UPDATE 1/15/07 8:35 PM: The countdown started, we're told, somewhere during the 4 PM hour, and is timed for a station launch at what sounds like exactly 4 PM on Tuesday.
Intermixed with the "tick, tock" of the countdown clock is a female voice announcing: "This is 101.7, where a new radio station begins in (x) hours." A simple "This...is WHOF North Canton" legal ID is inserted by the automation computer at or near the appropriate time. The tick, tock sound also has long periods of time without any announcements.
Various OMW listeners report that the station has put, at least on good radios, a listenable signal into much of the Akron area...though it loses its "punch" the closer you get to the Ohio Turnpike on the north fringes of the signal.
To our ears, it's not quite as strong as now-Clear Channel rock sister station WRQK/106.9, or NextMedia's WHBC-FM/94.1...which is no surprise considering the class A 6,000 watt signal just northwest of downtown Canton. And WRQK, of course, is running 27,500 watts with a class B signal from the very same location.
We do, though, have at least two radios at the OMW World Headquarters that can pick up the 101.7 signal with clarity...including the same Sony boombox which could pick up WJER-FM from its previous Dover location with some interference.
On the other end, we know people can hear the signal in its former home city, Dover, but we don't believe it reaches southern Tuscarawas County with a listenable signal.
Some OMW listeners, via the comments on this entry, report that the WHOF signal carries an IBOC/HD carrier from launch.
Here at OMW, we aren't able to get that signal on our Accurian HD radio (otherwise known as the Radio Shack $99 special), though that same radio picks up a clear analog signal from WHOF with the long FM antenna included with the radio.
But that's a similar circumstance on the same radio and same antenna, with other analog signals that reach it from nearby markets.
We know, for example, that Cumulus country giant WQXK/105.1 Salem runs HD, and we've never been able to get that...or for that matter, CBS alt-rock/talk WXRK/92.3's signal from Cleveland's east side.
And we have to have the antenna put up just the right way at our second floor window to get a lock on the HD signal on Elyria-based smooth jazz outlet WNWV/107.3 "The Wave".
Another update from Clear Channel's pair of new Canton FM stations: AllAccess reports that long-time WRQK middayer Keith Hamilton has been named program director of "Rock 107".
Our original item is below...
OMW hears that in just over a half hour from this writing, at 4 PM, Clear Channel will finally "light up" its new Canton market station, officially known as WHOF(FM) 101.7 North Canton.
The first day of broadcasting from the new facility will apparently, from what we've been able to figure out from various sources, consist of a computerized countdown to "a new radio station".
The countdown will last 24 hours, with the new format - whatever it is - set to debut on 101.7 FM at 4 PM Tuesday afternoon.
And no, we do not have any idea what the format will be...any more of an idea than we've had over the past month or so.
Elsewhere involving Freedom Avenue, we hear that Clear Channel has officially taken over Cumulus rock WRQK/106.9 on its short-term-until-sale-clears LMA.
With the switch, exiting are program director Garrett Hart and market manager Dave Kelly. Kelly moves over to Cumulus' sister cluster in Youngstown, we believe in a sales management role.
And also exiting is 7 PM to midnight "Rock 107" personality Joe Kleon. We haven't heard of any other on-air impact of the transition to Clear Channel at this time...