Talk Wars In Knoxville
Update 7/12: Citadel has appeared to concede the WNOX calls and branding to Oak Ridge FM. With the beginning of the temporary simulcast between 98.7 WOKI and 100.3 WNOX, the station has removed all mentions of WNOX from the station’s branding of “News Talk 98.7“. Citadel has registered KnoxvilleNewsTalk.com, KnoxNewsTalk.com, and 987NewsTalk.com for the new location.
With Neal Boortz and Michael Savage remaining with 100.3, 98.7 has added Glenn Beck for 10am to 12pm and Mark Levin for 9pm to 12am.
Original Reports 7/7: A frequency shift brought upon by Citadel’s bankruptcy will lead to an FM News/Talk battle in Knoxville, TN. When Citadel’s LMA with Oak Ridge FM for 100.3 WNOX ends on July 31, Citadel will move the current 100.3 programing to “True Oldies 98.7” WOKI. The two stations will simulcast beginning on Friday, July 9.
Oak Ridge FM will take back control of 100.3 with a competing News/Talk format. 100.3 General Manager Ed Brantley, a longtime personality on market powerhouse 107.7 WIVK will also anchor a local morning show. The remainder of the lineup at launch will include syndicated Neal Boortz from 10am to 12pm and 9pm to 10pm, Michael Savage from 12pm to 3pm and repeated from 6pm to 9pm, Alan Colmes from 10pm to 1am, and Coast To Coast With George Noory from 1am to 6am. A yet to be named Sports Talk host will air from 3pm to 6pm. Boortz and Noory are currrent parts of the “News Talk 100” lineup.
Both stations are laying claim to the WNOX call letters. When Citadel moved the Talk programming from 99.1 to 100.3 in 2005, they shifted the WNOX calls with it. 100.3 previously claimed the WOKI calls now on 98.7. WBIR-TV quotes Oak Ridge FM owner Greg Pirkle as stating “We have the call sign and we will continue using it until the FCC tells us otherwise”, while Citadel Director of Operations Mike Hammond says, “Our people are telling us to keep using the WNOX call letters”.
Oak Ridge seems to be hedging its bets as it has registered a number of domains featuring both the WNOX and WOKI call letters including: NewsTalk100WNOX.com, WNOXNewsTalk1003.com, WNOXFM100.com, WNOXFM.com, WNOXFM100.com, WOKIFM.com, WOKINewsTalk100.com, and WOKINewsTalk1003.com.