News From Terre Haute, Indiana

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June 5, 2014

RONN MOTT: Radio Movement

It seems as if the radio market is living up to the show business reputation of the only thing constant is change.

Midwest Radio’s 95.9 hasn’t found a niche they can call their own and, when that happens, a change is normally what is called for. The word on the street is it is going to be classic country. I have a feeling that will not mean Hank Williams or George Jones, but something a notch or two below what is being offered from the other country stations. Not quite current, but not exactly an old, oldie.

Everybody wants the 18-35 year-old and, of course, with so many stations wanting the same thing somebody loses out. Perhaps this new approach to country will be the answer. But, it is always a gamble.

Midwest Radio’s fortunes have taken a turn for the better (at least in a corporate viewpoint) because they have acquired a 15-station cluster in Evansville and northern Kentucky which brings more stations under their corporate umbrella.

WAXI, which has been doing well with the True Oldies format, was dealt a blow when Scott Shannon’s format was eliminated by new ownership (not WAXI, but the satellite music service). I don’t know all of the entanglements, but the new ownership has offered other formats along a similar vein to its customers. The new format, as we understand it, will be “Good Time Oldies” or something like that.

The good news is there will be an actual morning host and others in regular program shifts. The morning man is familiar to the area. He is “Zippo,” who was very popular with WSDM of a few years ago. Zippo left the provider of the format to go out on his own to start his own format service and it did not catch on. He was certainly popular and a name well known in the local radio market. He even made a handful of visits to events sponsored by then WSDM.

There will be other personalities involved with the format but I do not know who they are at this time. (All of this hinges upon ownership’s approval of this new effort.) Local involvement, sports, weather, news, and public affairs programming will not be affected as I understand it.

Most of the radio formats offered by satellite communication are owned by Cumulus, a broadcasting corporation of a few thousand radio stations. I don’t know if this one corporation is affecting the amount of music or the type of music you are hearing but I would guess if you like what you’re listening to, it doesn’t matter.

The changes I have seen in this business are many. I suspect as long as I am writing this piece for Tribstar.com, I’ll have plenty more to report … ’til the next time.

Ronn Mott, a longtime radio personality in Terre Haute, writes commentaries for the Tribune-Star. His pieces are published online Tuesday and Thursday on Tribstar.com, and in the print and online editions on Saturday.

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