As promised, the latest update in our ongoing saga regarding the move of 101.7 FM to the Canton area.
As it appears now, the move of the station now known as WJER-FM won't happen in full until shortly after the first of the year.
Last night, WJER itself signed off regular programming on the FM side, after its annual presentation of "A Christmas Carol" from 11 PM until midnight.
After that, 101.7 began airing a continuous loop of announcements from various staff members directing listeners to the station's new AM-only operation - and the station's live Internet feed at WJER.com.
OMW hears that this will continue for the next day or so.
After equipment is removed from Dover and the station's Strasburg main tower site, WJER has the option of continuing this loop from its auxiliary 101.7 transmitter site at the WJER studio complex on Boulevard in Dover until the new signal signs on from Canton. At this point, we don't know if the loop will continue in that fashion.
Back at 22nd and Whipple, OMW has pulled a few teeth to find out that the new site for the station to become WHOF(FM) will not broadcast the new Canton market signal for 101.7 until shortly after January 2nd.
It's a timing issue, we've heard...certain crews necessary to do things like hang antennas on top of towers will not be working through this holiday week.
Meanwhile, we hear from other folks who have been by the site that most of the other work is done...for the tower and site which will also become home for Cumulus rock WRQK/106.9.
WRQK, of course, is the original reason the tower was built...as its own tower just across the way on 22nd Street is a strong gust away from being one with the ground.
So, all of you playing the What Format Will 101.7 Adopt in Canton Home Game (plastic tower replica sold separately!), move your chess pieces around on the Imaginary Radio Format board for a week or two more.
One other note: someone who looks into such FCC-related things for us tells us that the call letter change from WJER-FM to WHOF(FM) will take place at midnight on the 28th. So, if WJER management continues to operate the "tune to AM 1450 loop" on the auxiliary transmitter, they'll have to ID with the new calls after that point.
We haven't been given a target date for the new station's launch, so we're just guessing here. But we'd imagine January 8th would be a good place to start looking...