UTICA/ROME -- The mysterious commercial-free music on WUTI now has a name. The 5,000-watt AM station located in Oriskany is now identifying itself as "Ed 1150," according to a pre-recorded liner which aired between songs earlier this afternoon.
We're not sure exactly when the new nickname was ushered in, but we heard it when we happened to be driving within the WUTI broadcast area. Since the station was sold last December by Northeast Public Radio to Digital Radio Broadcasting, it has been playing non-stop music with no commercials; just a legal ID after every few songs.
Here's what your humble editor heard today, starting shortly before 2:30pm:
We've actually tuned into WUTI on numerous occasions when driving through the Utica area to keep an ear out for any changes. While the format hasn't changed much (it seems to be just as much of a "mixed bag" as before), the "Ed" liners are new. Previously, any spoken liners were just barebones legal IDs, which sounded as if they were voiced by children.
The station still plays no commercials and appears to have no personalities... that's caused many posters on radio-info.com's message board to openly wonder how Digital Radio Broadcasting is generating revenue (or if they aren't, why are they operating at a loss?) and what the owner's long-term plans might be.
We can't help but wonder ourselves... and we'll be looking out for any further developments. If you hear of anything before we do, feel free to send us a line.
Just a wild, far left field thought or question as I read one of the lines you wrote.
The liner says Ed. You also heard the wording galaxy of music.
Any remote possibility Ed is for Ed Levine. Any possibility galaxy of music is for Galaxy Communications that Mr. Levine is part of?
Just curious. Never can tell.
I wouldn't be surprised if it's a bit of a jibe at that guy. Whether or not it really means anything, who knows.
Honestly, the thought did cross my mind, but I don't think there's any connection here. According to the latest FCC ownership limits, one entity may own "up to six commercial radio stations, not more than four of which are in the same service, in a market with between 15 and 29 radio stations."
On the CNYRadio.com Station Wiki, we have 28 stations listed in the Utica-Rome market. Galaxy owns three FMs: WUMX, WOUR, WKLL; and three AMs: WTLB, WRNY and WIXT; so if my overall count is correct, Galaxy is at the limit right now. They would need to sell at least one station in order to buy WUTI. At present, I can't see Galaxy selling any of the FMs, and I imagine it would be difficult to find anyone to buy all three AMs, let alone any one AM station on its own.
However, if I've happened to forget 2 or more stations, the market would fall into the "30-44 stations" category, in which one entity can own up to seven stations. In this case, Galaxy could buy WUTI. But look back at 2007 when Galaxy bought the former Clear Channel cluster: they kept some of the stations, but spun-off several stations to Roser and EMF. If Galaxy could have kept another station (like the powerful WRCK signal), I'm thinking they would have... so in the end, I'm guessing they're at the limit right now.