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Maryland Transit Administration Launches Baltimore LPFM

93.5 WTTZ-LP Baltimore Traffic Channel Smooth JazzThe Maryland Department of Transportation launched Traffic/Smooth Jazz 93.5 WTTZ-LP Baltimore last Thursday.

The LPFM is running traffic related programming from 5-9am and 2-6pm and Smooth Jazz in other dayparts billed as “The Station That Moves You”. Despite operating with less than one watt of power, the station’s antenna height on Television Hill gives it coverage of all of Baltimore and surrounding suburbs. The Smooth Jazz programming will run jockless, while the traffic reports will utilize staffers from MTA, Maryland Aviation Administration, Maryland Transportation Authority, State Highway Administration, Maryland Port Administration and Motor Vehicle Administration.

The Maryland Department of Transportation’s Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony on March 17 to officially launch WTTZ-93.5 FM, the first new radio station in Baltimore since 1988.

Dubbed “The Maryland Transportation Channel,” WTTZ includes commuter updates from the MTA, Maryland Aviation Administration, Maryland Transportation Authority and State Highway Administration, along with information from the Maryland Port Administration and Motor Vehicle Administration. WTTZ will feature an instrumental music format with some vocals.

“The MTA is excited to introduce WTTZ-93.5 FM to the Baltimore media market, which will be the only station in the marketplace providing regular rush hour transit reports, highway traffic conditions, and BWI Airport updates including information about delays,” said MTA administrator and CEO Paul Comfort. “This first-in-the-marketplace format has uniquely positioned the MTA to be the only source for a complete picture of what’s happening on the rails, roads and in the air.”

“WTTZ is a ground breaking format not only in the Baltimore media market, but it also continues to show that the MTA is a national transit industry leader,” said Marc Jones, MTA manager of broadcast operations. “The launch of this station places the MTA as one of the only transit agencies in the country operating an FM radio station in a major media market.”

INSTANT INSIGHT: We normally shy away from covering LPFM’s due to their limited coverage area, but the antenna height of WTTZ gives it comparable coverage to the translators in the market that have generated ratings and competing for listeners. The combination of Smooth Jazz and traffic could make WTTZ something that does get some listenership in the market.

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Lance Venta is the Owner and Publisher of RadioInsight.com and a consultant for RadioBB Networks specializing in integration of radio and the internet. Lance has two decades of experience tracking the audio industry and its use of digital platforms.

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