Radio’s 2019 closed out with more than two dozen call letter changes. The monthly tally from the Federal Communications Commission shows 26 full- and low-power radio stations adopted new call signs, some brought by sales, others by format changes.
Falling into the new format camp is Midwest Communications’ R&B oldies “KZ-102.3” WKZF in the Peoria, IL market. It previously was classic hip-hop “G-102.3” WNGY until last month when Midwest Communications decided to revive the “KZ” handle in the market, where the former CHR “KZ-93” WKZW was on the air from the 1990s to the early 2000s and lives on in a Facebook tribute page. The station is now Midwest-owned classic hits “93.3 The Drive” WPBG.
There are sometimes call letter changes that may hint at future plans. That could be case in northwest Tennessee where Forever Media’s CHR simulcast “KF-99/KQ-105” WWKF/WAKQ became WWGY/WRQR-FM. The station’s on-air identity hasn’t changed so far despite now having two sets of call letters that don’t match the handle.
A sale, of course, remains a common way for stations to get new call letters and that remained true in December as broadcasters such as Educational Media Foundation and Way Media bought new stations.
Sometimes that means the end of a long-held set of call letters. That was the case in the Long Island, NY market where Connoisseur Media finalized its deal to sell WALK, Patchogue, NY (1370) to religious broadcaster Cantico Nuevo Ministry. Because Connoisseur owns AC WALK-FM (97.5) in the market, it retained the right to those letters and the buyer was forced to put something else on the AM that had been WALK since it signed-on in April 1952. It’s now known as WLID.
Check out the FCC’s report of the December call letter changes HERE.