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Published: Monday, 3/28/2005

Two stations will battle over 'urban' market

With WJZE-FM (97.3) being purchased for $2.6 million, Toledo now has two youth-oriented urban radio stations.

That s one more than the market can bear, says Charlie Mack, program director at WJUC-FM (107.3), which had the format to itself until 10 days ago.

There s not that much [advertising] money in Toledo for two of us, so one of us will have to give up eventually, Mack said. But it s not going to be us.

Every local radio insider I spoke with agreed: Only one will survive. (As to which station will prevail, those polled were evenly split.) Most will be surprised if this death match lasts more than two years.

We ll step our game up, Mack said. When it comes to this hip-hop and R&B thing, no one can touch us.

WJZE s new owner, Urban Radio Broadcasting, also owns WIMX-FM (95.7), which has an urban adult contemporary format. This is the Alabama-based company s first attempt at an urban duopoly in a Top 100 market.

Rockey Love, WIMX s program director, is leading WJZE through its transition from classic hits to jams.

Love said the station being marketed as Hot 97.3 will play 10,000 songs in a row before airing its first commercial. That is expected to take about two months, allowing enough time for an air staff to be hired. Love said WJZE will match WJUC with live and local on-air personalities from 6 a.m. to midnight.

In Arbitron s fall survey, WJUC marketed as The Juice ranked No. 9 overall with 2,700 listeners during a typical 15-minute interval. WJZE, then a RASP Broadcasting-owned station that relied heavily on automated programming, tied for 17th with 600 listeners during an average quarter-hour.

Mack wonders why a radio company would set its sights on the No. 9 station in the market. WJUC, owned by Welch Broadcasting, is one of the few locally owned and operated stations in the region.

I think this is one of the dumbest decisions in radio history, Mack said. Financially, we re not getting the [advertising revenue] that everyone else is getting.

PROMOTION: WUPW-TV, Channel 36, has promoted Steve France to news director. France, formerly the station s assignment manager and chief photographer, had been the interim news director since Jose Suarez s departure earlier this month. Suarez is now executive producer at WTVJ-TV in Miami.

HARDWARE: WTVG-TV, Channel 13, was the only Toledo station to receive an Edward R. Murrow regional award, which is presented by the Radio-Television News Directors Association. WTVG will represent Region 7 (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio) in the national competition for best continuing coverage. Reporter Jim Carey, who left the station earlier this month, and photojournalist Eric Hunker were honored for To the Memorial and Back, a series of reports relating to the dedication of the World War II Memorial in Washington.

Winning for best news series in Region 7 was WQAD-TV in Moline, Ill. Former WTOL news director C.J. Beutien is the top newsroom manager there.

MOVING ON: Ryan Nutter better known to WWWM-FM (105.5) listeners as Neuter is headed to Durango, Colo., for an afternoon-drive position at KPTY-FM.



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