Monday, October 30, 2017

Easy 106.3 northern Michigan flips to classic hits "Mac-FM"



Last station carrying crappy easy listening station in northern Michigan flips to classic hits as Mac-FM, brings back Bob and Tom
Early today, Black Diamond soft AC WQEZ 106.3 Onaway/Cheboygan flipped to a 70s/80s classic hits format known as 106.3 Mac-FM WWMK, named - of course - after the Mackinac Bridge.

Core artists on the station include typical 70s and 80s top 40 fare such as Hall and Oates, Prince, The Bee Gees, Michael Jackson and so on. The station has also brought back The Bob and Tom Show, which was canceled on sister classic rock station WGFN 98.1/97.7 The Bear last month to make way for the return of Omelette and Coates.

The Easy format - created by former owner Del Reynolds - was a total flop. It debuted Christmas Day 2011 on what is now the 97.7 frequency for The Bear in Cheboygan. In 2013, the Easy format moved to 106.3 Onaway and also aired on 95.5 Traverse City, replacing the Real Rock format that was popular with listeners. Needless to say, hard rock fans in the Cherry Capitol were pissed.

However, with Black Diamond buying out Reynolds, the decision was made to kill the Easy format on 95.5 and bring back the rock format early this year. Now, it's safe to say that slow, sappy geezer music up north is dead and gone, and deservingly so.

On the station's website, station management did release a message that Easy's format was simply too niche and too older-skewing. In their last Nielsen ratings book, the station only registered a .5 rating.

Formatically, the station competes with Northern Broadcast's 94.3/92.5 The Fox FM, a station focused on hits from the 80s through the early 00s. The Straits area hasn't been without a station playing much hits from the 70s since WCZW 107.9 Charlevoix - which once simulcasted WCCW-FM 107.5 Traverse City - was sold to religious broadcaster Good News Media and became WLJD, simulcasting Christian WLJN 89.9 Traverse City.

The northern Michigan region has been an unlucky place for soft and AC stations over the years. In the past 15 years alone, duds have included Midwestern Broadcasting's 92.9 The Breeze (now CHR Z93), Northern Broadcast's WSRT 106.7/105.5 (now ESPN) and now, Easy 97.7/106.3/95.5. Today, the north has two full ACs: MacDonald-Garber's WLXT Lite 96.3 and Fort Bend's WLDR 101.9 The Bay. However, the two aforementioned ACs have a younger audience than the three bombed stations, and maybe, it's for the best.

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