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Sounds of Sinatra, Ella on WAVO

Sinatra's back.

Another format change in Charlotte radio launches today, one that returns so-called “adult standards” to the airwaves.

WAVO-AM (1150) will switch from Christian programming to the music of Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald and Johnny Mathis at 11:50 a.m., a time that references its frequency.

It fills the niche left behind by the old WNMX-FM (“Mix” 106), which switched from adult standards to an oldies format and become WOLS-FM (106.1) this year to capture a younger audience.

“This kind of music never gets old,” says Tom Gentry, general manager with the Carolina Radio Network, which operates both WOLS and WAVO. “It's people who still recognize that there has never been better music released.”

CRN will continue to offer Christian programming on sister station WHVN-AM (1240).

Big Band music will also be part of WAVO's sound. “Big Band Jump” with Don Kennedy will air from noon to 2 p.m. on Sundays. Artists like Glenn Miller and Tommy Dorsey will be part of the music rotation daily. WAVO will also feature Frank Sinatra from 3 to 5 p.m. on Sundays.

Music for the station will be provided by a syndicated satellite service, Gentry says.

Meanwhile, jazz fans continue to mourn the loss of WNSC-FM (88.9), which recently switched to the NPR news and talk format.

It's unlikely anything will come along soon to take its place, but HD radio – an emerging digital technology that offers stations the option of adding a side channel that can be picked up by special receivers – may be the answer before too long. Jazz fans tend to be passionate and upscale, just the kind of listeners that keep public radio stations in business at pledge drive time.

WFAE-FM (90.7) already has a second channel on its digital broadcasts that carries shows usually not heard on the main channel. And classical WDAV-FM (89.9) would be a good candidate, too, when it decides to add an HD channel.