99.1 FM goes country; Extra moves down to 92.1

99.1 FM goes country; Extra moves down to 92.1

CHAMPAIGN – Classic rock gave way to classic country this week as WXTT Extra 99.1 surrendered its spot on the FM dial to WIXY Classic.

The new station, WIXY Classic, plays country music from the 1970s to the early 1990s, in contrast to WIXY 100.3 FM, which plays country music from the late 1990s to today.

Meanwhile, classic rock station Extra has moved to a new spot on the dial, 92.1 FM, where it retains the same format, said Alan Beck, general manager for Saga Communications' Illini Radio Group.

"Our area research showed there's a giant hole for a classic country music radio station," Beck said. "It also showed the region's ag community is clamoring for ag news, markets and information on a big-signal FM station."

That's why the Illini Radio Group elected to put WIXY Classic at 99.1, where it can operate at 50,000 watts, while moving Extra to the lower-power position at 92.1, he said.

Beginning Jan. 18, Jerry Morefield will host WIXY Classic's morning show, "Morefield in the Morning," from 5 to 9 a.m. Full-time farm director Gale Cunningham will provide farm reports throughout the day, Beck said.

"The rest of the staffing is still being set," he added.

Beck said the radio group began testing the classic country format about four months ago at 92.1 FM. On Monday, that format traded places on the dial with Extra.

Illini Radio Group's current lineup:

– WIXY 100.3 FM (contemporary country).

– WIXY Classic 99.1 FM (classic country).

– WLRW Mix 94.5 FM (hot adult contemporary).

– WCFF The Chief 92.5 FM (adult hits).

– WXTT Extra 92.1 FM (rock).

– True Oldies 97.9 FM (oldies).

The radio group has also launched some high-definition radio stations, the signals of which can be picked up only on high-definition radios. WIXY HD 2 carries the digital version of the Extra station, while WLRW HD 2 carries the digital version of True Oldies 97.9.

With the onset of digital broadcasting, every radio station will be able to transmit three different signals in the same space it used to broadcast one signal, Beck said. At this point, however, the Illini Radio Group has not begun to use the third spot for any of its stations.

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