We don't have really good sources in Central Ohio, so we apologize for being a couple of days late with this one.
We were started on this road by rumors that Christian Broadcasting Services 80's/eclectic pop non-comm outlet WHKC/91.5 Columbus was playing Christian pop instead, starting this weekend.
The station was established last year by Robb Case, the popular former helicopter pilot/reporter for Columbus NBC affiliate WCMH/4 - the latest in a string of Central Ohio radio stations he's been involved with...including Spanish-language WDLR/1550 Delaware "RadioSol".
So, imagine our shock when we researched this, and stumbled onto this Columbus Dispatch article from Friday - Channel 4 helicopter pilot Robb Case dies.
Dispatch radio/TV writer Tim Feran reports that Case died at the age of 50 Thursday morning, after a "long battle with cancer".
Case, born Robb Casagrande, had become something of a radio folk hero to those seeking out non-corporate radio music programming in the Columbus market. His WHKC launched nine months ago with 80's pop music and other stuff thrown in, and was getting a "buzz" among those looking to alternatives to offerings from commercial music radio outlets.
But it was pretty much assumed by everyone, even 91.5's most devoted listeners, that the 80's and 90's tunes were destined to be replaced by some sort of Christian-themed programming. After all, look at the name of the station's ownership company - Christian Broadcasting Services.
Not long after Robb Case passed away, WHKC started replacing the secular 80's pop with Christian contemporary music.
But it isn't a reaction to his death. Business partner and long-time friend Mark Litton tells the Dispatch that such a move - to a Christian-oriented format - was already in the works.
And the CCM playing now will apparently make way for a Christian talk format as soon as later this week.
What would appear to be a legitimate website registered in the WHOIS database to the late Mr. Case touts the station as "Central Ohio's only FM Christian Talk Radio", with this mention apparently directed to station personnel about the upcoming launch:
As you can see the site isn't completely finished. It should be fully working by Wednesday morning, though portions of the site will come online throught the next few weeks.
We can't verify the veracity of this, but the registration info and the site looks legitimate to us.
The move to Christian talk pits WHKC up against established Salem outlet WRFD/880 "The Word", which shuts down at sunset due to its presence on the channel dominated by CBS Radio all-news WCBS in New York City.
And it also sends 80's music fans scurrying to out-of-market stations, weekend programs or satellite and Internet radio...