Posted by madcityradio.com on November 28, 2008 at 12:20:28:
Country station Q106 expands into western Dane, Iowa counties
Madison's top-rated country music station is now broadcasting clearer in an area that seems to make a lot of sense: the country.
Q106, WWQM-FM, expanded its coverage to western Dane County and Iowa County with a tower just over the county line. The station can now be heard at 106.7 as well as its Madison-area spot at 106.3.
"We have a lot of commuters who work at Lands' End who spend a lot of time on 18-151," said Q106 program director Brad Austin. "Some of the terrain out there, our signal gets a little fuzzy."
The move came earlier this month, and the frequency spot opened when Mid-West Family Broadcasting dropped The Lake classic rock station at 93.1 in October and replaced it with "jAMZ" hip-hop station, which had been at 106.7.
The move is a nice personal boost for the station's morning team, Austin said. Jason Stephens, half of the morning team with Nicole Andrews, grew up around Ridgeway and is a Dodgeville High School graduate.
"It's nice for him especially," Austin said. "His parents can pick up the station better now."
Austin said the move wasn't done for ratings, but to improve coverage farther away from Madison. Q106 was the top-rated country station in the last Arbitron ratings, and third overall in the market behind WIBA-AM (1310) and WZEE-FM (Z104). The ratings at both Q106 frequencies will be combined in the ratings in the new year, Austin said.
The Iowa County area hasn't gone unserved in the country market. WDMP between Dodgeville and Mineral Point has been broadcasting country music under the same ownership since 1968. WDMP's signal, at 99.3, reaches east as far as Verona, general manager Kurt Reinicke said.
"We've been playing country longer than all the other stations around here put together," Reinicke said. "We do have a very loyal audience."
Reinicke said the move makes sense, even if it does potentially affect his station.
"They're in a real battle with 96.3 (WMAD), and they're doing everything they can do to get to the top spot in the country front," Reinicke said. "I probably would have done what they did."
Mid-West Family Broadcasting, which owns Q106 and six other local stations, announced company layoffs earlier this month. None of those were at Q106 but were at WTDY, 1670 AM.
(Jane Burns, 77 Square)
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