Update 5/13: Midwest did indeed break-up its WKZO simulcast this afternoon to launch Alternative “Z96.5 WZXO”.
The station is launching with the usual 10,000 songs in a row. The station will remain as the radio flagship for Western Michigan University sports.
The Press Release announcing “Z96.5” follows:
Z96.5 Kalamazoo’s Alternative launched Monday May 13th playing 10,000 songs in a row. The brand new station will feature alternative artists such as AWOLNATION, Fun., and Imagine Dragons.
Upon reviewing key research that showed a demand for alternative music in Kalamazoo, Midwest Communications made the decision to change its 96.5 WKZO news talk station to the alternative music format. The sound of Z96.5 will be similar to that of Midwest’s alternative radio station in Lansing, 94.1 FM WVIC.
Z96.5 brand manager Jay Morris said that the people surveyed, “had an intense desire for a Kalamazoo station that would play alternative music”. Morris went on to say, “It is important to point out that Z96.5 is a locally programmed station in Kalamazoo for Kalamazoo. There’s nothing else like it.” Z96.5 kicks off with a non-stop 10,000 songs in a row and will add air-staff in the coming month.
In regards to WKZO FM listeners, Morris added that, “Everything that made WKZO 96.5 FM a fantastic Kalamazoo product for news, weather, and traffic will still be available on the 590 AM frequency.” The WKZO 590 AM programming includes Detroit Tigers games, The Lori Moore Show, The Big Show with Michael Patrick Shiels, The Trifecta, Mark Levin, Free Talk Live, and Coast to Coast AM.
According to Midwest, Z96.5 will play an active role in the community with appearances, and upcoming concerts as well as being the continued flagship for Western Michigan University sports.
Original Report 5/12: Midwest Communications is preparing to breakup its News/Talk simulcast and debut Alternative Rock in Kalamazoo, MI.
The News/Talk simulcast of 590 WKZO Kalamazoo and 96.5 WKZO-FM Portage will soon come to an end as 96.5 has applied to change call letters to WZOX. The recently registered Z965FM.com is currently in development and features references to “Kalamazoo’s Alternative” and playing 10,000 songs in a row.
In the Fall 2012 Arbitron ratings the WKZO simulcast were ranked separately. 590 WKZO garnered a 3.1 share of the audience while 96.5 WKZO-FM registered a 2.2. The FM began simulcasting the AM in March 2010 when the station dropped its previous Country “Y96.5” WYZO identity.