Youngstown Gets Loud With Hip-Hop For First Time Since 2013

Loud 102.3 WLOA Youngstown DJ GroovesOver/Under LLC has completed its acquisition of VCI Radio Inc.’s 1470 WLOA Farrell PA/Youngstown OH and with the debut of its new translator 102.3 W272EI Youngstown OH, has flipped to Rhythmic CHR “Loud 102.3“.

The launch follows a week of stunting with non-stop Drake dubbed “The Drakeover”. WLOA becomes the third affiliate of Pat ‘DJ Grooves’ Cerullo’s “Loud” brand. Cerullo, the former programmer for Alpha Media’s “Energy 94.1” KTFM San Antonio and producer of the syndicated “In The Mix with DJ Grooves“, owns “Loud 99.3” W257DI Reading PA and licenses the brand to Adams Radio’s “Loud 103.3” W277AK Fort Wayne IN.

The launch gives Youngstown a Hip-Hop station for the first time since Bernard Radio sold “101.9 Jamz” WRBP to Educational Media Foundation in early 2013. The format fills a hole between Y-Town Radio Broadcasting Urban AC “Star 94.7” 1330 WGFT/94.7 W234CH and the CHR pair of iHeartMedia’s “95.9 Kiss-FM” WAKZ and Cumulus Media’s “Hot 101” 101.1 WHOT-FM.

For the first time since early 2013, Youngstown has a Hip-Hop station of its very own. Over/Under LLC, a new operator created to serve this very purpose, has launched LOUD 102.3 on WLOA Farrell/Youngstown.

The new station debuted on Monday, April 15 at 5pm following a week-long “Drakeover” featuring nonstop hits by superstar artist Drake. Listeners to the station will discover the biggest hits in Hip-Hop from artists such as Drake, Cardi B, Khalid, Meek Mill, Post Malone, and J Cole.

WLOA is the third affiliate of Pat “DJ Grooves” Cerullo’s recently launched LOUD radio concept. Cerullo, the former Program Director for Energy 94.1 KTFM San Antonio has also worked at stations in Detroit, Philadelphia, and Washington DC during his radio career and produces the nationally syndicated “In The Mix with DJ Grooves” which will be heard on LOUD 102.3. The LOUD brand can also be heard on Cerullo’s LOUD 99.3 W257DI Reading, PA and is licensed to Adams Radio’s LOUD 103.3 W277AK Fort Wayne, IN.

Cerullo says, “Our Loud team designed a strategic and customized recipe to fit each individual market’s competitive landscape in Reading,  Fort Wayne, and now Youngstown.  By providing market specific imaging and writing, a station voice, individualized music logs, and social content for each station, all via barter, the Loud brand is positioned to grow rapidly within the fast changing economic climate that our medium faces.  The current hip hop and rhythmic music cycle works in our favor as well.  We’re only going to get LOUDER!”

Youngstown has been without a Hip-Hop station of its very own since 2013 when 101.9 JAMZ WRBP was sold to a Christian operator.

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  1. gztech says

    Good luck with that new signal. I spent 20 + years in Youngstown Radio, including ownership before moving on to Nashville and now Cleveland. WENZ Cleveland, a Radio One Hip Hop station has long been the number one “below the line” out of market rated station in Youngstown. It the on the fringe of the WENZ Cleveland signal, yet the consistent out of market, below the line high level of performance by WENZ clearly demonstrates the need for this format locally. I only hope they can get it together enough to monetize the effort. That seems to be where everyone else that ever tried, failed with this format. Trust me, people will not be calling the station wanting to place an ad buy. It is a difficult sell in a depressed market.

    1. Nathan Obral says

      WENZ’s advantage is in no small part to being an east-side signal (the transmitter is in Newbery Township, about 30 miles to the east of downtown).

      Youngstown has been an economic disaster since the late 1970s, and they’ve had way too many radio stations for a market of that size, mostly because a considerable portion of the population has justifiably moved away.

      I remember hearing that even WKBN 570 — with its superior signal and decades of heritage — has trouble with ad revenue. That’s scary in and of itself. If it weren’t for translators for WLOA and WGFT 1330 (and there’s a CP for WHTX 1570) these tiny AMs would have long been out of business. And FM translators are far from a be-all cure-all.

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