WLDR-FM 101.9 Traverse City, MI, simulcast on WARD 750 Petoskey, MI, is a station that airs a country music format as "Sunny Country 101.9

n749rh@att.blackberry.net  n749rh@gmail.com WLDR-FM signed on in 1966 by Rod Maxson, a well-known businessman in Traverse City along with Robert L. Greaige who was the one with the knowledge of the radio biz. Maxson was the owner of    , the city's dealership. Even though they're country today, WLDR carried some sort of adult contemporary format for its first 38 years. The station's call letters stood for "Long Distance Radio", suitable since they broadcasted at 100 kW.

In 1972, Maxson sold a majority of WLDR to one of his salesmen, Don Wiitala, who owned the station for more than 30 years. Wiitala was a beloved broadcaster known for giving the station a home-spun image. WLDR was a station that has many aspects of many full-service stations; the station, although licensed to broadcast 24 hours, signed on in the morning and signed off at night, aired local high school sporting events, had a "radio" show Wiitala even sold his old house on the show and played music Wiitala found suitable for his audience.

Maxson also sold a minority of WLDR to his son, Dave Maxson, who served as the station's news director. He remains with WLDR to this day though he sold his stake in the station years ago.

Throughout the 1970s, WLDR was coined "Stereo 102". Some say that Wiitala was frugal in the way he ran WLDR; he would go to the local  (a now-defunct grocery/retail outlet with a chain of stores in central and northern Michigan) in Traverse City (now Tom's Food Market and Dunham Sports Outfitters) and buy 45s cheap off the rack. The same tactics were employed in the purchase of LPs. Only obscure record labels would suffice along with artists from a bygone era. The syndicated John Doremus show aired 4 hours each day. Northern Michigan's first call-in talk show, "Listen to the Mrs." aired weekday afternoons.

In the 1980s, WLDR changed its name to "Sunny 102" to update the station's image.

Throughout the 1990s, WLDR was part of a dying breed: one-station owners. Also, in the age of 24-hour formats, the station signed on at 5 a.m. and signed off at 1 a.m. Although the station promoted a 'family-friendly' image, the station would play a few alternative rock artists, such as Red Hot Chili Peppers and even U2. However, the station was losing major ground to Trish MacDonald-Garber's WLXT/Lite 96. Starting in the late 90's, Wiitala, who was in his 60's, was taking offers for WLDR. In 2000, he sold WLDR to Roy Henderson and his Fort Bend Broadcasting Group, who maintained WLDR's AC format, but changed the station's named from Sunny 102 to Sunny 101.9.

Before he sold WLDR to Henderson, Wiitala finally allowed WLDR to remain on the air 24 hours, thanks to a new automated hard drive system. The station als started airing the syndicated Delilah show, now carried on WSRT 106.7/100.7 (the old WKPK - The Peak).

When Henderson purchased WLDR, he also purchased several other stations, such as WOUF 92.1 Beulah, MI which simulcasts WLDR-FM, WBNZ 99.3 Frankfort, MI and WCUZ 100.1 Bear Lake, MI with the intention to move the stations closer to Traverse City and boost their power. The move would also allow Henderson to develop new formats for northern Michigan radio, like he did in Texas with his popular "Texas Rebel Radio" format. Because of objections from other broadcasters, many of the moves never happened, although WOUF has moved to 92.3 and boosted power to 50 kW.

Please note: The "Texas Rebel

n749rh@att.blackberry.net  n749rh@gmail.com uttered on the radio December 16th, 1991 on KFAN fm 107.9. The name and logo are trademarked by J & J Fritz Media.

City of license WLDR-FM: Traverse City, Michigan
WARD: Petoskey, Michigan
Broadcast area WLDR-FM: [1]
WARD: [2] (Daytime)
WARD: [3] (Nighttime)
Branding Sunny Country 101.9
Slogan Today's Country & The Legends
Frequency WLDR-FM: 101.9 MHz
WARD: 750 kHz
First air date WLDR-FM: 1966
WARD: June 18, 2000
Format Country
Power WLDR-FM: 100,000 watts
WARD: 1,000 watts (Daytime)
WLDR: 330 watts (Nighttime)
Class WLDR-FM: C1
WARD: B
Callsign meaning Long Distance Radio
Former callsigns WLDR-FM:
WLDR (1966-8/13/01)
WARD:
WLDR (05/04/07-04/03/08)
WWKK (12/8/99-5/04/07)
WJNL (12/20/96-12/8/99)
Owner Fort Bend Broadcasting
Website http://www.wldr.com/
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n749rh@att.blackberry.net  n749rh@gmail.com

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n749rh@att.blackberry.net  n749rh@gmail.com country 101.9 FM HD radio Dave and Cleetus mornings weekdays"/>

Roy E. Henderson, Michigan Radio

Also known as Great Northern Broadcasting System and Fort Bend Broadcasting

Michigan station count: 5

Web site:

E-mail/phone:

 

FM Radio:

Freq Call     City Format Parent HD More
92.3  WOUF    Beulah Country   info
99.3  WBNZ    Frankfort Adult Contemporary   info
100.1  WCUZ    Manistee Country   info
101.9  WLDR    Traverse City Country   HD info

 

AM Radio:

Freq Call     City Format More
750  WARD    Petoskey Country info

 

Notes/History:

12/2008: WLDR becomes first northern Michigan station to offer HD broadcasts, adding a smooth jazz format on HD2 and sports on HD3 streams.

12/2007: WOUF Beulah changes frequency from 92.1 to 92.3

8/2007: FCC approves the sale of WBNZ-FM 99.3 Frankfort to Kalil Holding Group. Roy Henderson later becomes owner of WBNZ once again.

4/2007: FCC approves swap of AM 1210 and AM 750 between Stone and Fort Bend.

2/2007: Announced that Stone Communications will be swapping AM 750 Petoskey along with $244,000 to Fort Bend Broadcasting in exchange for AM 1210 Kingsley/Traverse City. The format of AM 1210 will become talk, simulcasting WJML AM 1110 Petoskey while AM 750 will become a simulcast of Fort Bend's Country WLDR-FM 101.9.1/2004: Construction permit for WTCU FM 95.9 Fife Lake is forfeited to FCC after it was determined by the Commission that misrepresentations were made regarding the facilit8/2001: FCC approves acquisition of WBNZ-FM 99.3 Frankfort

7/20pplication filed with FCC for transfer of construction permit for WSAG-FM 104.1 Pinconning from Russell J. LaFave to Fort Bend. Agreed sale price was $250,000 but deal later falls through.

5/10/2001: FCC approves sale of WJZZ-AM 1210 Kingsley (now WLDR) from Radio One

3/2001: 92.1 Beulah (now WOUF) and 100.1 Bear Lake (now WCUZ) return to the air- 92.1 simulcasting 101.9 Traverse City (WLDR), 100.1 simulcasting 99.3 Frankfort (WBNZ)

3/2001: Announced that WBNZ-FM 99.3 Frankfort is being purchased from Crystal Clear Communications

2/2001: Announced that WJZZ-AM (now WLDR) 1210 Kingsley is being purchased for $225,000 from Radio One

1/2001: Announced that WLDR-FM 101.9 Traverse City is being purchased for $3.6 million from Donald Witala

9/27/2000: FCC approves sale of WSRQ and WRSI from D & B Broadcasting

8/2000: 100.1 Bear Lake (then WSRQ) and 92.1 Beulah (then WSRI) from D & B Broadcasting to Fort Bend Broadcasting, pending FCC approval

4/2000: Fort Bend (as Fife Lake Broadcasting) granted consturction permit for 95.9 Fife Lake

3/1999: FCC approves transfer of 100.1 Bear Lake (then WZTU) and 92.1 Beulah (then WBVE) from Roger Hoppe II to D & B Broadcasting

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