Fire up those word processors at the Times-Reporter again, as OMW is about to weigh in again on the last days of Dover-based WJER-FM/101.7, soon to move to a Canton transmitter location and off the airwaves of Tuscarawas County...
As we hinted below, WJER operator Gary Petricola has officially announced on his own station the disposition of FM 101.7, and his impending re-purchase of AM 1450 - which has moved from hint to rumor to fact here on OMW for months.
From the station's news section on WJER.com, which may change by the time you read this (the page updates with news daily):
WJER Radio, Inc. will no longer provide programming for the FM 101.7 frequency as of December 26th. All local programming will remain on WJER AM 1450 as former station owner Gary Petricola and a group of investors is buying the station back. Clear Channel Communications, which has owned both WJER FM and AM since 2003, is moving the FM operations to North Canton in the coming weeks. New call letters and staffing for the 101.7 station have yet to be announced. Petricola says he’s pleased to retain the AM 1450 operations that have been part of the community since 1950.
Again, anticlimactic, as we've kicked this around here for a long time, complete with the impending date - which, of course, has been pushed back a few days for various reasons, including weather and construction, and other logistics involved in moving a radio station.
OMW hears that WJER will merge the two separate morning shows with FM host Bill Morgan, and AM host Randy Fox, into a single morning program featuring both as a team.
That morning drive merger is expected to start as soon as next week, while 101.7 is still in Dover, so it would basically complete the full AM/FM simulcast until 101.7 heads north a couple of weeks later.
And we haven't been to the Transmitter Site Tourist Attraction yet at 22nd and Whipple NW in Canton, but we're told that concrete has been poured. We hear the tower itself should start going up in about a week...