November 23, 2014

Elyria
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The Wave 107.3 FM to switch formats

ELYRIA —  Within the next 10 days, WNWV 107.3 FM will bid farewell to its signature smooth jazz format for one designed to appeal to a broader audience.

The new Triple-A format — promising a diverse playlist blending emerging artists with alternative rock and classic rock stars — will take over the airwaves at the Elyria FM station.

“We’ve been the smooth jazz station for 22 years, but we are going to flip formats,” said Lonnie Gronek, general manager for the station’s parent company, the Elyria-Lorain Broadcasting Co., a sister company to the Lorain County Printing and Publishing Co., which owns The Chronicle-Telegram.

“There is a hole for this in the market,” Gronek said. “No one is doing it in the Cleveland market.”

WNWV — which will sport a new 107.3 BOOM! logo — is able to make the switch fairly quickly and effortlessly because it is one of the few independently-owned radio companies in Northeast Ohio.

“Most other commercial stations are owned by large national corporations such as Clear Channel, CBS, Radio One and Salem Communications,” Gronek said. “They can’t maneuver locally. They tend to plug in formats in Cleveland and 20 to 30 other markets, so you’re hearing pretty much the same format with a different set of call letters.”

The new format is designed to answer complaints from regular radio listeners who said stations offer very little real variety in their music, and repeat the same tunes endlessly.

The Triple-A format will be distinctive to Northeast Ohio and the Cleveland area for its mix of music, including artists not heard in the region for a long time, Gronek said.

Recent market research and music rating surveys indicated the station’s easy listening jazz was seen as an old format, dwindling in demand.

A list of musicians and bands whose music will make up the new format range includes Blues Traveler, Matchbox Twenty, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Counting Crows, Kings of Leon, The Police, Death Cab for Cutie, Sarah McLachlan, Annie Lennox and Cat Stevens.

“We won’t be playing Kid Rock or bubble gum rock,” Gronek said.

The format will be presented by a staff of seasoned announcers.

“These are people who have been in or around radio for 18 to 20 years,’’ Gronek said. “They are a very mature staff for an adult focus station.”

The change in format also will expand the station’s manpower by a few positions.

“It won’t be a large number, but it will mean more work for more people,” Gronek said.

Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or sfogarty@chroniclet.com.