"Good afternoon. It's 3:03 on 103, WIQB Ann Arbor."
With words similar to those, Ann Arbor's newest radio station was inaugurated on Saturday, March 1st. Actually, the station is the latest incarnation of WNRZFM, once this community's most creative spot on the FM dial until the entire staff was thrown off the air by owner Thomas Boodell in April of 1973.
Now Jim Trayhern of Rochester, N.Y. is the new owner, with Stuart Goldberg, formerly of WCBN/WRCN Ann Arbor, as the new station manager. Stu and Trayhern have chosen to severely restrict the range of musical content and programming WIQB will offer, as is clearly evident from even a few hour's listening to 103.
The music on the station is tightly formatted, which means there is a specific playlist disc jockies must follow. The playlist is highly hit-oriented, and apparently specifies only particular cuts on albums which may be played. The result is yet another station on the dial where you can hear the same song several times daily, with a range of music largely restricted to the Top 100 of currently commercial music. In other words, you'll hear very few artifacts of the rich musical past (even jams of only 4 year ago), almost no jazz to speak of, and very little rhythm and blues. This is particularly unfortunate when you consider that r and b and jazz sell very well in Ann Arbor record stores.
Additionally, the disc jockies are mostly juke-box announcers. There is a paucity of relevant information even about the music being offered on the air. The only national news is the "Mutual Progressive" news, which features short takes on murders and catastrophes, one liners on significant national events with no in-depth reporting, all mixed in with ads for the likes of the Ladies Home Journal and hemorrhoid preparations. There is some local news and info, but not nearly enough.
To sum up, although it may be too early to tell for sure, it looks like WIQB will be a big disappointment to a community with far more sophisticated taste and intelligence than the station is catering to at present. With 5 better "programmed progressive" stations similar to it already on the dial, WIQB may very well fail to gain an audience if it continues to take this approach. For an in-depth account of the state of WIQB, it's past, present, and potential future, look to the SUN in weeks to come.