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WTOP Moves in Major Radio Shake-up

WTOP, the area’s all-news station, will be moving to 103.5 FM as of today as part of a major radio shake-up, owner Bonneville International announced today.

In addition, WTOP is pairing with the Washington Post to launch a new station broadcast on 1500 AM and 107.7 FM starting in late March. According to Bonneville, which will own the new operation too, “Washington Post Radio’s programming will include in-depth local, national and international news and commentary provided by Washington Post reporters, editors, and columnists as well as news makers and other local media personalities. Bonneville will also pursue play-by-play sports for evening and weekend broadcasts on Washington Post Radio.”

Additionally, classical station WGMS will move to 104.1/103.9 FM replacing the modern rock station Z104, and the group will begin broadcasting two new classical stations in HD Radio.

Full press release after the jump.


Bonneville Whets Appetite of News, Sports
and Information Hungry Washington

WTOP Moves to FM Dial

Washington Post Radio to Debut in Spring

Two New Classical Stations Broadcast Using HD Radio(tm) Technology

Washington, D.C. – Bonneville International, a diversified media company, today announced a series of changes to better serve the news, information and music interests of radio listeners in the Washington, D.C. community.

“These exciting changes will help us meet the growing needs of the Washington community for news, information, music and emergency services,” said Bruce Reese, president and CEO of Bonneville International Corporation. “We are strengthening the reach and clarity of WTOP, working with The Washington Post to broadcast a new diverse radio format, and building on the proud legacy of classical music in Washington.”

Bonneville’s flagship, 24-hour news radio station WTOP, will significantly expand its reach and penetration by moving to 103.5 FM.

“WTOP has been the source for news and information in emergencies like the 9/11 terrorist attacks as well as threatening weather, school closings, and traffic for the community,” according to Joel Oxley, Bonneville’s senior vice president. “At 103.5 on the FM dial, listeners will get better reception. They will hear WTOP in their homes and offices throughout the region. It will also strengthen the signal in cars driving in the downtown area.”

Taking WTOP’s former real estate on the radio dial will be Washington Post Radio. It will be broadcast on 1500 AM and 107.7 FM starting in late March 2006. WTOP invited The Washington Post to provide content for the new station. The collaboration will mark the first time that these two leading providers of news and information in Washington, D.C. will work together on a major initiative.

Bonneville will own and operate both WTOP and Washington Post Radio. Washington Post Radio’s programming will include in-depth local, national and international news and commentary provided by Washington Post reporters, editors, and columnists as well as news makers and other local media personalities. Bonneville will also pursue play-by-play sports for evening and weekend broadcasts on Washington Post Radio.

“Our venture with The Washington Post will add a new dimension to radio in Washington,” Reese said. “It will be smart, savvy, provocative, and thoughtful. News hungry Washington is the best town for this new format.”

Classical station WGMS will move to 104.1/103.9 FM replacing modern rock station Z104. In addition, Bonneville has launched two new classical stations that will be broadcast digitally using HD Radio(tm) technology. One station will play traditional classical music like that played on WGMS but will feature more in-depth programming. The other will be an on-air broadcast of the Web-based opera and choral music station, Viva La Voce. These additional channels will provide even more opportunity for classical music enthusiasts to hear the music they love.

“Listeners will be able to enjoy CD-quality broadcasts of their favorite symphonies, concertos, chamber music, and operas with the addition of a receiver with HD Radio(tm) technology to their car, office or home entertainment systems,” Oxley said. “And in tech savvy Washington, listeners will also be able to stream WGMS and Viva La Voce right to their desks and homes over the Internet.”

WGMS’ move to 104.1/103.9 FM will take place immediately. Until the launch of Washington Post Radio, WTOP will be simulcast on 103.5 FM and 1500 AM and 107.7 FM.

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