Cumulus announces format changes in Battle Creek
Radio listeners in Calhoun County will notice some big changes on both the FM and AM dials starting today when classic rock WRCC-FM 104.9 is replaced with a simulcast of soft rock WBXX-FM 95.3. The two frequencies will simulcast for about one week in advance of the news-talk format of WBCK AM 930 moving to FM 95.3 where it will simulcast for a period of time.
When the changes are complete, WBXX will be located on FM 104.9 and WBCK will be heard on FM 95.3. A yet-to-be announced format will be launched on AM 930 by a still to be identified new owner.
The changes come about as part of a sale agreement between Clear Channel and Cumulus Media. Four Battle Creek stations, AM930 WBCK, FM95.3 WBXX, AM1400 WBFN, and FM104.9 WRCC are part of a 9-station deal made last year between the two companies.
Current Cumulus stations WKFR and WRKR have a strong presence in the Calhoun County area and because of FCC ownership caps, Cumulus will need to ‘spin off’ two of the four Battle Creek stations, namely WBCK and sports WBFN AM 1400.
Cumulus Media has hired a Battle Creek native to manage the operation. A 1976 graduate of Battle Creek Central High School, “Bearcat” Steve Stoimenoff is a veteran area radio broadcaster. His first Radio job, starting in 1979, was at Battle Creek’s “Keener 14.” He later worked at for Cumulus at the Kalamazoo operation, and from there gained major-market experience in Detroit. “I’ve got Corn Flakes running in my veins… it’s GRRRREAT! to be coming home! I’ve still got family here, and I’m thrilled to be working with Cumulus again.” Stoimenoff says that Cumulus is committed to keeping the Battle Creek operation local, and a powerful tool for local businesses that want to grow.
Tim Collins, operations manager for Clear Channel's Battle Creek stations commented on today's move of WBXX, “This more than doubles the wattage, (which) should help more people outside of town hear the station, and it should also improve reception in many workplaces.”
Collins says the station has no plans to change the lineup, which includes the popular “Cassidy & Kelley” morning show and Delilah in the evening.
“We’ll be simulcasting WBCK on both AM930 and 95.3FM for a while, and telling WBCK fans to tune their radios to 95.3FM, “said Collins. “Eventually, AM930 will be turned off and sold.” Collins says the line-up on the News-Talk station will stay the same. “The only differences you’ll notice will be a clearer sound on FM, no static during thunderstorms, and much better coverage of Calhoun County. Because AM930 is a ‘directional’ AM station, the signal does not go to the southeast. Now, on FM 95.3, WBCK will be heard clearly in Marshall, and even Dave Eddy’s home town of Albion.”
Another change on the radio will effect AM 1400. The station is being donated by Cumulus to Family Life Radio, which operates WUFN in Albion.
“It’s really unfortunate that FCC rules which, are designed to serve the public interest could end up doing the opposite,” said Collins. “I’m sure Cumulus would like to continue to operate all four of these Battle Creek stations, as Clear Channel has done so well. But the FCC limits won’t allow that. Hopefully someone will be able to afford to buy and operate AM930 as a stand-alone station, but it will certainly be a costly proposition. Neighborhood developments, outside signal interference, and aging infrastructures are literally choking the life out of AM signals everywhere, and they are more costly to operate and maintain.”
“We’re committed to making sure that WBCK and WBXX continue to super-serve the local community, and with these changes both stations will be able to do that even more effectively than they have in the past.”, said Stoimenoff. “That’s good news for listeners, advertisers, and civic organizations.”