore. Sure, you may have a radio station that broadcasts from your hometown, but they might not be very local. They may be completely satellite fed. And if they are techically FROM your town, they may aim all of their programming to the bigger city 25 miles away from you.

Fortunately, there is still one radio station that has kept it's local flavor. This radio station is WCSR at 92.1 in Hillsdale. For the record, they also have an AM simulcast at 1340. WCSR is very heavy on local news. They even branch out and report the news for nearby towns like Osseo, Hudson and Litchfield. Communities that would otherwise have little or no means for local news. Their local news also includes local commentary. In addition, they feature a 'Pet Rescue' segment where they announce lost or found cats and dogs. Truly a staple unique only to local radio stations.

Between the heavy local news sets on WCSR, their primary format is Adult Contemporary. But they don't just play the same songs you would expect to hear on any Adult Contemporary station. They play songs that truly do not get any airplay on other radio stations. Not because these songs aren't any good, but because other radio stations simply do not touch these songs. Sunday mornings are unique because they play the best in Big Band and Standards. They do go to the satellite on nights and weekends with the JRN AC feed, but this the only time they are not live.

Perhaps the only bad thing about WCSR is their limited signal. They broadcast on a very crowded frequency. So even with 6000 watts, their signal does not make it out very far. During favorable weather conditions, they can be wiped out even in Coldwater and as close to Hillsdale as Litchfield and Somerset. The AM signal only serves Hillsdale and Jonesville before succumbing to the perils of broadcasting on a 'graveyard' frequency. But if you are within listening range of WCSR, it is definitely worth a listen!

 

Local Broadband Company Prepares to Expand in Clinton County

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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.

 

WJKN signs on

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After a long wait, Spring Arbor University has finally flipped the switch on long-time CP WJKN-FM. They can be heard at 89.3 FM simulcasting sister station WSAE for now, but that will almost certainly change. Spring Arbor surely doesn't need the same station on two FM frequencies licensed to the same city. They even share a tower!

They had to have signed on just today. I was trying to DX last night and 89.3 was dead air. I knew something was up when I actually heard a signal here.

I would definitely expect changes on one of the Spring Arbor stations in the near future. And when I hear any of these changes, i'll share them for everybody here.

 

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.

 

The saga of WWZP Freeland

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Yet again, it appears that low wattage WWZP-FM 90.9 Freeland (240 watts @ 213 feet) has been sold. This time, Educational Media Foundation is paying $75,000 to owner American Family Association for the station. In the past year, there have been 2 other aborted attempts at selling this station.

In March 2004, Great Lakes Community Broadcasting (owner of several similar low-wattage stations and many translators across the lower peninsula) was to pay $40,000. That deal was approved by the FCC, but apparently never closed as the licensee has remained in the name of AFA.

Then last August, another deal had the CP moving from AFA to Edgewater Broadcasting, a division of Radio Assist Ministry Inc, for $1. Edgewater at closing was to give AFA credit toward the purchase of FM translators, CPs or stations licensed to Edgewater in the amount of $80,000 and also was to give AFA's Great Lakes Community Broadcasting credit toward the purchase of FM translators, CPs or stations licensed to Edgewater in the amount of $10,000. Apparently that deal never closed either. (Edgewater and Radio Assist Ministry are a story for another day....)

Got all that? Me neither.

Now California based Educational Media Foundation will take a swing at aquiring the station. EMF runs two formats across the USA- the Contemporary Christian "K-Love" format heard on WAKL-FM 88.9 Flint and a Christian Rock format called Air 1 heard on WTRK-FM 88.1 Bay City. EMF also holds a number of construction permits for new translator stations here in Michigan. Time will tell if this sale ever completes.

 

WILX Takes the Lead in Lansing TV News Ratings

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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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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Mid-Michigan category from March 2005.

Mid-Michigan: April 2005 is the next archive.

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