Chatter: The Future of 92.3?

UPDATE 1/2/06 5:35 PM – The FCC Call Sign Request database now shows the WXRK(FM) calls attached to 92.3/Cleveland Heights, the former WXTM(FM).

SUBURBAN WASHINGTON, DC — From the OMW “Since We’ve Been Invoked Dept.:”

Sure enough, there’s yet another sign that our absence from the Northeast Ohio region fuels major changes in local media (and apparently sports, as we mention below).

The sophisticated OMW Remote Monitoring System has a little trouble with the station apparently once known as “923X”, “Xtreme Radio” and even “WXTM”, otherwise known as CBS Radio’s alternative rocker at 92.3 FM. So, we haven’t heard any of this ourselves.

But…various message board observers are noting changes at 92.3. Among them, an apparent use of the call letters “WXRK”, though the FCC database shows no such change officially as of yet. If those calls sound familiar to you, they are the long-time calls of the Infinity/CBS rock station on the very same frequency in New York City…which is much better known as the flagship – until last month – of Howard Stern’s vast over-air radio empire.

With Stern gone, and former Van Halen frontman David Lee Roth taking his place, the 92.3 in New York is becoming “Free FM” and taking the CBS hot talk formula the rest of the day. They’ve applied for the new calls WFNY-FM, which would presumably leave WXRK for 92.3 in the Cleveland market. (Roth will also air locally on WNCX/98.5 starting this week.)

What does it all mean? Various listeners report some stunting, including references to “the new 92.3 being under construction”, no on-air personalities and a call to listeners to determine the station’s “future”. (Hey! Someone call up and suggest 24 hours of Gregorian chants! That’ll show if they “listen”!)

Anyway, it’s being said that they’re still running alt-rock music, but maybe with a wider playlist. But if you want detailed playlist dissection on music stations, OMW is not your place to find it.

There’s some speculation that the “WXRK” calls would be attached to a name like “K-Rock”, but from this corner, we’re not sure about that or any massive format change at the Cleveland station. There are some wondering if “Free FM” talk would come to the station, with existing morning man Rover (now in Chicago) as the anchor, but that doesn’t seem likely to us as well.

Stay tuned, as they say!

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