The “timeless and memorable music” of 87.7 Me-TV FM is going national, Chicago-based owner Weigel Broadcasting announced Thursday.
Launched in 2015 on a low-power leased signal at WRME LP 87.7 and immediately embraced by a large and loyal audience of baby boomers, the station has signed with Cleveland-based Envision Networks to syndicate the soft rock/oldies format under the Me-TV FM brand in cities across the country.
The syndicated version will be programmed by Weigel Broadcasting from its studios at 26 North Halsted Street in Chicago.
Targeting an underserved audience of “hipsters, hippies, boomers and beyond,” Me-TV FM showcases such artists as Billy Joel, Carole King, Aretha Franklin, Elton John, The Carpenters, Diana Ross and The Supremes, Simon and Garfunkel, Chicago, Hall and Oates, The Four Seasons, and The Eagles. Many of the songs on its 3,000-plus playlist haven’t been heard on the radio in decades.
The radio station is a spinoff of Weigel Broadcasting’s Me-TV (Memorable Entertainment Television), the digital classic television network covering 98 of the top 100 markets in the United States.
“Me-TV FM’s music format has broken many of the radio rules in terms of presentation, depth of playlist and mixing of genres,” said Neal Sabin, vice chairman of Weigel Broadcasting and the creator of Me-TV among other networks for the company. “Using a challenging dial position in one of the most competitive radio markets in the country, we have proven the validity and viability of the format. We look forward to working with Envision to bring Me-TV FM to many more places.”
In the latest Nielsen Audio survey, Me-TV FM ranked 14th among all Chicago radio stations with a 2.7 percent share. Despite an inferior signal on a frequency some radios can’t even reach, it tied with CBS Radio classic hits WJMK FM 104.3 and Cumulus Media classic hits WLS FM 94.7. At its peak, Me-TV FM registered a cumulative weekly audience of 756,000 listeners in the Chicago area.
“Me-TV FM provides the best experience for radio stations to offer their listeners,” said Danno Wolkoff, president and CEO of Envision Networks, billed as the largest independently owned affiliate relations company in the country.
“The format supplies the broadest musical choice in the crowded variety music arena and most of all it is fun for the baby boomers. With promotional tie-ins to the Me-TV network or local affiliates in their markets, radio affiliates will be able to cross-promote and drive listeners directly to their station, as well as back to the TV affiliate, making this a ‘win-win.’”
Me-TV FM broadcasts over a low-power analog station on VHF TV channel 6. Under a local marketing agreement, Weigel Broadcasting leases the signal from Venture Technologies Group.
A model of efficiency, Me-TV FM operates with minimal overhead, forgoing on-air personalities and outsourcing news reports to Tribune Broadcasting news/talk WGN AM 720. Chicago radio veteran Rick O’Dell serves as program director, and production wizard Bill Cochran recently joined as radio image director.