Friday, September 01, 2006

The last AM dayshare

I read that 1450 WVON-AM in chicago LMA'd 1690 WRLL-AM. It went without notice in most rags but it was also the end of the only AM share-time in Chicago. WVON who's stick is actually in Cicero, IL has signed off at 1:00 PM every day so that WCEV can use the frequency until 10:00 pm. This arrangement has been going on for decades and will only end this September.

In this LMA deal WVON brings its Urban talk programming to Chicago 24/7. Clear Channel owns the stick but WVON has an option to buy the expanded-band signal outright after five years. its a pretty good deal really. WRLL-AM drops their flagging oldies format WCEV presumably takes over the 1450 stick and WVON goes full-time.

But it leaves us with only one remaining AM share-time: KWLC/KDEC on 1240 in Decorah, Iowa. It's a particularly odd deal. The commercial station KDEC shares the channel with Luther College’s KWLC. The college kids get overnights the weekdnds. KDEC gets everything else. But KDEC runs an Adult Standards format
and KWLC runs an eclectic mix of even more eclectic block programs.

KWLC was founded 1926 , and inaugerated with a spirited reading of the Gettysburg Address. It is said to be the oldest continually operating radio station in Iowa. They began their share time agreement in the great depression as a money saving manuver which was very common then. They rode out the hard times where many others were not savvy enough to survive. But then they did something that the others did not. They stuck with the share time deal. While other broadcasters moved frequency, changed city of license or bought out their partner trying to provide full service, KWLC sat there quietly doing it's own thing. ...And now, they are the last of their kind.