Stations New And Old

And our opener today is a big signal upgrade for a translator that’ll apparently add to iHeart’s Oak Tree stable…

LATEST FORMAT?: Our content partners at RadioInsight first spotted a move that’d turn translator W291BV/106.1 Solon into a player in the Cleveland market, signal-wise:

In Cleveland, an application filed by iHeartMedia will see EMF’s 106.1 W291BV Solon, OH move to the current auxiliary antenna of CBS’ 102.1 WDOK where it will operate with 200 watts at 264 meters rebroadcasting an HD subchannel of iHeart’s 96.5 WAKS Akron. The new location will give W291BV coverage of all of Cleveland and its nearby suburbs (Coverage Map). As is the case with much of the EMF/iHeart partnerships, the application being prepared by iHeart means that they will operate the translator once the upgrade is complete.

The 106.1 translator was long operated by Educational Media Foundation as an outlet for its “Air 1” Christian rock format.

When we first ran into it, in person, it was beaming from a cell phone tower, rebroadcasting an off-air pickup of full-power Air 1 outlet WCVJ/90.9 Jefferson “a few furlongs” from Thistledown.

When we wrote about 106.1 later, it was widely reported to be simulcasting iHeart country WGAR/99.5, a station that certainly needs no help signal-wise anywhere in Cuyahoga County.

And then we’re back to that iHeart/EMF deal, where the companies shuttle translators around for each others’ needs. In Minneapolis, more than one EMF-owned translator is being used to feed iHeart formats.

99xlogoSo, it would seem clear that iHeart is intending to operate the 106.1 translator, with a new signal similar to that of its current translator…W256BT/99.1, the artist known as alt-rock “99X” (housed legally at WMMS/100.7-HD2). (The new 106.1 signal has a pronounced null to the southwest, to protect co-channel WVNO in Mansfield, and a smaller null to the southeast, in the direction of iHeart classic hits WBBG/Niles.)

But…as what?

A quick A/B of the signal maps seems to rule out “106X”, either as a move of the alt-rock format from 99.1 or a simulcast. The signals are similar, but 106.1 loses 60 dBu coverage of places like Strongsville due to that WVNO-directed null…and there’s too much overlap for a simulcast.

Since the success of “99X”, Clear Channel-turned-iHeart has launched other translator-based alt-rock outlets.

We’re scratching our head as to which format could be a companion to “99X” at Oak Tree, Translator Division.

The company has long-since retreated from an earlier mission, bringing its AM talk formats to FM. Numerous such simulcasts have been scuttled in other markets, particularly on translators.

The current “flavor of the month” format in radio is classic hip hop. If Radio One owned 106.1, that’d be almost a given. But we’re not sure iHeart has boarded that train yet.

And don’t read anything into W291BV listing iHeart top 40 WAKS/96.5 as a primary.

The HD2 channel of “Kiss FM” is currently running an urban format, “The Beat”, but it’s trivial to change the format of an HD2 sidechannel…so that fact may be no more significant than the recent simulcast of WGAR on 106.1…

WQMX CHANGES: Rubber City Radio country WQMX/94.9 is, in general, a very stable station…but it’s had some shuffling lately.

SarahKayWQMXThe Country Side of West Market Street has added pink to morning drive, as long-time night personality Sarah Kay has flipped her schedule to become part of “Wynn and Wilson in the Morning”, joining Scott Wynn, WQMX program director and newly-minted Rubber City Radio VP/operations Sue Wilson and news anchor Amani Abraham.

The hole left in nights by Kay’s move to morning drive has now been filled by another WQMX regular, Cherise Richards.

CheriseRichardsWQMXCherise was most recently the cluster’s morning drive traffic reporter…and has extensive on-air experience in Cleveland, at both CBS Radio and a brief stint at WLFM-LP 87.7 when it was alt-rock/AAA “Cleveland’s Sound” (in English).

Her morning drive traffic duties were taken over by Dustin Shaffer.

And the folks at 94.9 are piling up more national nominations.

The station is nominated in Medium Market categories for two awards: Radio Station of the Year, and On-Air Personality of the Year for “Wynn and Wilson”…

BRING OUT THE MILK CARTONS: Missing from Raycom Media CBS-MyNetwork TV combo WOIO/19-WUAB/43’s Still “19 Action News” is traffic reporter Jamie Sullivan.

Jamie’s still around, and still posting on her social media accounts, but her status at Reserve Square doesn’t seem to be known by anyone…

AND OTHER QUESTIONS: We’ve been peppered with various other questions about some local media personalities…and we have no answer…yet…

NOT SO DIRECTV: Sunday’s Big Game Not Yet 50 was one for the ages, a close game until the last seconds (really, why don’t you hand the ball to Marshawn Lynch?).

The game was also an exercise in frustration for a number of DirecTV customers in the Cleveland/Akron TV market, though it basically wasn’t the satellite provider’s fault.

No, blame Mother Nature for dropping a big snow and ice storm on Northeast Ohio pretty much exactly at game time.

On our social media feed on Sunday night, readers/followers shared their stories of battling the snow and ice to keep the satellite picture going.

Some told us they used brooms and other implements to knock snow off the dish as many as four times a day… like Akron Beacon Journal reporter Phil Trexler:

Another success story involved cooking spray:

That’s a solution that was endorsed by Gene Winters, producer of SportsTime Ohio’s “Drennan Live”:

But generally speaking, for once, some people wished they were the Rob Lowe With Cable for one night.

As for us, we logged no weather-related problems either via Time Warner Cable’s local system, or with the over-air signal of Gannett NBC affiliate WKYC/3…


  1. W291BV needs a sharper null towards the east or they need to move their transmitter further out west. I haven’t been able to receive WBBG since W291BV signed on. All I get is a bunch of static from the two interfering stations. The move looks like it might increase interference to WBBG as the antenna will be higher off the ground and operating at a higher power. Even though the new location is farther away, the protected contour still falls within the same area as the current one in the Solon area. I have driven close to W291BV’s current transmitter (422 & I-271) and never been able to catch a clear broadcast from them, even though I’m ~2 miles away from it. Perhaps 99.5 & 92.3 are to blame as they are right down I-271.

    99.1 also causes interference to adjacent WMXY/98.9 on my home stereo. (Heavy static and bleed over). I never had that problem before they signed on. I don’t have much of a problem receiving 98.9 in my car, but when I travel into Bedford, I can hear 99x start to bleed over 98.9. That’s normal I guess, as 99.1 is getting stronger and 98.9 is getting weaker.

    • Keep in mind that iHeart owns all the stations in question (or operates them re: W291BV). They are probably willing to accept some out of market interference. Simply puts, iHeart isn’t trying to reach the Cleveland market with WBBG or WMXY. They are Youngstown market stations.

  2. My Dish Network dish is mounted on the side of my house under the eaves. It’s low enough to reach should I need to brush off snow, but in the may years it’s been under the eaves I never saw a flake accumulate on the dish.

    Ironically I got the idea from the house across the street that had DirecTV. When the guy moved out the new owners moved in DirecTV moved the dish directly above their evens onto the roof!?!

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