ESPN describes the 97.5 translator as serving downtown Chicago and nearby Hispanic/Latino neighborhood communities, including Cicero, Berwyn and Pilsen. Next Media’s 1220 WKRS Waukegan, IL will also be flipping to ESPN Deportes tomorrow in order to cover Chicago’s Northern suburbs.
97.5 will continue to be fed by 95.5 WNUA-HD2 and will be overseen by “Mega 95.5” PD Ricardo Otero.
Update 1/20: 97.5 is on the air as Country “97.5 The Bull” being fed by 95.5 WNUA-HD2. The website has removed the countdown clock ticking down to February 1.
Is this the final format? We doubt it, since the launch of a new Chicago FM would likely have a little more pomp and circumstance around it. More likely they’re playing into our reports about the pending launch and getting a little bit of attention in the industry for the translator.
Update 1/18: 975TheBull.com is now live and counting down to a February 1 launch. However, there is nothing on the site linking the domain to Chicago or any other market.
ESPN Deportes will be debuting in the Chicago market on February 1 as well. NextMedia’s 1220 WKRS Waukegan, IL, which serves the northern suburbs of Chicago will drop News/Talk for the Spanish Sports network. NextMedia has registered ESPNDeportes1220.com for the new format.
We should note there is little overlap between 1220 and 97.5, so we are not completely ruling out both stations debuting the network. Clear Channel teased a Country flip prior to flipping 95.5 WNUA to Spanish AC in 2009.
Original Report 1/11: The EMF Broadcasting/Clear Channel translator partnership is on its way to Chicago.
EMF’s 97.5 W248BB Hillside, IL was granted a CP in August to move to the former Amoco Building, now known as the Aon Center where it would rebroadcast a subchannel of Clear Channel’s 95.5 WNUA. From that location the translator would cover much of the Chicago city limits and adjacent towns.
A trio of domains have appeared giving the first possibilites over what format will appear on the translator. 975TheBull.com would likely indicate a Country format to pull a few shares away from CBS’ “US 99.5” WUSN with the double connotation of Chicago’s NBA franchise. SmoothJazz975.com would compete with Venture Technologies’ “Smooth 87.7” WLFM-LP, a low power TV masquerading as a radio station that has garnered a 1.5 share, but is on borrowed time as all LPTV’s will eventually have to convert to digital. The third, ESPNDeportesChicago.com would be a perfect fit signal wise for the translator or one of Clear Channel’s AMs in the market; 1390 WGRB or 1690 WVON, the latter of which is currently leased to Midway Broadcasting.