Saturday, February 22, 2014

Rockford Radio: Mid-West Flips Formats

W263BJ 1005. FM (230watts) 60dBu Coverage
News talk radio station WNTA 1330 AM / Translator 100.5 FM became "The River" a greatest hits station at 3PM Friday, leaving longtime newscaster Ken DeCoster and host Doug McDuff out of a job.

At the same time, WRTB 95.3 FM, which has played all kinds of music, became a country music station.

The stations are owned by Madison-Wis.-based Mid-West Family Broadcasting, which also owns Rockford's AC WGFB 103.1 FM; Rock WXRX104.9 FM.

Mid-West bought the stations from Maverick Media in April.

“I did not sleep well last night knowing that this was coming because people were involved. We work with people that make this business great, and that’s one of the things that sucks about making a business decision. It wasn’t something that was taken lightly but for our company to grow and evolve in this marketplace and really survive and thrive we had to make some structural changes," General Manager Mike Paterson told WIFR-TV.

According to The Rockford Register-Star a total five full-time employees were laid off and given severance packages as part of the format change, said Paterson.

Ken DeCoster
DeCoster, who has 30 years of radio experience and was a news reporter and show host on NTA from 10 a.m. to noon on weekdays, had been at the station since 1995, Paterson said. McDuff, with 50 years in radio, hosted a show 6 to 10 a.m. on weekdays. He had been with the station since 1994, Paterson said.
DeCoster did not return a phone call, and McDuff could not be reached for comment.

Paterson said the talk-show format was "not financially sound." And he said country music is highly popular in Rockford and nationwide. He said Mid-West aims to "take at least 50 percent of the revenue from the other country station in five or six years."

WRTB 95.3 FM (1.2kw) 60dBu Coverage
The new country station will be known as 95.3 The Bull and will feature 20 songs in a row throughout the day.

Besides Rockford, Mid-West operates radio stations in markets including Madison, La Crosse and Eau Claire, all in Wisconsin, and Springfield, Ill.

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