Save Our Sound? Not Quite

The past few days, what started as a social media campaign to save the “Cleveland’s Sound” alt-rock format at Murray Hill Broadcasting’s WLFM-LP 87.7 made it to the station’s website.

877soundCrain’s Cleveland Business writer Michelle Park Lazette caught the “message from ownership” on the 87.7 website before it disappeared:

“We’ve listened and appreciate the overwhelming passion that has been shown this past week,” it stated.

“The bottom line is the advertiser passion and commitment for 87.7 has not been there, resulting in the partners losing many hundreds of thousands of dollars,” according to the statement. “We invite you to reach out to NE Ohio businesses to support 87.7 Cleveland’s Sound as an advertiser or promotional partner. Advertisers are looking for awareness and sales results that we can deliver. FACT is the last thing the partners want to do is change directions. We assure you no one is taking their money to ‘South Beach’…we’re just trying to survive and keep Cleveland’s Sound on-air for all of us.”

Later in the day on Tuesday, the link (which still contains “save-our-sound” in the URL) led to a much different message, under the heading “Thank You Cleveland”:

Thank you for all the support and love you’ve shown us. It was incredible to see how much we meant to this city.

We hope you’ll help us go out with a bang, help us give back to this great city one last time, and give to those in need during the holiday season. Below is a list of local restaurant and businesses who worked with us and showed their support for us, all of them will be accepting canned goods on our behalf.

Thank you and happy holidays from the 87.7 Cleveland’s Sound family!

Program director Ryan Benes had told Crain’s that the canned food donations would be a “vote” for not changing the format, an event slated for January 1st…when TSJ Media’s “La Mega 87.7” sets up shop with a bilingual Spanish-English format of Latin music.

Ah, but the original “Save Our Sound” message apparently wasn’t from “ownership” after all, but meant to convince the partners behind Murray Hill Broadcasting – Tom Wilson, Tom Embrescia and Larry Pollock – to cancel the planned station and format change.

Benes talked with Crain’s Park Lazette before things changed:

When asked what he thinks the chances are of saving the alt rock format, Mr. Benes replied, “We do know that the owners and the partners of the station have taken notice. They’ve heard the outcry that people want this station to stay … and we’re doing everything we can to (get them to) reconsider, and as far as we know, it is a possibility.”

Ah, not so much a possibility, says Wilson himself in a late afternoon update to the Crain’s article that was originally posted early Tuesday afternoon:

Though he said it’s not uncommon for a startup radio station to be unprofitable and that he has been “just amazed at the passion and the loyalty the listeners had,” longtime radio executive Tom Wilson said “we’re heading in the direction of doing the Spanish format.”

“We have a contract,” noted Mr. Wilson, who launched Cleveland’s Sound in 2012.

And, he added, the station just wasn’t building as fast as he’d hoped.

That “we have a contract” line is something we’ve been telling the station’s social media followers ever since the change for 87.7 was announced…they’d basically have to convince Wilson and his partners to abandon a contract for the LMA to TSJ Media, the Cincinnati-based firm that will be running “La Mega 87.7” in 2014.

It’s all about the money, and despite the following “Cleveland’s Sound” appears to have gained in its time on the air, WLFM is still a commercial radio station…er…TV station acting as a commercial radio station.

For his part, TSJ’s Josh Guttman is staying far away from the controversy. He tells Crain’s he has “zero issue” with the effort to save the alt-rock format that goes away on 87.7 after the ball drops in Times Square:

“I’m not against alternative rock,” Mr. Guttman added. “This isn’t a Hispanic versus alternative rock decision. This is a business decision. We have a thousand people (who liked the new format) on Facebook, and we’re … not even on the air. The bottom line is there is such a great need for this.”

Oh, and speaking of social media – we didn’t realize, while tagging the @877cleveland Twitter account, that the account has officially gone away… as has the current station’s Facebook presence.

Alt-rock on the radio in Cleveland continues for those within the range of low-power translator W256BT/99.1 (or WMMS/100.7’s HD2 sidechannel), Clear Channel’s “99X”.

But those looking for the blend of alt-rock music served up by the folks at the Agora are pretty much out of options.

The updated message continues to carry the list of outlets accepting canned food donations…even though making such donations won’t save the current 87.7 alt-rock format…


  1. Time to say “sayonara” and delete 87.7 from my presets.

  2. The fact La Mega signed a lease that’s only good for less than 2 years is mind boggling. they are setting the Latin community up for a let down. I honestly thought that was the saving grace of Cleveland’s Sound.. until September 2015 anyway.

    • The two year lease is because the station is still running on analog. The station is gone in 2017, as they would have to get a digital signal to still broadcast. And that’s not gonna happen because they are a tv station!

    • Mike Glagola says

      From what I gathered from this is there was no advertising that 877 Cleveland started in 2012. I know for a fact if there was there would of been a lot more people responding. I stumbled on it when I put a new battery in my vehicle and 877 was what was on. I understand about money and stuff but I know the Spanish radio thing won’t last long. I’m not against it but if they changed formatt cause of money what makes everybody think that this new change is going to be different. Obviously the partners are getting money up front and when that’s gone or close , they will make a change again. Oh well. We did what we can do. I will miss the station. Guess I will get satellite radio after all.

  3. Evelyn Newman says

    I am 64 years old and have been frustrated by cleveland radio for 40 years. It makes me crazy how the stations can play the same repetitious music that starts out enjoyable but after hearing it repeatedly for YEARS makes one hate it. This station was one of the most exciting I have ever come across because of the variety and the freshness of new and upcoming artists. I can drive to Detroit or Columbus and immediately hear better music than what I can find in cleveland. Very sad and disappointing.

  4. Gotta feel bad for Rocco and The Bull going through this again, this time at the other end of the dial. This hurts, but not as bad as it did when The End sold out. Thankfully in Akron we still have 91.3 the Summit and there’s always Pandora.

  5. I think its more of a sign of bad leadership and a weak business plan from the word go. There’s a reason this whole town is corporate.

  6. For those in the western part of Cuyahoga County and Lorain County, you can tune to WBWC 88.3 FM ( There is an Alternative format there during most of the broadcast hours. Specialty shows after 10pm Monday-Friday, 9pm Saturday and all day on Sunday.

  7. Si neccitan uno hombre technicales, por fovor me llama at 440-941-2636. Yo tengo mucho trabahando de hace las primero esaciones. El tocodiscosos es una machina del ayer. Vamanos al la futura.

  8. Back to the good old standby across the lake! Glad London can keep it together, as we all know Cleveland never can! Rock n roll capital…. surrre

  9. Until I turned the radio on this morning, I had no idea about the format change. How unspeakably sad. And wrong.

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