WGTO unveils ‘FM surprise’Published 8:05am Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Langford Broadcasting’s WGTO radio in Dowagiac has dramatically improved its signal.
For months the AM station has been running announcements it would pull a radio “rabbit” out of its hat in answer to years of complaints about AM static and low power at night.
Station owner Larry Langford said, “We have been pushing for an FM frequency for well over 10 years, but the battle finally turned our way with the Federal Communications Commission relaxing some of its rules on new FM stations.
“Recent regulation changes allow AM stations to use available frequencies to fill in areas of poor AM coverage. WGTO was able to secure an FM frequency assigned to Wakelee, Mich., and move it to the WGTO transmit site between Dowagiac and Cassopolis.”
Several months ago WGTO announced it had received permission to raise its AM power to 6,000 watts.
Langford said Oct. 30 that plan is still on the table, but he opted to go to FM right away for the most noticeable improvement – especially at night.
At 9:30 a.m. Friday, listeners were invited to tune in and see what the mystery was all about.
Langford joined morning man Jonathan ” Wildman” Wildes to introduce the new frequency of 101.1 FM as they turned on the new transmitter and told listener to push the FM button and set the dial to 101.
The new signal comes from an antenna located at the top of a 275-foot tower on N. O’Keefe Road and covers Dowagiac, Cassopolis and the surrounding areas.
Langford says he’s looking for other FM frequencies to install to get more coverage toward South Bend, Ind., and Niles.
It is hoped the improved FM signal will mean more advertising dollars for WGTO and a much better platform for Chieftain sports coverage.
Langford Broadcasting is now on the lookout for another FM frequency to put programming on from its other local station, WDOW 1440.
WGTO FM is the first new commercial FM station to be built in Cass County since 1970, when WDOW FM first went on air.
That signal has since been sold and is now WHPD (92.1).