Format Change In Ohio Valley

OMW doesn’t know when exactly it happened, but a Keymarket sister station to WOHI/1490 East Liverpool has apparently also flipped to sports as a full-time ESPN Radio affiliate.

A listener in the region tells us that WSTV/1340 Steubenville, and simulcast partner WOMP/1290 Bellaire OH/Wheeling WV, are now running ESPN. The simulcast pair formerly aired talk, with names like Westwood One’s Bill O’Reilly and TRN’s Michael Savage in the lineup. At one time, the station(s) had a local talk show host, Pat Campbell, who landed at Clear Channel talk WFLF/540 in the Orlando market.

It would appear that two factors are in play here – the Keymarket/Forever folks seem to be aligning their AMs as non-locally programmed ESPN Radio affiliates, with only local high school sports left not coming off the bird…and that the talk market is a bit crowded in the Ohio Valley, with Clear Channel talk WWVA/1170 and independent WKKX/1600 both competing in Wheeling with live and local afternoon drive shows.

WKKX afternooner George Kellas, a former WWVA voice, simulcasts his show up into the Steubenville area on WEIR/1430 in Weirton WV. Over on WWVA, “The Drive Home”‘s Steve Novotney doesn’t need a second signal with the 50,000 watt flamethrower his voice is heard over.

And then there’s the talk format on WVLY/1370 Moundsville WV, which rimshots Wheeling from the south and airs yet another Ohio Valley radio vet in morning drive, Howard Monroe.

Again, we don’t know when Keymarket flipped WOMP/WSTV, but it was likely within the past few days, probably at the same time as the WOHI format change. Last time we were in the Ohio Valley region a few weeks ago, 1340/1290 was still running syndicated talk.

There’s been a lot of change at the company’s stations in the region recently. WOMP/1290’s sister station – long-time popular local top 40 WOMP-FM/100.5 – just changed to the variety hits format as “JACK FM”. OMW hasn’t heard it yet, but we believe WOMP-FM is using the new small market “JACK FM” 24/7 format package from ABC Radio Networks. And in addition to WOHI’s flip to ESPN, WOHI’s East Liverpool-based sister station – WOGF/104.3 – let go all local personalties, and started simulcasting “Froggy” country sister WOGI/98.3 Duquesne/Pittsburgh PA 24 hours a day.

It was especially interesting to read Keymarket’s East Liverpool management saying that no one had lost their job when 1490 there went to ESPN, when the station’s format change displaced long-time morning host Jim Martin. Maybe they have a different opinion of “losing your job” than we do here at OMW…ours generally involves being told that you aren’t going to be coming to work anymore.

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