Ohio Media Watch is reporting that Clear Channel-owned Country WWWW-FM 102.9 Ann Arbor, along with two co-owned stations in Battle Creek, are being swapped with Cumulus in a transaction that will move Rock WRQK FM in Canton, OH from Cumulus to Clear Channel.
It makes no sense for Cumulus to obtain only W4 Country in Ann Arbor - creating a stand-alone in the market. Michiguide speculates that the swap will not only include 102.9, but the entire Ann Arbor cluster- returning it to Cumulus, which sold what was then Rock WIQB 102.9, Oldies WQKL 107.1, Sports WTKA AM 1050 and Business News WYBN AM 1290 to Clear Channel back in 2000.
If this sale/swap does happen, and it appears likely, it explains the recent call letter changes at AM 1310 Detroit, which dropped its WDTW calls in favor of WWWW, and FM 102.9 Ann Arbor which became WWWW-FM in July after a brief switch to WFOR-FM from WWWW- which it took in October of 2000 after residing at FM 106.7 Detroit since the 1960s. Clear Channel obviously wants to keep control of those highly desirable calls in the Detroit market.
In the Battle Creek market, where Clear Channel owns Soft Rock WBXX-FM 95.3, Classic Rock WWKN-FM 104.9, News-Talk WBCK-AM 930, and Sports WBFN-AM 1400, Michiguide is guessing that the swap will include all four stations, not just two, and add to Cumulus' holdings in Battle Creek/Kalamazoo where it currently owns Top 40 WKFR-FM 103.3, Rock WRKR-FM 107.7, and News/Talk WKMI AM 1360.
If these transactions do occur, Clear Channel essentially will be divesting its stations in two of Michigan's smaller markets - what it gets in exchange in terms of market size will be interesting to learn.
Unfortuantely, the FCC's CDBS database system is currently unavailable and none of these transactions can be confirmed at the time of this posting.