By the time you read this, former Marion Clear Channel outlet WMRN/106.9 may be broadcasting as the company's new Columbus-based WMRN at 106.7.
OMW hears that what should be a couple of weeks of stunting starts on the latter frequency on Thursday afternoon at 12 noon.
WMRN's long-time Marion signal at 106.9 went dark earlier this month, nudging the "Buckeye Country" format to WDIF/94.3, known until the move as AC outlet "Mix 94.3". Recent Upper Sandusky move-in WYNT/95.9 Caledonia remains as the cluster's sole AC station, and a quick look at the "Majic 95.9" website shows that it's running Christmas music - like a stocking-load of other AC stations across the country are doing.
The relocated WMRN-FM in the Columbus market will take new calls at some point, kicking WMRN-FM back to Marion for "Buckeye Country 94.3".
The lighting up of 106.7 was expected to happen earlier this month, but it took some time for the way to be legally cleared - and the frequency to become clear after an appeal by translator operator Sandyworld, Inc. That translator has been running a relay of Ohio State's WOSU-FM on 106.7, and Sandyworld was one of two entities trying to block the WMRN COL move.
We've sniffed around the Clear Channel Columbus empire, and we've not smelled anything that would indicate what a permanent format would be.
Not even a whiff.
But if our experience with the company's most recent move-in - Dover/New Philadelphia's WJER-FM 101.7 to the Canton market AC outlet WHOF "My 101.7" - is a guide, expect obfuscation, balls in the air, and all that.
We've learned...don't believe what you hear (or read), even if it comes from a trusted source. We were burned last time, and won't be burned again.
So, if we hear anything about the future plans of new move-in WMRN-FM, we'll pass it along, but with a grain of salt large enough to break into a lifetime supply.
We've obtained a copy of the company's press release about the move, and this line from occasional OMW reader and Clear Channel Columbus operations manager John Crenshaw gave us a chuckle (no, we didn't get it from him):
"Thursday at noon will bring Dublin and Columbus a most unique radio station. If you could just see my tongue pressing firmly against my cheek. And stay tuned for more fun and games in the coming weeks as the 106.7 format is ultimately revealed."
No, we're not laughing at the "tongue in cheek" part or the "fun and games" part.
We're chuckling about the apparent need to identify the station in the release as a "Dublin" station, since that's the new 106.7 community of license.
Of course, the company had to build up the Columbus suburb of Dublin in the tedious and ponderous FCC process of creating a new allocation to one of many suburbs of the state capital... but we'll assume it's safe now not to have to repeat the "service to Dublin" line in a company press release, since the construction permit is already on the books.
At least Dublin has more than a newsletter to parents of middle school children backing it up as a community needing that ridiculous "first service" label...
The full Clear Channel release, which is meant to be spread far and wide, is below...
November 28, 2007
For Immediate Release
Contact: John Crenshaw
Clear Channel Radio Columbus to add fifth FM Signal
After several years of filing initial FCC applications, WMRN-FM 106.7 will make its debut Thursday, November 29 at noon. WMRN had been broadcasting to the Marion, Ohio market at the 106.9 frequency. Beginning Thursday, WMRN will be broadcasting from 106.7 and will provide radio service to the City of Dublin and greater Columbus.
CCRC Operations Manager John Crenshaw: “Thursday at noon will bring Dublin and Columbus a most unique radio station. If you could just see my tongue pressing firmly against my cheek. And stay tuned for more fun and games in the coming weeks as the 106.7 format is ultimately revealed.”
CCRC Director of Engineering Greg Savoldi: “The 106.7 signal will emanate from Columbus' premiere north side tower site, the WOSU-TV tower at Highland Lakes, Westerville. The FCC classes 106.7 as a B1, as it will radiate 7300 watts from over 600 feet in the air, providing primary service coverage to over 1 million Central Ohioans."
WMRN-FM becomes the seventh station in the Clear Channel Radio Columbus cluster, joining 92.3/WCOL, 93.3/WLZT, 97.9/WNCI, 105.7/WBWR, 610/WTVN and 1230/WYTS. (WMRN-FM’s call letters will change pending FCC approval.)