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Ludington & Big Rapids area radio observations

Covers all of Northern Lower Michigan (from Ludington to Tawas northward), as well as the Straits Area and Soo Region.
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MWmetalhead
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Ludington & Big Rapids area radio observations

Post by MWmetalhead » Wed Oct 04, 2017 12:06 pm

Listening location: about 20 miles from Big Rapids and 35 miles from Ludington. Midday Saturday through Tuesday morning.

Also listened to the Big Rapids stations while cruising down US-131.

Here are my thoughts:
-94.1 Hart: Unlistenable due to horrible programming. A Christian AC countdown show on a supposed CLASSIC ROCK station Sunday morning??? Good grief. Also heard other programming that didn't fit the format. Processing sounded like mud.

-94.9 Scottville: Very clean processing. Good music. Didn't listen long enough to hear any jocks or imaging, though.

-96.3 Ludington: Why is this station even on the air? This is WKLA-FM, the station formerly found at 106.3. Crappy audio that sounded like it came straight from an unprocessed 32 kbps MP3 stream.

-97.3 Reed City: Holy crap, has this station changed! I wonder how the locals feel about it? The station calls itself "Today's Oldies" but basically plays a far-ranging Variety Hits format. Heard everything from early 70's light rock to 00's rhythmic crossover. Even heard a couple artists that 105.1 The Bounce in Detroit plays...I couldn't believe it! Overall, a FUN, unpredictable station! Has a great, mom & pop small town flavor.

-98.7 Ludington: Didn't listen much, but when I did I heard local news presented by very professional sounding announcers and also a show of local origin discussing the area's high school football teams and a different show discussing topics of general interest. Decent processing.

-100.9 Big Rapids: Nothing special; country music off the bird. Processing is a bit below average but by no means horrible. A decent option for fans of Country music.

-101.5 Manistee: Rebroadcasting 106.3 The Mitten. Sounds much more Modern AC to me than AAA. Does this station have ANY paid local advertising?

-102.3 Big Rapids: A straight-up, locally programmed Hot AC with solid formatics. Probably won't hear any surprises here - the station is tightly playlisted - but it's arguably the most polished sounding FM station in the region.

-102.7 Ludington: Audio processing sounds great; that's where my compliments end. I apparently had bad luck every time I dropped in. Heard tons of seemingly pointless banter, including one guy who sounded either anxious or drunk, and annoying commercials. Wanted to listen more to get a flavor for the music format but ultimately gave up. Only heard a song playing 1 of the 4 times I tuned in.

-103.9 Big Rapids: Boring! Was expecting so much more out of this station. Flat processing, hokey sounding commercials, bland imaging. Signal went to crap fairly quickly in the hilly region of NE Newaygo County. Music wasn't bad, but certainly wasn't anything special.

-106.3 Lakeview: A nice, wide playlist with good service elements. Clean processing. This is another station that is probably best described as Variety Hits, albeit with an older skew than what 97.3 plays. Station has a small town aura to it, and that's not a bad thing.

Other notables:
-Are 99.1 & 107.7 in Big Rapids even on the air right now??? Neither station came thru on seek mode listen than 5 miles from the M-20 exit off US-131.

-93.7 The Ticket from the Cadillac area really screws with B93. Just north of Big Rapids (19 Mile Rd), reception shifted back & forth between B93 and The Ticket. Very little "fuzz," though. I was hearing one station or the other cleanly at practically all times. On Sunday morning, DX-ing conditions were good and I heard B93 crystal clear farther west.

-WAPL was messing with Star 105.7 pretty good near the Newaygo / Lake County line.

-As far north as the Morley exit (mile marker 125), B93, Star 105.7 and WVGR all were coming in loudly & clearly. On my drive up (late morning Saturday), DX-ing was pretty quiet and Star was still coming in fairly well near Big Rapids.

-It's amazing how quiet 97.9 FM is while driving northward. The WGRD signal really overachieves! Fuzz/break-ups didn't get annoying for me until I got just north of the Muskegon River bridge. That's a good 60 miles from the WGRD TX site; not bad for a station that is nowhere near max ERP for a Class B.

-I was surprised at how shitty WSNX and especially WHTS reception was near the Newaygo / Lake border. That area is only about 35 miles from the WZZM/WHTS tower and perhaps 42 miles from the WSNX tower! 101.7 WMRR came in more reliably than both. Quite surprising that a Class B2 station located 50 miles away produces more reliable reception than a maxed out Class B facility located 15 miles closer.


R.I.P. Vinnie Paul Abbott (March 11, 1964 – June 22, 2018)

jm
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Joined: Sat Dec 04, 2004 10:03 pm
Location: Mid Michigan

Re: Ludington & Big Rapids area radio observations

Post by jm » Wed Oct 04, 2017 2:16 pm

Can't comment too much about 99.1 and 107.7. I think they are both on, but I never check out 99.1
107.7's range seems to have diminished lately. It starts breaking up by the time you get to Reed City. Used to be reliable north to at least mile 162.



jaydubs
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Re: Ludington & Big Rapids area radio observations

Post by jaydubs » Wed Oct 04, 2017 4:01 pm

I was up that way yesterday and 101.5 (WMTE rebroadcast of 106.5) indeed had local advertising during the breaks, with spots about Manistee area businesses and events. Perhaps they simply brought forward the Coast FM advertising.



ChrisKun2K5
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Re: Ludington & Big Rapids area radio observations

Post by ChrisKun2K5 » Wed Oct 04, 2017 5:34 pm

I picked up Sunny 97.3 in the Lansing area during one of this past spring's tropo openings and they went from the Spice Girls "Wannabe" into Bette Midler "Wind Beneath My Wings." An interesting mix indeed. I take it they've dropped '50s and '60s music? I recall they were mixing '80s music into the oldies format as early as 2002.

It seems that between 97.3, 103.9, 99.1 (assuming they're on), 98.5 and to an extent 106.3, fans of '80s music in the Big Rapids area aren't hurting for options. Does Y102 still have an all '80s lunch hour?



ftballfan
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Re: Ludington & Big Rapids area radio observations

Post by ftballfan » Wed Oct 04, 2017 11:23 pm

WWKR has run that Sunday morning Christian countdown show for years now. It would make sense if and only if there were zero full-time CCM stations in the area. Smile (WSMZ + W299CB Manistee), the Promise (WOLW), and K-Love (WPFF) can be heard in most of K-Rock's coverage area. Heck, WSMZ is on the same stick as WWKR!

When I lived in Manistee, WSNX and WHTS were quite rare (especially WHTS; I think I've heard WRLO more on 105.3 than WHTS since the move to Fremont). 104.5 is a hodgepodge ranging from WSNX to WXER to WAXX to WZTC. WMRR would occasionally come in surprisingly well, even with WMTE right next door

Also, WKLA-FM should be on the much stronger 98.7 stick than the 96.3 stick. With that move to 96.3, they basically handed Manistee to Z93 and WMOM (whenever WRVM isn't tearing that one to shreds).



cckadlec
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Re: Ludington & Big Rapids area radio observations

Post by cckadlec » Fri Oct 06, 2017 11:22 pm

MWmetalhead wrote:
Wed Oct 04, 2017 12:06 pm
-94.1 Hart: Unlistenable due to horrible programming. A Christian AC countdown show on a supposed CLASSIC ROCK station Sunday morning??? Good grief. Also heard other programming that didn't fit the format. Processing sounded like mud.

-103.9 Big Rapids: Boring! Was expecting so much more out of this station. Flat processing, hokey sounding commercials, bland imaging. Signal went to crap fairly quickly in the hilly region of NE Newaygo County. Music wasn't bad, but certainly wasn't anything special.

Other notables:
-Are 99.1 & 107.7 in Big Rapids even on the air right now??? Neither station came thru on seek mode listen than 5 miles from the M-20 exit off US-131.
94.1 sounds great at all other times. It's just that one program that they run off-format on Sunday that is horrendous and with quiet audio to the point you can barely hear it sometimes. I don't know what bet they lost that made them play that every Sunday. It really is horrid sounding.

103.9 is a rare catch here in Fremont. The signal doesn't go to crap; it is taken out by 104.1's IBOC, which is all that occupies the frequency in this area aside from WVBO. When I do catch 103.9 Big Rapids, I usually sit and wonder who the heck it might be -- that's how rarely I hear it here; I forget it's even there.

99.1 and 107.7 are strong signals. Abnormally strong, in fact. They may have been up to something when you visited. They usually don't get taken out by Milwaukee til about 5 miles east of White Cloud. After that, heading toward Big Rapids, they're in for a long time and easily strongly received.


[ Radio and weather geeks, beware! Coastal tropo studies and the Seoul AM Radio Listening Guide documentary at http://www.beaglebass.com/dxTuner: Grundig G8 • Location: Fremont, Mich. / 101 mi. ene of Milwaukee ]

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Colonel Flagg
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Re: Ludington & Big Rapids area radio observations

Post by Colonel Flagg » Mon Oct 16, 2017 12:29 pm

The first and only time I heard 103.9, it sounded like the the computer had gone haywire. I could be wrong, but it almost sounded like they were using a bad internet connection, either for programming, or the STL.

There simply is not enough potential revenue in these areas to support so many stations. It was hard enough when Ludington, Manistee, and Big Rapids each had 1 AM/FM combo.


"Remember, Colonel Flagg was never here. Tell your people!"

radionut
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Re: Ludington & Big Rapids area radio observations

Post by radionut » Wed Oct 18, 2017 8:12 am

MWmetalhead wrote:
Wed Oct 04, 2017 12:06 pm
-100.9 Big Rapids: Nothing special; country music off the bird. Processing is a bit below average but by no means horrible. A decent option for fans of Country music.

-Are 99.1 & 107.7 in Big Rapids even on the air right now??? Neither station came thru on seek mode listen than 5 miles from the M-20 exit off US-131.
100.9 is locally programmed and not off the Bird. They do run LIA from Satellite 7P-12a Mon-Sat so that may what you heard. 99.1 & 107.7 are both on the air but have a better signal north of Big Rapids rather then South. 99.1 gets beat up pretty bad south of town.



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