RACINE COUNTY — The owners of local radio station WMKQ may be in some hot water over the station’s new name, 92.1 the Lake, and logo, which are apparently being used without another company’s permission.
That is evidently not going down well with Scripps Co., which owns Milwaukee’s 94.5 FM. Scripps’ vice president of radio says he is “surprised to see any appropriation of a slogan and logo like that” by Magnum Media which owns WMKQ, sister station to WRJN (1400 AM), both at 4201 Victory Ave.
Until Friday morning, 94.5 FM was called 94.5 the Lake. When the station dropped the name that morning and its pop-rock variety format in favor of country music, Magnum switched from country to “adult hits,” and company President Dave Magnum said he was “gladly adopting” the other station's listeners.
Magnum grabbed not only for 94.5’s listeners but also the name “The Lake” and a similar logo.
On Wednesday, both companies confirmed Scripps has contacted Magnum about the matter. Scripps Vice President of Radio Steve Wexler said he could not comment about those discussions but remarked: “We were kind of surprised to see the mark (logo) that looks exactly like our mark being used.”
Magnum confirmed his company had been contacted by Scripps and is “having discussions” but declined to comment further.
On Friday, when Scripps announced a country-music format and the end of its Top 40 formula, it also brought back the station’s call letters from a previous incarnation, WKTI, and renamed the station 94.5 KTI Country. The station had been WKTI until 2009, Wexler said, although never a country-music station.
Tomah-based Magnum Media, which last summer bought WRJN and what was then WEZY from Bliss Communications in a four-station purchase, reacted to 94.5 FM’s release of the variety format almost immediately.
Dave Magnum made his own format-change announcement the same afternoon, stating: “Milwaukee is such a heritage pop/rock market, so our team was shocked today that another station dropped the format.”
For 92.1 FM, the latest change means the station is now on its third format within about six months. On Dec. 1, Magnum announced it was dropping WEZY’s “light rock” format in favor of country music. The call letters were changed to WMKQ and the station was dubbed “continuous country Q-92.”
On Wednesday, when Dave Magnum was asked if the country-music format was not successful for 92.1 FM, he replied: “We were having a blast with Continuous Country Q92 until 10 a.m. last Friday morning.”
Clarification: Because of a production error, the original article had an incomplete quote from Magnum Media President Dave Magnum about adopting another station’s listeners. The error has been corrected.