Here’s how this has all been playing out in the land of the Buckeye:
WOSU is the market’s legacy public broadcaster. For many years now, it’s been doing a news-talk format on WOSU 820 Columbus, which has a 5 kW daytime signal that darned near blankets the entire state, but drops down to 790 very directional watts at sunset. The major NPR news magazines, Morning Edition and All Things Considered, are simulcast on WOSU-FM 89.7, a full-market FM signal that’s been doing classical music the rest of the day. Four simulcast signals (WOSB 91.1 Marion and WOSV 91.7 Mansfield to the north, WOSE 91.1 Coshocton to the southeast and WOSP 91.5 Portsmouth to the south) extended the WOSU-FM lineup to outlying parts of the state.
WWCD 101.1 was a “Docket 80-90” drop-in in the early 90s, licensed to Grove City south of Columbus and broadcasting a nifty alternative rock format as “CD101,” albeit with a class A signal that was hard to hear in some parts of Columbus.
WHIZ-FM 102.5 was a venerable class B FM signal in Zanesville, 65 miles or so east of Columbus. It was moved into the Columbus market last year as a B1 licensed to Baltimore, Ohio, whereupon it took the calls WCVZ. (Those calls came from 92.7 in South Zanesville, which is now WHIZ-FM, continuing to serve the Z’ville market.)
Now the shuffle: The WHIZ folks were running a placeholder country format (“Highway 102”) on WCVZ but wanted to make some money off the move-in. WOSU’s owner, The Ohio State University, wanted to make 89.7 a full-time news-talk outlet, but needed another FM signal for classical music. WWCD’s owner, “Fun With Radio,” wanted a better signal (and, evidently, some cash.)
So here’s how it played out: a few weeks ago, Fun With Radio began LMA’ing 102.5 from WHIZ, and “CD101” has very slowly been morphing into “CD102.5,” allowing Fun With Radio to sell the 101.1 facility to WOSU. That sale ($5 million and change, with about half paid in cash now and the rest over 20 years) closed on Monday, and CD101 left its longtime 101.1 home to move fully to 102.5, which changed calls to WWCD.
This morning at 6, WOSU relaunched 101.1 as all-classical WOSA, “Classical 101.” For the next few weeks, WOSA is simulcasting the midday and evening classical blocks that are still being heard on WOSU-FM 89.7, but by January, the FM will go fully to news and talk, with 101.1 standing alone with classical.
Well – almost. 101.1 is also being heard on 89.7-HD2 (which had been all-classical already), and its fulltime classical will end up on the repeaters in Marion, Coshocton and Portsmouth. WOSV 91.7 in Mansfield will remain simulcast with 89.7, filling a gap in NPR news coverage in that part of Ohio, and 820 will simulcast with 89.7 as well, at least until WOSU finds someone to lease or buy it.
Clear as mud? We’re here to help. Through the modern miracle of streaming audio (because there’s no way we’re driving to Columbus in this weather), we bring you a slew of IDs from before, during and after the shuffle: a standalone WOSU 820 ID (you won’t hear those after the 89.7 fulltime simulcast starts), several variants of the full-network (89.7+repeaters) ID, the last WWCD 101.1 ID, the first 102.5-only “CD102.5” ID as WCVZ, a later 102.5 ID after the call change to WWCD there, and several IDs from WOSA’s first day, some with WOSA and 89.7-HD2 alone, others with WOSA, WOSU-FM and the full network of repeaters.
We’ll have to check back yet again in January to get some IDs that don’t exist yet: the 820/89.7/WOSV ID that will be WOSU’s news network and the 101.1/WOSB/WOSE/WOSP ID that will be the final version of “Classical 101.”