Thursday, Nov. 6, 2008

WKTI 94.5 FM Changes Formats for the Worse

By Evan Rytlewski
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Hat tip to my friend Beth, who alerted me to the news in an e-mail titled "Wow ... Another Milwaukee Radio Station that Plays 'Whatever.'"

In a confounding move, one of the few Milwaukee radio stations that played contemporary-pop music, WKTI-FM 94.5, has shifted formats to a free-form station modeled after the "Jack" formats found in other cities.

There's an irony here: Although this format prides itself on a broader playlist than the typical, Clear Channel-owned station, WKTI-FM's new "Lake FM" format actually homogenizes Milwaukee radio, since the format emphasizes music that's already done to death on other stations, not contemporary hits. (As I write this, the station just played three odious classic rock songs in a row. Sigh.)

The move, I suppose, was a long time coming, since Journal Communications has been gutting the station since one-half of its signature morning team, Bob Reitman, left in 2006, but it's still a bummer. This was the last format that Milwaukee radio needed.

UPDATE: Tim Cuprisin has remarkably thorough coverage on his Inside TV and Radio blog. All the station's DJs are gone.

It's not too cynical to question whether this was a cost-saving measure, given Journal Communications' poor earnings as of late. Still, I just can't believe Milwaukee doesn't have an adult contemporary station anymore (the other station that almost fits that billing, 99.1, has turned to Christmas music.)

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