Scripps Launches KTI Country Milwaukee

94.5 The Lake WLWK KTI Country WKTI Milwaukee Scripps  Danny ClaytonScripps has flipped Variety Hits “94.5 The Lake” WLWK-FM Milwaukee to Country “KTI Country“.

Resurrecting the frequency’s heritage WKTI call letters, the new station gives a direct competitor to iHeartMedia’s market leading “FM 106.1” WMIL. The station utilized the WKTI call letters from the early 1970’s until its flip to Variety Hits in November 2008.

The format change occurred after a brief stunt playing The Beatle’s Abbey Road in its entirety in tribute to the album’s “Hello, Goodbye” being the first song played as part of “The Lake’s” format.

WMIL currently leads the Milwaukee market with a 10.5 share in the April 2015 Nielsen Audio ratings. With Scripps News/Talk 620 WTMJ second at a 10.1, the move could enable Scripps to reclaim the overall market lead. WKTI becomes the second full-market Country signal in the market, but Magnum Broadcasting’s suburban “Q92.1” WMKQ Racine and “Buzz Country 92.5” WMBZ-FM West Bend each serve portions of the market.

Milwaukee has a new country radio station.

The new KTI COUNTRY launched on 94.5 FM in Milwaukee at 10 a.m. today, according to Steve Wexler, vice president of radio for The E.W. Scripps Company (NYSE: SSP).

“We are thrilled to bring Wisconsin a fun, engaging local radio station that features today’s best country music and a strong commitment to serve our local community,” Wexler said.

The new format replaces 94.5 The Lake, a music-intensive variety format that has aired on the station since 2009.

“Bringing back the iconic WKTI call letters was a natural decision for us as we build a radio station that will be filled with local personalities, information and entertainment,” said Tom Langmyer, vice president and general manager of Scripps’ Milwaukee radio operations. “WKTI was famous for its connection to Wisconsin, and we’re excited to bring back that strong local brand, this time married to great country music.”

94.5 KTI COUNTRY is adding to a lineup of local on-air hosts, with more to come.

“We’re on the hunt right now for personalities, including a morning show that will be fun, local and informative,” Langmyer said. “We’ll deliver great country music and local personalities as well as news, weather and sports updates from our sister stations, WTMJ-TV and Newsradio 620 WTMJ.”

In addition to its powerful FM signal at 94.5 FM, KTI COUNTRY is streaming at and will soon be available in the Radio League app, which offers digital audio streaming of all the Scripps radio stations across the country.

“We see an excellent opportunity to build a great country station in Milwaukee,” added Beverlee Brannigan, VP/Radio Programming for Scripps. “While KTI COUNTRY will feature great country music, its true mission will be to engage with our community in a meaningful way.”

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  1. Eric Jon Magnuson says

    They’re even echoing the longtime ‘KTI logo–not just with the color scheme, but especially with the layered “94”…

  2. only1moore says

    I wish the folks at WKTI the best of luck cause they’re going to need it.

  3. StogieGuy says

    Yep, as luck would have it, I happened to hear the flip this morning. Interestingly, I was listening to WTMJ 620 when – at the 10:00 TOH – they welcomed their sister station , adding that it was a fellow Scripps station (and reminding me that it was no longer Journal ) “the new 94.5 KTI Country”. So, I quickly hopped over and heard the very end of the Abbey Road LP, followed by a long, introductory announcement, a few seconds of awkward silence, the announcement again, then a very professional sounding sweeper and into music. Country is a very crowded marketplace around Milwaukee, with WMIL and 2 rimshots (Magnum’s WMBZ to the north and WMKQ to the south). That said, this would still be a head-to-head with full-market WMIL and will likely result in Scripps knocking that iHeart powerhouse down a few notches.

    1. Fightingirish says

      Ironically, when they dropped the WKTI Hot AC format and flipped to The Lake, they did so live on sister WTMJ-TV’s morning newscast. No fanfare, they just played the Beatles’ “Hello Goodbye” and went from there.

  4. Fightingirish says

    Only a few hours in, and WMKQ has ditched country to become… 92.1 The Lake!!! Check out the logo!

    1. StogieGuy says

      Yep, I just heard that myself while walking the dog. They’re claiming that “The Lake has moved to 92.1”, which is interesting, considering that the ownership is different.

  5. Fightingirish says

    I’m guessing they must have called up the people at Radio City and asked for the logo and intellectual property. I’m sure Scripps was more than happy to oblige, as they get rid of a competitor and mollify the people who are angry about the flip. All they give up is an identity that they no longer needed.

  6. Christian says

    Now my THREE closest 94.5s are all country stations!
    94.5 NASH-FM (WTNR Holland/Grand Rapids)
    94.5 the Moose (WCEN Hemlock/Mt. Pleasant/Saginaw)
    94.5 KTI Country (WKTI Milwaukee)

    This isn’t quite as bad as the two B93s on 93.7 (WBCT Grand Rapids and WBFM Sheboygan) or what used to be the two Y100s on 100.3 (WNCY Neenah-Menasha and WGRY Grayling [now classic rock WQON])

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