Thursday, December 21, 2006

EXCLUSIVE: Bull About To Ride in Canton?

It's just under a week before Clear Channel takes over the station now known as WJER-FM/101.7 Dover, and turns it into...a Canton market radio station.

We may have an idea of what you'll hear on 101.7 when it starts transmitting from the now-nearly complete transmitter site at The World's Biggest Radio Tower Tourist Attraction at 22nd and Whipple NW in Canton.

Thanks to an OMW tipster, we've uncovered a Clear Channel-run website for "101.7 The Bull", which would appear to be pretty much a complete site for a country format on the new Clear Channel incarnation of the 101.7 frequency out of the Canton site.

The site promises "Canton's Better Country", and a 25,000 song "no commercial" start.

There are also some very interesting things we've spotted, assuming this is not one giant Internet stunt meant to bring out, well, folks like us:

STAFF: On the "On-Air" link, a pull down menu promises, among other things, "Bull Mornings with Terry and Jessica".

We don't know who "Jessica" is, but we wouldn't at all be surprised to see former WHBC-FM morning co-host/operations manager Terry Simmons as the "Terry". That's just a wild guess on our part, though we're now being told by our original source that it is NOT the same "Terry".

Also listed, in afternoons, is long-time WKDD/98.1 utility player Jon Marochino.

CALL LETTERS: The "Contact" web page lists the station's toll-free request line number as 888-444-WHOF.

That'd be a darn good set of call letters for a country radio station based in the "Hall of Fame City", no?

And sure enough, yesterday, a Clear Channel license subsidiary which happens to hold the license for the in-transit 101.7 FM filed a request for the WHOF call letters...

LISTENING LIVE: The station will apparently launch with live streaming audio, per the links on the website.

AND A REMINDER: We did some searching on back items here, and noticed that the "KissCanton.com" URL is still up and running, and still dutifully forwarding web surfers to the site of sister station WKDD/98.1...which we find a bit odd.

Clear Channel has been known to set up "smokescreen" format websites before. We caution that though we're pretty sure about this - and honestly, the rumors we've been getting have been running about 80 percent in the "country" category - anything could happen.

Our sources within the Clear Channel Akron/Canton compound on Freedom Avenue are unusually quiet on this, and won't even approach this information we got from a tipster - who doesn't appear to have any connection to their building.

So, we're left to wonder, but this bull seems ready to ride from this corner...as soon as December 27th or thereabouts...

38 comments:

trefdawg said...

Hmmm. Could the term "mechaniacal bull" mean voice tracked shifts on 101.7?

Anonymous said...

Wonder how will this impact the Akron and Youngstown country station's Canton share?

Scott Fybush said...

Do please note, too, that CC just made a VERY prominent "Bull" launch - the former WLTM in Atlanta, which ditched decades of AC heritage (most of it as "Peach" WPCH before becoming "Lite" WLTM) and became country WUBL just a few days ago.

As for the WHOF calls, am I the only one who wants to keep reading them as "WTOF Canton"?

Tim Lones said...

speaking of Heritage, WILB-AM 1060 in Canton was actually known as WHOF-1060 in the early 1960's..And had a country format..

Anonymous said...

WZOM 105.7 in Defiance has been "The Bull" for a couple of years now. Is this a new CC brand?

http://www.1057thebull.com/main.html

Ohio Media Watch said...

As you read here when it happened, CC launched "The Bull" on its new 98.3/Ashtabula frequency a ways back.

And Mr. Fybush mentioned the Atlanta launch, just recently.

It would appear that the company has started adopting the brand on a wider basis as basically the country version of "KISS FM"...

Tim Lones said...

They apparently will be running Blair Garner's "After Midnite" according to the website..

Anonymous said...

I don't get this. Why does this area need yet another country station? I keep reading about how this is an obvious "hole", but I count 4 country stations that are receivable in at least Northern Stark County - the Wooster station, the Salem station, the Medina station, and the Cleveland station. And Clear Channel wants to add a fifth station? This isn't WV or KY - I'd say this format is oversaturated in this area. Why not try something original or different? What a waste of a frequency!

Anonymous said...

Tim beat me to the punch. :-) I thought I read WTOF, as well.

Anonymous said...

Receivable does not mean they service the county. If you live in Canton you have to listen to content aimed at Akron, Youngstown or the Wooster area. There is very little attention on Canton from the country signals.

This is quite a gamble on their part. It's going to take a fair amount of marketing to make even a small impact. 101.7 is not a destination for anybody in Canton, how will they know it's there?

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I guess it was Scott that thought it was WTOF. I should try to correctly attribute my sources. ;-)

I agree with the above poster. This move is not unlike the situation when WFCB/93.3 packed up and moved out of Chillicothe a couple of years ago to become "Lite FM" in Columbus. Seems like Cheap Channel wasn't entirely sure what to put on it, and it showed. This "flank" programming philosophy is crap. Enough said.

Johnny Morgan said...

Just ran a USPTO search, and Clear Channel has not yet trademarked "The Bull" as a trade name in the radio industry.

There is a "The Bull" already trademarked to North American Resources, and someone trademarked "620 The Bull" bt it wasn't one of the known CC companies.

Anonymous said...

This is a total smokescreen, guys. TPTB on Freedom Ave. are totally effing with you. (a la "kisscanton.com")

Country is not going to be the format on 101.7. You'll see.

Anonymous said...

Whoahhhh...I can't wait..Do you think Terry Simmons will bring his accordian with him?
Can't wait to hear Honky Tonk Badonkey donk on the accordian!
Ho hum...Way to go Keith. After all this "top secret" speculation of a new format...this is the best you can do?
I am sure Mr. Stewart and Mr. Scott are shaking in their cowboy boots...
Could you play "I wanna whip your cow" for me?

Anonymous said...

I have to ask

Did Terry play an accordian on the air? or was it the old syndicated bit, Polka Monster?

Ohio Media Watch said...

We're now being told by our original source that the "Terry" of "Terry and Jessica" is not Mr. Simmons.

-The Management

Anonymous said...

Why Country?

On the Plus Side

Its relatively easy to program..and to sell..

With Rock 107 in the stable, you have two stations that advertisers can use to target 18-34 and 25-54 males, while WKDD targets females in the same demos..and the two AM stations hum along and occupy a spot on the rate card..

Could it take a point or two off of WHBC-FM..yes it could..since ''Mix'' plays a ton of crossover country anyway..and with rumors that its about to go to a Hotter AC approach, that could send some of its older core in search of something else to listen to..


On the Minus Side

This is not the Soft Rock or Oldies format that could have put the final nails in the Mix 94.1 coffin..has CC squandered an opportunity?

I hope whoever did the hiring of whatever live talent ''The Bull'' may have actually hired people who like the music and understand the audeince..which leans more conservative, tends to be an even split between male and female..

Throwing jocks on a country station who can't stomach the music is a fatal error too many country stations make..

Remember that CC dominates the billboard market in Canton..anything empty will soon have a ''Bull 101-7'' ad on it..and also remember that country concerts have done well in Canton in the recent past..Willie Nelson drew a pretty much sold out house in January..and the Oak Ridge Boys have done well at the Palace Theatre as well..

~~NPHSQUAKER said...

I see a changeover of other Music formats coming soon from this in the Akron-Canton Market.

Good Luck to ALL!!!!

Anonymous said...

Hey Guys!
I got news for you....Keith Kennedy is playing with you. He really gets off on these kind of internet games. Most of all, you are buying right into it! You've just given him something to laugh about every time you speculate. Merry Christmas Keith!

VODood said...

Country is hot, safe, gets ratings, and most importantly - makes $$$. Much more than CHR.

Keith...need a PD?

Anonymous said...

I sure hope that those of you who are saying that CC is yanking our chains are right. Maybe this is a smokescreen.

Interesting point about the billboards. I was out shopping this morning in the BV area and noticed 3 billboards being "renovated". One on Whipple south of the mall, one on Whipple north of the mall, and one on Dressler. Cannot remember if these were CC billboards. Also, this is more than the typical changing of the ads on the billboards. They have completely stripped them down to the framework, hence my description of a "renovation". Still, there may be something to this as it relates to the new radio station.

Anonymous said...

It's real.....

A staff meeting was held on Freedom Ave at 11:30am before employees left for the Christmas Holiday.

Country it is.

The PD, GM, and GSM all wore cowboy hats and played some audio from the station.

I work at an ad agency in Canton and just got a call from my rep. We're shocked.

JohnAmrhein said...

Why are you shocked?

Anonymous said...

Country does surprixe me You already have two strong players in the format, even though from out of town (WQXK and WQMX), plus a couple more rim-shots in WOGH, WOVK, WTUZ, and WQKT that all cover parts of the market. That's a pretty crowded field, even for a "hometown" outlet.

IMHO they would probably have been better with some brand of AC. Right now you have WHBC which is all over the road and billing out the wazoo. Since WKDD is alreay taking the "hot" position, the most viable would be a soft AC. That way, CC could have squeezed the demos from each side.

Anonymous said...

Yes the WHOF call letters were on the 1060 frequency in the mid-60's. They were also applied for on 106.9 in 1978 when the calls were WHLQ. What was then WTOF complained that there would be confusion and the station then became WOOS. The WTOF calls were also on 640 in Akron for a while.

Anonymous said...

John-

I'm shocked because everything coming out of their building has lead me to believe it would be something other than country.
My sales rep, who has been around there a while was under the impression it would be an older leaning classic hits type of thing or oldies.
He's pissed. Thinks it will be a tough sell.

Anonymous said...

The WTOF calls actually landed on the 1060 frequency in 1998, shortly after Salem ditched them for WHK-FM. 640-AM has always been WHLO since 1962...

- Nathan Obral

74WIXYgrad said...

To clarify. WTOF was at 900am, which is now WCER.

Anonymous said...

I think you're right about the WTOF calls residing at 900 in the mid-80's, but I'm pretty sure that when Mortenson bought WHLO, he had to sell the 900 frequency and that for a while the WTOF calls also were at 640. To my knowledge, the WTOF calls were never at 1060, the call letters at 1060 from 1982 well into this millenium were WRCW.

Anonymous said...

"Could you play "I wanna whip your cow" for me?"

Now there's an idea. (Beats [programming for 9 year old kiddie people).

Have you seen any strangers hanging around at Freedom?

MIKE YOUNG said...

It's been about 11 years ago since canton had another Country station the last one was CANTON COUNTRY WNPQ. Melinda Michaels was the PD and AM Drive Host fresh from Y'Town country. I was on weekends overnight,left 6 mos. later to go for better hours and money to Mix94.1,I'll be interested to see how this all shakes out,gee maybe I'll do that format again.

Anonymous said...

Kennedy is a F-ing tool!

I just found JACK 1017!

Anonymous said...

Mike,

WNPQ switched from Country to Religious in February of 1999.

Some of the staff there included:
Melinda Michaels
Tom Daniels
Max Heywood
Wendi Vestfall (now in Washington)
and interesting enough..Keith Collins who is now at WKDD as keith kennedy.

Anonymous said...

Unless I'm missing it, I can't find Jack1017.com

What is the address?

Anonymous said...

Check out..

http://www.1017thebeach.com

www.kisscountry.com

www.kool1017.com

www.magic1017.com

www.clear1017.com

www.lazer1017.com

www.1017thebeat.com

VODood said...

I too worked at WNPQ...for about 6 weeks, Spring 1997 doing Sunday nights. I was at WKFM/Sandusky fulltime. And WMJI part-time. I was busy!

I was offered PM drive and Production duties when T-Bone left.. or exited. At the same time I was offered WMJI fulltime. Shockingly WNPQ paid more. About $4k. But I went with WMJI - calls and mkt size meant more on the resume. I think WNPQ got flipped about a year later. I made the right choice.



CM

MIKE YOUNG said...

I stand corrected it's been 7 years since Canton had a country station. I remember T-Bone,Max was gone when I arrived in 1997. CM was right each of us made the right choice in leaving CANTON COUNTRY WNPQ.

Anonymous said...

I'm still betting it will be T40. Merry Christmas everyone!