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FM News 101.1 To Change Station Call Letters Again

FM News 101.1 is getting ready to change its station call letters once again -- the second such change in just over four months. At the stroke of Midnight tonight, Chicago's WWWN-FM becomes WIQI-FM.

The new call letters should work better for the radio station, with IQI letters resembling the 101 FM frequency now. It also returns the letter Q to the station, which was known as WKQX from 1977 until this past July.

The new call letters do not mean that any significant changes are coming to 101.1 FM. The station is not changing formats, altering its imaging, or changing its website location. Merlin Media LLC, the owner of FM News 101.1, simply felt the call letters were a better fit for the station then the WWWN-FM letters.

The station changed to the call letters of WWWN-FM on July 21st to further distance itself from the station's 34 year history of being a music station, most of which was various rock formats. At the time of the change, the station was preparing to change from music to a news format. The "N" in WWWN was meant to put the focus on News. The new call letters put the focus on the station's frequency, while also embracing its "Q" past.

FM News 101.1 has had a rocky start since it began in late July. The station has been in a continual state of flux, changing from a news/entertainment/personality station to more of an upbeat, but traditional news station. Staffers have come and gone and been shifted about to find the right combination, but it appears that the format tweaking is coming to an end. After a start that was marred by on-air confusion and technical glitches, a much more polished and professional product is now on the airwaves.

With the majority of pieces in place, the station is now waiting for its first promotional campaign to begin. Since driving away the younger, mostly male demographic by canceling the Alternative Rock format Q101 (which now lives on as an online-only station), Merlin Media has yet to let the general public know the station even exists. With no mention of the new News radio station anywhere, with the exception of a handful of industry websites & publications, station ratings plummeted to an almost non-existent number. While it has attracted a small audience organically, especially in mornings, it is still mostly unknown by the Chicago radio audience. Once promotion begins for the station, that should change. There is not yet a time table as for when the promotional push will begin, but it is safe to assume it will happen after the holidays, in early next year.

The call letters WIQI-FM previously were used by an Adult Contemporary radio station in Tampa, FL, starting in 1983, but dropped a few years later in 1986.


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