If you're a local fan of talk radio, you'll have to adjust your radio presets soon. WNOX is moving from current location 100.3 FM to 98.7 FM.
Citadel Broadcasting, which owns the station, will save money by moving the station to a frequency where it owns the broadcasting rights.
Citadel Broadcasting has leased the 100.3 FM slot from Oak Ridge FM, Inc. After Citadel Broadcasting filed for bankruptcy, the company was able to end its lease with Oak Ridge FM two years early under the settlement.
Citadel's lease expires August 2, 2010. At that point the WNOX will air exclusively on 98.7 FM. Beginning July 9, WNOX will broadcast its programming on both 100.3 FM and 98.7 FM "to allow listeners to adjust to the change," said Citadel operations manager Mike Hammond.
Although WNOX's frequency is changing, its programming schedule will remain intact. Local hosts Hallerin Hilton Hill and Phil Williams as well as nationally syndicated programs such as Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity will be heard at their normal times.
Moving to 98.7 FM means WNOX's coverage area will decrease relative to the more powerful 100.3 FM signal. 100.3 FM currently broadcasts at 100,000 watts from a tower 2001 feet above terrain. The 98.7 FM frequency currently broadcasts at 8,000 watts from a tower 571 feet above terrain.
"We want to take that money we were paying for rent to improve our product, but it meant moving down the dial a bit to 98.7 FM," said Hammond. "We have plans to improve our signal and will make announcements over the next few months."
Ed Brantley Returns to 100.3 FM
Citadel's decision to vacate the 100.3 FM frequency could open the door for the emergence of a direct competitor for WNOX. Oak Ridge FM, Inc. has already hired long-time radio host and former WIVK general manager Ed Brantley as the new general manager of 100.3 FM. Brantley was recently released by Citadel Broadcasting during its bankruptcy cuts.
John Pirkle of Oak Ridge FM said the group is not ready to announce what type of format will be aired on 100.3 FM, but said the plan is for Brantley to make a return to the booth as host of an on-air program.
The End of Oldies
Hammond said Citadel Broadcasting will not relocate the current oldies format found on WOKI 98.7 FM to any of its other existing stations.
"People can still listen to the same oldies online at trueoldieschannel.com, but we will not have that programming on-air anymore," said Hammond.