Chris Elliott knows it’s not often that a radio frequency comes available to buy.
So when WAMU sought to sell its bluegrass country station last summer, Elliott, who is the brand manager at Manning Media, knew his company needed to pounce.
“The biggest hurdle is finding an available frequence,” Elliott said. “So when WAMU was selling its station, we jumped at it because it just doesn’t happen often.”
Thus, the company launched MAX Country in Frederick and Hagerstown on March 1. MAX Country plays on 93.5 FM in Frederick.
The station will specialize in the biggest country music hits of the 80s, 90s, and early 2000s, Elliott said.
“We think there’s a market for people who want to listen to this era of music,” Elliott said. “Right now, all of the radio stations either play classic country or new country. We think we’re taking the best of both worlds.”
Manning Media owns and operates four other broadcasting stations in the four-state region: 106.9 The Eagle, Key 103, 102.1 More FM and 98.9 FM/1490 AM WARK.
The Eagle, which plays classic hits, and Key 103, which specializes in hot adult contemporary music, were the second and third highest-rated radio stations in the Frederick market in fall 2016, according to Nielsen Radio Ratings. Aloha Station Trust operates 99.9 WFRE, which has received the highest Nielsen Ratings for the last two years.
In Fall 2016, WFRE had an 11.3 rating, five and a half points higher than Manning Media’s hot adult contemporary station.
“The market is loaded with radio stations,” Elliott said. “But we think there’s room for other stations.”
The music will be the same on both the Frederick and Hagerstown frequency. Elliott said the station will cover all of Frederick and might go as far as Mount Airy. However, the company is limited to how far their frequency can travel because of Federal Communications Commission regulations.
The station is operating from an FM translator in Braddock Heights. In February, it applied with the FCC for a minor change to the tower, which would increase the tower’s power. FCC documents show the request was granted on March 15.
“We’re excited for the station,” Elliott said. “We’re already in the Frederick and Hagerstown market so we know it well and we think this can do well.”
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