After two decades of playing workplace-background favorites, WLYT-FM (Lite 102.9) has evaporated, being replaced by WLKO-FM (The Lake) on the same frequency.
Its new format is called variety hits and its a jumble of hit songs past and present from various genres.
If it was a hit song, were going to play it, says Steve Geofferies, operations manager for Clear Channels cluster of radio stations in Charlotte.
Its not much different than the format of Simon, a Greensboro station at 98.7 FM that I always seek out when motoring up I-85 toward the Triangle. You just never know what kind of song will come up next.
But Geofferies says Simon is more adult-contemporary centered. Lake will be more tempo-oriented.
Beauty of these formats is that theyre all over the place, he says. I think thats how people use their music nowadays on personal playlists. Its always the unexpected that people anticipate on this kind of station. Theyre thinking, Whats next?
Thus theres Motley Crue following Blondie following Katrina and the Waves.
Geofferies says the format is based on one tried eight years ago in his hometown of St. Louis on a station called The Arch. People didnt give it much of chance to succeed, but now its one of the powerhouse stations there.
Lite long dominated the workplace-listening niche in Charlotte, which aimed at playing in the background of everything from dental offices to assembly lines and appealed to the advertising demographic of women ages 25-54. But its lead faded as CBS Radios WKQC-FM (K 104.7) has made strong gains in recent years, and Lite was also getting competition from Greater Medias WLNK-FM (Link 107.9).
It was a crowded market, says Geofferies. No one was breaking through consistently. We believe this format will break through.
Demographically, the station is not gender-targeted, but hopes to attract adults in the 25-54 and 18-34 age groups.
Lake launched on July 2 with 5,000 songs in a row. That string should end early next week and limited commercial breaks will begin. Geofferies says they plan to be music intensive and not have any hosts. Phil Harris, who did mid-days, and Heather Flynn, who was the local voice in the mornings, have left the station.
Playlists for most radio stations run about 400 songs deep. Lake has one with 4,000 songs in the catalog. Program director Darla Thomas concentrates on what kinds of songs best follow others, ensuring the styles dont blend together.
Lake was chosen for the nickname because of Charlottes two big lakes Wylie and Norman that speak to a lifestyle of fun, Geofferies says.
We should ooze that emotion fun, unique, connecting with friends and families. Thats life on the lake, he says.
Many changes at WCNC (Channel 36). Sports director Greg Bailey is leaving after five years to return to his home state of Texas as sports director at the ABC station in Houston. Reporter Greg Argos has left for the CBS station in Phoenix. Anjanette Flowers moves from mornings to anchor of the 5:30 p.m. newscast beginning Monday, where shell be paired with consumer/investigative reporter Bill McGinty. Joining the station as reporter will be Katie Killen from WLOS (Channel 13) in Asheville.
Channel 36s new news set is expected to debut on Mondays 4 p.m. newscast, barring any technical problems, says Corrie Harding, news director. Its modern, multi-dimensional with 21 monitors on the set, interactive areas and a better weather center thats more electronically based, he says. Lit by modern LED technology, some colors will shift during newscasts to provide different atmospheres. WCNC has been working out of a temporary studio for three weeks.
Brigida Mack returns to WBTV (Channel 3) after taking time off to deal with a broken ankle. Chris Miller marks 10 years in the WBT-AM (1110) news department. Liz Luedeman, formerly with WIBT-FM (Beat), joins a Memphis station for morning show duties.
At WTVI (Channel 42), the FCC has granted the license change, putting the station under the control of Central Piedmont Community College, says CPCC spokesman Jeff Lowrance. Former WTVI president Elsie Garner takes on the title of the stations executive director of broadcasting, and David Rhew, who has been overseeing CPCCs cable channel, is named WTVIs general manager. Lowrance says a recent survey shows viewers want to see more PBS programming, and in the months ahead that will be considered. He says he cant rule out deciding to return to the mainstream PBS schedule that WTVI used to have but dropped because it was duplicative of the two state networks available here. CPCC-produced shows that have already begun airing on WTVI include Alumni Success, Great Ideas, Trail of History, Charlotte Cooks and Inside Jobs.
Megan Eager and Rob Hoover of Tega Cay, S.C., are contestants in Picked Off, a spinoff of the popular show Pickers. Eager is a Panthers cheerleader, and the two became engaged this week during a viewing party at Hickory Tavern. Picked Off airs 10 p.m. Wednesdays on the History Channel.