RACINE COUNTY — New formats are not the only recent changes at Racine’s sister radio stations at 1400 AM and 92.1 FM.
Tomah-based Magnum Communications bought four radio stations last summer from Bliss Communications including WRJN (1400 AM), and what was then WEZY-FM, a “light rock” station at 92.1 FM.
Magnum recently changed formats and completed upgrades behind the scenes at both stations, Magnum President Dave Magnum said Friday. On Dec. 1, the former WEZY became WMKQ, “continuous country Q-92,” he said.
The move from light rock to country music at 92.1 FM followed extensive research that showed only one country music station between South Milwaukee and Chicago, Magnum explained.
“Listeners were saying they would love to have a new choice in country,” he said, “and it’s going crazy.”
At WRJN, both seldom-heard music and, for now, Christmas music, have been added to a somewhat reshuffled lineup, Magnum said. Aside from the seasonal Christmas music, Magnum said WRJN has added music that was rarely heard such as Rocky Burnette’s “Tired of Toein’ the Line,” Bob Seger’s “Fire Lake” and Motown songs.
Also, Program Director Don Rosen moved from the former WEZY to WRJN where he now hosts what Magnum called “community conversations” on the “Sound Off” program. The changes are part of his approach to a positive community station, he said.
And, Magnum said, “both stations sound completely different: much louder and brighter.” That’s because of an investment of about $250,000 to upgrade all equipment to state-of-the-art status, from the microphones to the antennas.
That capital investment included a new antenna and transmission equipment for the 535-foot-tall FM tower, Magnum said.
“Each time an antenna takes a (lightning) tower hit, it reduces the performance,” he explained, and said the old equipment was more than 20 years old.
Correction: The call letters for WMKQ were incorrect in the original version and have been corrected.