Monday, October 20, 2008

I-70 Shuffling

A whole bunch of radio stations are moving along the Interstate 70 corridor in Ohio, and some are changing as a result. We'll start from the east, and move west.

We already knew that Zanesville's WHIZ-FM/102.5 (hot AC "Z102") was destined to move west, with a new license city of Baltimore (Ohio, not Maryland), with a signal designed to turn it into a Columbus market station.

We, and others, speculated that community-minded WHIZ would eventually acquire another Zanesville-based FM station - likely Christian Voice of Central Ohio's CCM WCVZ/92.7 South Zanesville "The River" - to replace 102.5.

Speculation turned to reality on Friday, as WHIZ and CVCO announced just such a deal. Quoting WHIZ's Hank Littick from his station's news story on it:

As has been announced in the past, we are relocating our 102 frequency so this agreement means that our company will maintain its presence in our area on the FM dial. We will continue our commitment to our local community by moving our format to 92.7.

As for the CVCO folks, they're nudging listeners to a new, recently established non-commercial frequency, WZNP/89.3 Newark:

92.7 the River is moving on your radio dial to 89.3. You’ll also hear a new name ….89.3 the Promise! We’re excited about launching the Promise for all of you who are our loyal listeners in Zanesville, Newark and southeast Ohio; but we’re even more energized by making some changes that so many of you have asked for. Now, with the Promise you get the “best of both worlds”.

When you join us early mornings at the Promise you’ll hear the uplifting, positive music the River is known for with Scott and Sam. If you hang around ‘til later in the morning you’ll hear the solid Bible teaching programs already being enjoyed by listeners at our other three Promise network stations throughout Ohio and Eastern Indiana!

So, technically, it's not a direct "move" of the CCM "River" format, as the "Promise Network" also features a heavy dose of Christian talk/teaching along with the music. It does carry the syndicated "Scott and Sam" show that's been heard on 92.7, and is also featured on "River" flagship WCVO/104.9 Gahanna in the Columbus market.

The moves do not mean not a perfect signal replacement for either of the stations. Even the decent 92.7 signal, coming in from the south, will lose some northern, less populated parts of Muskingum County now covered by 102.5, and the 89.3 signal is a rimshot into both Zanesville and Newark from between the two cities.

But we're guessing listeners in the city of Zanesville itself will likely not notice much difference in either replacement. The signals are both rimshots to some degree, but not bad or distant rimshots.

Speaking of moves near Newark, the FCC last week approved the construction permit which clears the way for WNKO/101.7 Newark to move to new facilities licensed to New Albany.

The nudge west would put WNKO right into the Columbus market, which means with the 102.5 FM move to a COL of Baltimore OH, Columbus is set to get two new FM facilities at some point in the next year or two.

The WNKO move pushed Otterbein College's WOBN/101.5 Westerville off of its class D channel, along with another move we'll talk about in a bit. The tiny college outlet found a new home, with help, at 97.5.

Heading west from Columbus, another station along I-70 and in the same frequency area as WNKO is tabbed for its own move west.

Main Line Broadcasting country WKSW/101.7 Urbana "Kiss Country" holds a construction permit to move to 101.5 FM, and a new city of license (Enon).

That puts the station now serving Urbana and Springfield ("Clark and Champaign County's Hometown Country Station") right into the middle of the Dayton market, giving that market another new FM...

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