WMAD

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WMAD
WMAD "96.3 Star Country"
City of licenseCross Plains, Wisconsin
Broadcast areaMadison and South Central Wisconsin
Branding96.3 Star Country
Slogan"Madison's Biggest Hits and Biggest Stars"
Frequency96.3 MHz FM
(also on HD Radio)
Format96.3: Country Music
96.3-HD2: The Nashville Channel
ERP5,100 watts
HAAT213 meters
ClassB1
Facility ID50055
Transmitter coordinates43° 12' 44.00" N
89° 35' 59.00" W
Callsign meaningLongtime MADison radio call sign (also for the station's previous “MAD Radio“ alternative format)
Former callsignsWVLR
WSEY (9/1987-11/1987)
WMLI (11/1987-6/1994 and 2/1996-3/2002)
WMXF (6/1994-2/1996)
WCJZ (3/2002-12/2003)
OwnerClear Channel Communications
(Capstar TX Limited Partnership)
Sister stationsWIBA (AM), WIBA-FM, WTSO, WXXM, WZEE
WebcastStar Country live stream
Nashville Channel live stream
WebsiteWMAD.com
 
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For the airport in Bentong, Pahang, Malaysia assigned the ICAO code WMAD, see Bentong Airport.
WMAD
WMAD "96.3 Star Country"
City of licenseCross Plains, Wisconsin
Broadcast areaMadison and South Central Wisconsin
Branding96.3 Star Country
Slogan"Madison's Biggest Hits and Biggest Stars"
Frequency96.3 MHz FM
(also on HD Radio)
Format96.3: Country Music
96.3-HD2: The Nashville Channel
ERP5,100 watts
HAAT213 meters
ClassB1
Facility ID50055
Transmitter coordinates43° 12' 44.00" N
89° 35' 59.00" W
Callsign meaningLongtime MADison radio call sign (also for the station's previous “MAD Radio“ alternative format)
Former callsignsWVLR
WSEY (9/1987-11/1987)
WMLI (11/1987-6/1994 and 2/1996-3/2002)
WMXF (6/1994-2/1996)
WCJZ (3/2002-12/2003)
OwnerClear Channel Communications
(Capstar TX Limited Partnership)
Sister stationsWIBA (AM), WIBA-FM, WTSO, WXXM, WZEE
WebcastStar Country live stream
Nashville Channel live stream
WebsiteWMAD.com

WMAD (96.3 Star Country) is a radio station serving the Madison, Wisconsin metropolitan area. The station is owned by Clear Channel Communications and has been running a country music format since December 23, 2005.

History[edit]

WMAD call sign history[edit]

The call letters WMAD originally were on AM 1550 and later simulcast with 106.3 WMAD-FM Middleton (Now WWQM). That version of WMAD started as a country format and remained country until 1977 when the call letters on 1550 were dropped (WWQM "15Q" oldies replaced country). WMAD-FM continued as WMAD-Middleton/Madison until early 1978 when the calls were dropped from 106.3. The WMAD calls would resurface in 1979 on the station at 92.1 FM (licensed to Sun Prairie and current home to WXXM).

Early 96.3 music history[edit]

The 96.3 FM frequency in Madison has had a varied format history. In the 70's the station was WVLR. In the mid 1990s the station played 70's music as Mix96.3 WMXF. Following this format, the station returned to a soft rock format as WMLI, which eventually morphed into adult contemporary “Star 96.3.” In March 2002, the station shifted to a smooth jazz format as "Smooth Jazz 96.3 WCJZ," filling a niche in the Madison market filled only by the “Magic Sunday Morning” smooth jazz program on WMGN (Magic 98).

"MAD Radio 96.3"[edit]

WCJZ and its smooth jazz format never made any inroads among Madison radio listeners, which led management to make another change in format. At 12 Noon on December 31, 2003, WCJZ began 6 hours stunting with a ticking clock and synthesized voice announcing station ID and jokes.[1] This stunting ended promptly at 6:00 PM that night, with an announcement heralding the return of the alternative rock-formatted “MAD Radio.”[2] Fourteen months earlier, Clear Channel replaced alternative rock on 92.1 WMAD in favor of a Hot AC station, “Mix 92.1.” Fans of that “MAD Radio” incarnation were left disappointed by the change. Acknowledging the outcry, management resurrected “MAD Radio” at the 96.3 frequency. With this change, the WMAD call letters were moved to 96.3, while 92.1 changed their call letters to WXXM.

Despite an early peak in interest from Madison radio listeners, the new “MAD Radio” did not build as strong a following as the old version had. An increase of older alternative hits in the playlist (highlighted by the “Sunday Morning Resurrection” program) and the addition of the syndicated Rover's Morning Glory failed to bump up the station's fortunes. With WMAD’s Arbitron ratings near the bottom of the Madison market, Clear Channel would make yet another change on the frequency, ending “MAD Radio 96.3” on the night of December 22, 2005,[3] after 2 hours of songs with a “goodbye” or "end" theme, ending with "Last Goodbye" by Jeff Buckley and the Jimi Hendrix version of “The Star Spangled Banner.” “MAD Radio” would resurface once again in 2007, airing a commercial-free alternative format on a HD Radio subchannel of sister station WIBA-FM.

"Star Country"[edit]

At 12AM on December 23, 2005, WMAD launched a new contemporary country format under the branding, “96.3 Star Country,” beginning with a montage of its liners and jingles followed by Gretchen Wilson'sAll Jacked Up," the first of 10,000 songs played without interruption for commercials or DJ’s on “Star Country.”[4]

Originally using the tag line "Now you have a choice," Clear Channel took an aggressive approach in promoting "Star Country" and in targeting the long-time country station in Madison, WWQM. The aggressiveness included luring away the WWQM morning team of John Flint and Tammy Lee, who would helm "Star Country's" morning shift from November 2006 until June 2011, when they departed for San Diego's KSON.[1] The following September, WMAD tapped Tracy Dixon and Mike Heller as their new morning team; Dixon came from Clear Channel-owned KMFX-FM in Rochester, Heller from sister sports station WTSO (where he continued as afternoon host). "Tracy & Mike" remained paired in mornings until they were replaced by the new Premiere Networks-syndicated Bobby Bones Show in February 2013.[2]

HD Radio[edit]

WMAD broadcasts a multiplexed HD Radio signal. The station's HD2 sidechannel originally aired a classic country format ("Star Country Classics") to compliment the contemporary country music heard on WMAD's main channel. "Star Country Classics" was dropped in Fall 2013 in favor of a succession of streams from Clear Channel's IHeartRadio platform, including "Global Citizen Radio" (variety hits), "Roots of Rock" (classic rock), and, since August 2014, the modern country-formatted "Nashville Channel."

References[edit]

  1. ^ "'John & Tammy' Sign Off In Madison," from WISC-TV/Channel 3000, 6/25/2011
  2. ^ "Clear Channel replaces local morning show," from WISC-TV, 2/25/2013

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 43°12′43″N 89°36′00″W / 43.212°N 89.600°W / 43.212; -89.600