Listeners of KGMG, Mega 106.3 FM, have been informed for weeks about an impending change to the options available to pick up the station's signal.
For years, that station has broadcast on two frequencies: 106.3, and a translator feed at 104.9 FM. Translators are utilized to improve coverage if the main frequency's signal strength doesn't provide the desired market penetration. (KFMA FM 92.1 does the same thing. That signal's weak stick gets a coverage boost from 101.3.)
Well, the Journal Broadcast Group—which has ignored repeated requests for comment on the subject—is hoping a boost in signal strength at 106.3 will be enough to appease KGMG's fan base—which is already rather paltry when compared to other FMs in the market. KGMG garnered a 2.0 share among listeners 12-plus in the last Arbitron ratings cycle, the third-lowest rating among for-profit FM stations in Tucson.
KZLZ, LLC owns KWCX, the Willcox station that appears poised to fill the vacancy at 104.9. KWCX operates at that signal, and has filed paperwork with the Federal Communications Commission to move the station's city of license to Tanque Verde, opening the opportunity to broadcast throughout much of Tucson on 104.9. KWCX is currently an adult-contemporary station, and whether it will maintain that format is uncertain, as is the date when the transition will take effect. With Mega's exit from the frequency, one can assume the changeover will occur soon.
KZLZ management did not return requests for comment as of our deadline.
Meanwhile, KWCX's sister station, KZLZ 105.3 FM, a regional-Mexican-music station, is in the midst of its own signal-strength upgrade, and as a result could have more coverage than fellow Spanish-language-music competitors KCMT 102.1 FM and KTZR 97.1 FM. That could offer a significant boost to a station that is a distant third in the Spanish-music ratings race.
Citadel Broadcasting—the radio cluster that greeded its way to a purchase of ABC Radio that it ultimately couldn't afford, thus paving the way for its inevitable bankruptcy—appears on the verge of accepting a sales bid from Cumulus Media.
Cumulus owns about 350 radio stations in 68 markets nationally, but doesn't have much of a presence in the mountain region. Its territorial focus tends to be Texas, the Southeast and east of the Mississippi. Citadel, based in Las Vegas, operates more than 200 radio stations, many located in markets in the Southwest and California.
Citadel—which employs me for UA football and men's basketball pregame and postgame broadcasts on KCUB AM 1290—operates five stations in Tucson, most notably KIIM FM 99.5, one of the three highest-rated stations in the market.