All-time country music favorites from artists such as Randy Travis and Ronnie Milsap have just been trumped by the political musings of Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.
The move also results in the disappearance of a legendary Music City air personality, some 16 months after his “return” by way of classic bits aired in morning drive, on this iHeartMedia FM translator covering much of Nashville.
The nation’s No. 1 owner of AM and FM radio stations on Friday (9/21) decided to pull the plug on the two-year-old Classic Country presentation branded as “The Big Legend 98.3” — heard on W252CM in Nashville.
In its place is an FM simulcast of iHeart News/Talk WLAC-AM 1510, a 50kw Class A using 1 daytime tower and 3 towers at night for a directional signal that gives WLAC a full-market signal.
However, modern technology calls for an FM presence, and “AM revitalization” is a major push of FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. Even though WLAC’s nighttime signal reaches South Florida, getting a spot on Nashville’s ever-more crowded FM dial has proven to be a necessity for future growth.
Now, W252CM will simulcast WLAC, rather than WSIX-FM 97.9 HD2 — which is also taking WLAC’s programming. The translator is best heard across the southern portions of the Nashville area, including Williamson County and the Franklin area.
With the addition of 98.3 MHz, The Tennessee Star Report expands to 5am-8am; it is the lone locally produced program on the WLAC weekday lineup, which also includes The Dave Ramsey Show from 5pm-8pm. Steve Gill will host the Tennessee Star Report weekday mornings with Michael Patrick Leahy, Executive Editor of the local conservative-leaning online news publication. This marks Gill’s third tenure in morning drive at WLAC.
WLAC is also the home for Vanderbilt University football and men’s basketball games.
What’s the future for The Big Legend? “Scooter,” the Asst. PD for WLAC, tells RBR+TVBR it will continue on the HD3 signal of WSIX-FM.
The Big Legend is largely automated; from 6am-10am, it airs “flashbacks” from archived programs hosted by Gerry House during his time at Country WSIX-FM. House has had a presence on The Big Legend since May 2017, with classic moments interspersed with new commentary from House and on-air companion Mike Bohan.
WSIX retired in 2010 after 26 non-consecutive years hosting the morning show; in 1985 House jumped to rival WSM-AM 650. His ties to WSIX date back to 1975, when the station was on AM 980.
The Big Legend failed to place in the most recent PPM-based Nielsen Audio ratings for Nashville, ranked No. 43. WLAC-AM had a 0.8 share, 6+, and has regularly lagged Cumulus Media’s Talk WWTN-FM 99.7, which had a 3.8 share, 6+. WWTN airs locally based hosts during key dayparts.