Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A "Freq-y" Catch Up

One of Beacon Broadcasting's 5 stations on the Ohio/Pennsylvania border is extending one of the company's brands.

We mentioned changes at the company's WRTK/1540 Niles, which had been running gospel as the local affiliate for the 24/7 satellite format "Rejoice - Musical Soul Food" before launching into Christmas music over the holidays. But we never updated the station's status.

WRTK has launched a Christian contemporary music format - using the "Freq 1540" moniker it adopted with the Christmas music - echoing the name of its Greenville PA-based Youngstown market FM rimshot, Christian rocker WEXC/107.1 "Freq 107.1".

We believe the new WRTK format began about a week ago.

But unlike its FM big brother station, the Niles AM daytimer is running a softer format. Someone claiming to be Beacon's Gregg Allen actually described it right here on OMW, in a comment on our year-end item:

Actually, regarding the all new Freq 1540 WRTK, the station is a stand alone format. Playing Contemporary Christian Music rather than heavy Christian Rock like you would find on the parent station Freq 107.1.

The station features yours truly (Gregg Allen) in the mornings, as for the other Beacon Stations, WGRP / WLOA is the only simulcast station. 107.1, 1570am & 1540am are all their own format. For more details, you can visit http://www.beaconbroadcasting.net/.

WRTK's slogan is "Reaching the Kingdom" (get it? "RTK"?), and the station's website features embedded streaming audio and pictures of various popular artists like Michael W. Smith and CeCe Winans.

We're no experts in the format, but listening to WRTK's streaming audio, it sounds like they're running a pretty straight ahead CCM format. The station's website promises a 24/7 online feed, even with the daytime hours of the parent radio station.

But...and this being a Beacon station, we're not surprised...there's a problem with the WRTK legal ID.

Since it launched into the "Freq 1540" name with the Christmas music format, and through today, the station's legal ID has tabbed WRTK to "Mineral Ridge, Ohio".

For those not conversant in the Mahoning Valley, that's a small community south of Niles on Ohio 46, and is also the physical home of 1540's transmitting facility. It's just a few truck lengths away from the various truck stops, motels and other travel businesses at the busy Ohio 46/Interstate 80 interchange.

We're not experts at citing FCC rules, either, but we're pretty sure there's nothing in there about identifying to the actual location of your transmitter site.

The FCC seems to think that WRTK is - as 1540 always has been - licensed to Niles...not Mineral Ridge.

Don't believe us? Here...look for yourself.

Since Beacon's Gregg Allen apparently knows how to find OMW, here's a helpful hint...unless you are airing "WRTK Niles" once an hour at the appropriate time, you're not doing a proper legal ID. (And long-time OMW readers know that fixing Beacon's legal IDs is an old hobby of ours.)

Once again, that's "WRTK Niles". If you really feel like giving a shoutout to Mineral Ridge, there's nothing that prevents you from putting it after (that's after, not before) "Niles" in the ID. Or before. Or anywhere outside the legal ID.

Either that, or feel free to show us a COL change for 1540, or an FCC ruling allowing you to ID with the transmitter site's community as your community of license.

Anyway, enough pickiness on our part.

We're not conversant, as we said, in the Christian contemporary format, but the station's webstream sounds good, at least as far as the sound quality. That's one thing Beacon's been able to do over the years...


Allen said...

Thank you for the correction! Noted on the Legal.

ghz said...

Actually, the transmitter site is in Austintown....Mahoning County...so they sort of missed on that too.

Todd said...

Isn't it odd that 1470 used to air a contemporary Christian format for a few years as WPAO (?)... I think it was the Salem "Today's Christian Music" feed if I recall correctly.