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Published: Friday, 3/16/2012

Benson, 'The Zone' both return

BY KIRK BAIRD
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Mark Benson Mark Benson
THE BLADE Enlarge | Buy This Photo

Cumulus Media announced the return of Mark Benson to local airwaves and "The Zone" to the FM dial beginning Monday.

Benson, a longtime fixture on northwest Ohio radio, returns to mornings on classic rock station WXKR-FM, 94.5. The 30-year radio veteran had moved from WXKR in September to WMIM-FM, 98.3 (My 98.3), in Monroe. Ryan Nutter, who handles afternoons at WMIM, will assume morning duties at the station.

Also on Monday, Benson's morning show replacement on WXKR 94.5, the syndicated "Free Beer and Hot Wings," will relocate to the relaunched WXKR-HD2-FM 100.7 (The Zone) as its new drive-time program. WXKR remains The Vibe, a Top-40 station, through the weekend.

Local radio personality Andrew "Z" Zepeda, host of a morning show on the Vibe, was recently announced as the replacement to the departing morning duo of Tim Timmerman and Jeff Januszek of the Tim and Jeff Show on WWWM-FM, 105.5.

Fans of Timm Morisson, a local radio veteran, should note he is moving from WWWM-FM, 105.5 (Star 105) to WRQN-FM 93.5. He will be on the classic hits station, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. beginning Monday.

The Zone will again feature a 1990s alternative and new rock bent, featuring artists including Nirvana, the Black Keys, Pearl Jam, Green Day, the Muse, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Foo Fighters, and Linkin Park. The Zone previously broadcasted on 94.5 HD3 and online at toledoeszone.com.

The format change was in response to The Zone's fan support of the station, which has been off the FM dial since May 5.

"It was truly amazing how much a community can show their need for an alternative rock station in Toledo," said Ryan Young, director of marketing and promotions for Cumulus Toledo. "We received an overwhelming number of emails and calls from supporters of The Zone and we're glad to bring it back on 100.7 FM."

As for the personnel changes, Dan McClintock, 94.5 XKR and 100.7 The Zone program director, said in a news release the moves will benefit the stations in the mornings.

"Mark Benson is a great personality and friend to our WXKR frequent rockers. At the same time we also have a special opportunity to relaunch The Zone by moving 'Free Beer and Hot Wings' and their unique show to 100.7 FM. It's a great combination with both shows complementing each other."

Cumulus Media through the weekend will own and operate nine local stations: WKKO-FM, 99.9, WRQN-FM, 93.5, WWWM-FM, 105.5, WXKR-FM, 94.5, WXKR-HD2-100.7 FM, WXKR-HD3, WMIM-FM, 98.3, WLQR-FM 106.5, and WLQR-AM, 1470.

Beginning Monday, Cumulus Media will no longer carry an HD3 station on WXKR with the Zone's move back to FM, bringing its total to eight area stations.

Contact Kirk Baird at kbaird@theblade.com or 419-724-6734.



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