Journal Acquires WNOX; Format Moves

Q100.3 Q100 Q93 WCYQ Nashville Oak Ridge WNOX 850 WKVL John Pirkle Ed BobUpdate 5/9: WCYQ began its long expected simulcast on 100.3 WNOX at 9am this morning. Playing up the fact that the 100.3 signal is audible in five states and two time zones, “Q100.3” debuted with Jason Aldean’s “The Only Way I Know”.

The WCYQ call letters will soon swap places with WNOX. In addition to the previously registered for eventual use on 93.1, Journal has added If the previously requested two week simulcast takes place, 93.1 would be in position to launch its new format just in time for Memorial Day Weekend.

Update 5/7: While 100.3 continues to stunt in preparation of its 9am Thursday announcement of a new format, Country “Q93” WCYQ is making the obvious known as morning host Opie Joe is tweeting that WCYQ will have an announcement at the same time on Thursday.

We’ve been reporting since January that WCYQ’s Country format would be shifted to the 100.3 signal.

Update 5/3: After a slight delay, Journal began operating 100.3 WNOX this afternoon as the station began stunting with brief snippets of songs. The stunt is teasing a new format on Thursday at 9am.

The station was supposed to begin simulcasting new sister Country “Q93” WCYQ on or around May 2 based on the request it made last week to the FCC to waive the simulcast rule. The move to 100.3 would coincide with the first time Cumulus Country 107.7 WIVK did not finish first in the market in 25-54 in over 30 years.

The Talk format of WNOX will continue. With the exception of the Ed & Bob morning show, the entire programming lineup of WNOX has relocated to what has been Classic Country 850 WKVL. “Talk Radio 850” will debut a new morning show, “The Rude Awakening” with Mike & Shyne on Monday, May 6.

WKVL is a 50kW AM daytimer with a signal that covers most of Eastern Tennessee and Southwestern North Carolina.

Update 4/28: The takeover of 100.3 WNOX by Journal is imminent.

Journal has received an FCC waiver to allow “Q93” 93.1 WCYQ and WNOX to simulcast for two weeks beginning on or around Thursday, May 2. At the end of the waiver period, the Country format currently on 93.1 will remain on 100.3 exclusively while 93.1 debuts a new format, likely to be Classic Hits as discussed below.

Update 2/25: The FCC has approved Journal’s purchase of 100.3 WNOX. While we await closing of the deal and Journal beginning to operate its new acquisition, the company’s plans have become much clearer.

Based on the earlier domain registrations we reported on last month, the Country format of “Q93” 93.1 WCYQ will relocate to the more powerful 100.3 signal. That will make room for “Classic Hits 93.1” on the other signal as was registered by Journal on February 14.

The Knoxville market has been lacking a Classic Hits format since 98.7 WOKI flipped from the True Oldies Channel to News/Talk in 2010.

Update 1/17: When the purchase of WNOX was announced, speculation quickly was centered on Journal moving Country “Q93” WCYQ to the much stronger 100.3 signal to mount a larger attack on Cumulus’ market powerhouse 107.7 WIVK.

Journal is either moving along with plans to do that or playing along with the speculation based on domain registrations it has made.,, and have been registered by Journal’s Technology Services department.

While WIVK hovers between at 15 and 20 share of the Knoxville audience, WCYQ is in the 3’s on a much lesser signal. 93.1, licensed to Karns, is a Class A operating with 2650 watts at 512 feet. 100.3 would place it on equal footing with WIVK as both are Class C’s. WNOX runs with 100kW at 2001 feet.

Update 12/26: The FCC filing shows that Journal will pay $6 Million for WNOX.

Update 12/21: M&M Broadcasting, owners of Country “96.7 Merle-FM” WMYL Halls Crossroads, TN have announced their intent to sue John Pirkle over the sale of WNOX.

M&M allege that they had an agreement to purchase the station and were days away from taking control of it.

Original Report 12/20: Journal Broadcasting has acquired News/Talk 100.3 WNOX Knoxville from John Pirkle’s Oak Ridge FM for an undisclosed price.

WNOX was leased to Citadel Broadcasting until 2010, when that company’s bankruptcy led to Pirkle taking the station back and programming it himself. A second station owned by Pirkle, 94.3 WNFZ is leased to South Central Media and programs an Active Rock format as “94.3 The X“.

WNOX will join a Journal cluster that includes Country “Q93” WCYQ, CHR “Star 102.1” WWSR, and Urban “Hot 104.5” WKHT. Journal sold 1040 WKTI earlier this month.

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  1. johndavis says

    The press release hit businesswire, so the sale is indeed closed.

  2. Lou Pickney says

    That 100.3 FM signal licensed to Oak Ridge is a monster: 2,001′ HAAT with 100kw of power. WIVK-FM is no slouch either, and it should make for an interesting country music showdown between Journal and Cumulus in eastern Tennessee.

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