I certainly understand a lot less ground will be covered from the APP site than the LIC site, but let's consider the following:
- Ada Twp (likely) won't approve a new tower;
- Who knows if nearby Cannon Twp would be willing to approve a new tower;
- The State Police evidently won't allow any commercial radio stations on its existing 489 ft tower;
- The WFUR / WJRW land has environmental issues, and evidently, geological integrity issues;
- The only other tall FM-worthy tower within 10 miles of the LIC site is owned by Townsquare (a direct competitor).
- Waiting for a new tower to (a) be approved and (b) be constructed would be a very time consuming and costly process.
- There's no reason why Cumulus/WLAV still couldn't pursue a return to central Kent County some day. I don't see any doom & gloom scenarios playing out with regard to moves involving stations in distant areas. Heck, if they choose, they can file an APP as soon as the GVSU site is licensed, right?
The WKLQ site is about 5 miles further away from downtown GR and delivers a blisteringly strong signal to downtown Grand Rapids.
The Holy Family Radio translator, which uses the WTLJ tower (right down the street from the WGVU tower), with just 250 watts can be heard quite reliably as far east as Cascade & Ada Twp. and places a pretty rock solid signal into downtown Grand Rapids. I realize the WLAV antenna will be mounted about 370 feet lower, but with > 40 kW being sent eastward, the signal strength across the immediate GR area should be pretty damn good.
I've always liked the coverage footprint of the WKLQ tower near Zeeland. When WCEN-FM was operating at greatly reduced power nearly 20 years ago due to lightning damage, that station came in clear as a bell as far north as Stanwood and almost as far east as Portland. When WGVU was analog, with a really crappy UHF antenna connected to the back of the TV, I could pick up a snowy but viewable signal as far away as Hardy Dam.
Line of sight from the WGVU site is good in the direction of Kalamazoo & Battle Creek. WKFR comes in surprisingly well near the GVSU campus. There won't be enough field strength sent toward those two cities to facilitate routine listening among the public in those areas, but I bet WLAV's signal in Kalamazoo after the move will be only slightly worse than it was when the LIC site was still in use.
About 70% of the MSA's households will receive a predicted city grade signal from the WGVU site. Places such as Hudsonville, Jenison, and Grand Haven will see a stronger signal than they ever saw from the Ada Twp site. Eastern and northern portions of Kent County will obviously see a drop off, especially near Lowell, but the station should be pretty easy to tune in still.
Places such as Ionia & Montcalm County will see the biggest drop off in signal, but those two counties are not included in the MSA, and whenever someone from those two counties purchases air time on Grand Rapids radio(such as a car dealership), they are primarily targeting Metro GR listeners - not local listeners.
WLAV will probably become a very difficult listen in the Portland and Grand Ledge areas once this move happens, but 94.9 WMMQ from Lansing offers similar programming. Lately, I do like the LAV playlist better than the MMQ playlist, which seems to be stuck in neutral.
Lori Bennett and Bob Walker have turned WLAV from an iconic classic rock station into a ratings boondoggle. Sad.