How The “Air1” Network Gets to Cleveland…Via Ashtabula County

(Thanks to Radio-Info Cleveland board poster “brian_marchand” for the tip.)

OMW’s known for a while that formerly local religious broadcaster WCVJ/90.9 Jefferson has been sold to Educational Media Foundation, better known as the California-based operators of the “K-Love” and “Air1” Christian contemporary formats. And we’ve also known that WCVJ’s locally-produced religious programming has been replaced with “Air1”. But it took the above tip for us to figure out why EMF bought a small FM station in a lesser populated area of Northeast Ohio.


In specific, as we’ve confirmed from the FCC’s FM database, a Cleveland-licensed low-power translator at 103.7 has been purchased by EMF, from another religious radio operator located in Twin Falls ID. The FCC approved the transfer in mid-September. This FCC service area map shows the 103.7 translator’s transmitter location is on Cleveland’s east side. And we hear that it’s indeed Air1 either already on 103.7, or slated to be put there.

There’s a reason for this. Normally, EMF can use its satellite feed to “rebroadcast” a K-Love or Air1 affiliate thousands of miles away. But since 103.7 is in the commercial part of the FM band, FCC regulations require it to feed the translator over-air from a broadcast station. We’ll assume a large enough FM antenna on Cleveland’s east side can get WCVJ out of Ashtabula County…

EMF does this in many other markets. It’s why they have full-power stations in California cities like Santa Rosa and Grass Valley, so they can feed other translators on the commercial band in big markets like, say, San Francisco and Sacramento. And the commercial band translators are just fine with EMF…considering that both of their formats sound like traditional commercial stations.

103.7 is an interesting neighborhood for EMF on the FM dial in Cleveland…it’s second-adjacent to Moody Bible Institute’s Cleveland religious powerhouse, WCRF/103.3.

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