|City||WQEZ: Glen Arbor, Michigan
WOEZ: Onaway, Michigan
|Broadcast area||WQEZ: Traverse City
|Branding||Easy 95-5; Easy 106-3|
|Slogan||Continuous Soft Favorites|
|Frequency||WQEZ: 95.5 MHz
WOEZ: 106.3 MHz
|Translator(s)||98.1 W251AD (Alpena)|
|First air date||WQEZ: 1997 (as WJZJ)
WOEZ: 2011 (as WYPV)
|ERP||WQEZ: 21,000 watts
WOEZ: 31,000 watts
|HAAT||WQEZ: 225 meters
WOEZ: 191 meters
|Facility ID||WQEZ: 15631
|Callsign meaning||EZ = "Easy"|
|Owner||Black Diamond Broadcasting|
|Sister stations||WCBY, WCHY, WGFM, WGFN, WMKC, WTWS, WUPS|
The same format, with separate imaging, is heard on WOEZ 106.3 FM, licensed to Onaway, Michigan, imaged as "Easy 106-3." The two stations air the same musical format with the same songs in the same order (with a slight delay), but are not simulcast, as station imaging, commercials, and weather forecasts are separate. ABC Entertainment Network news is featured at the top of each hour. WOEZ is also heard on translator 98.1 W251AD in Alpena.
WQEZ broadcasts a "super-soft" adult contemporary format (similar to that of WDUV in Tampa, Florida, or WFEZ in Miami, Florida) to northwestern lower Michigan. Typical artists include Barbra Streisand, Barry Manilow, Elvis Presley, Carpenters, Olivia Newton-John, Elton John, Celine Dion, and Kenny Rogers among others, with a small scattering of more contemporary AC hits from artists like Adele, Colbie Caillat, and Lady Antebellum. WQEZ's signal serves primarily the immediate Traverse City area and carries across the waters of Lake Michigan, and can frequently be heard in Manitowoc, Wisconsin and the eastern shoreline of Door County, Wisconsin. 106.3 WOEZ's signal covers the northern tip of the lower peninsula and much of eastern Upper Michigan.
95.5 FM history
In 1989, David C. Schaberg applied for a construction permit on 95.5 FM in Glen Arbor, and the station was known as WTHM. Schaberg sold the permit to Del Reynolds in 1997, where he changed the call letters to WJZJ and put it on the air as a simulcast of WLJZ 94.5 in Mackinaw City, Michigan, which played a satellite-delivered smooth jazz format as "Coast FM". WJZJ, along with WAVC 93.9 in Mio and WLJZ, launched The Zone, Northern Michigan's Modern Rock, in 1998, replacing Coast FM after having been sold from Del Reynolds to Northern Star Broadcasting.
The Zone was originally adult-leaning, whose core artists included Jewel, Paula Cole, Alanis Morissette, Barenaked Ladies, Sheryl Crow, and Goo Goo Dolls. In its early years, The Zone could be more accurately described as a Modern Adult Contemporary station, and the station, which positioned itself as "Modern Rock" even while it continued to play primarily adult alternative and Hot AC crossover material, received criticism from fans of harder rock for not including harder-edged artists such as KoRn and Limp Bizkit, whose music was rarely played on classic rock-leaning rival WKLT. It was not until 2000 that "The Zone" became a true "modern rock" radio station. The Zone's revamped "modern rock" format borrowed from both "alternative" and "active" rock formats.
After the format change, ratings improved dramatically, but once again soon fell, partially due to a translator station launched on 95.5 in Boyne City, Michigan, only slightly outside 95.5 Glen Arbor's protected signal contour. The Boyne City station relayed Classic Hits-formatted competitor "The Fox" (WFCX-FM 94.3/WFDX-FM 92.5). However, the "Fox" translator moved down to 95.3 FM in December 2006 (and has since moved to 100.5 FM), alleviating some of the interference to WJZJ in its northern fringe coverage.
WAVC dropped out of The Zone's simulcast in 2000, choosing to simulcast the country station WMKC (102.9 FM, St. Ignace, "Big Country 102.9 & 93.9"). It now simulcasts 98.1 WGFN as part of "The Bear" classic rock network.
On June 5, 2006, the station became an affiliate of Waitt Radio Networks' now-defunct "Alternative Now" format. As a result, the only live and local program the station carried was its morning show, "The Morning Freakshow" hosted by Cartman, Homeless Jake, and Mizz Christal.
On June 26, WJZJ became the sole carrier of The Zone as WLJZ broke the simulcast to switch to Hot AC. After less than two years, it switched to classic country. Since April 2010, WAVC and WLJZ simulcast "Bear" classic rock programming.
On December 28, 2007, the station began broadcasting out of their Traverse City, Michigan studios.
On September 14, 2009, the station began carrying The Free Beer and Hot Wings Show. It was also on that day when they started simulcasting with WGFM 105.1 Cheboygan as Real Rock 105.1/95.5, airing a mix of The Zone's harder rock artists such as KoRn, Metallica and Alice in Chains with harder classic rockers such as Aerosmith, Ozzy Osbourne and Van Halen. 105.1 carried Bob and Tom due to the duo's ratings in the upper northern Michigan region until August 2, 2010, when The Free Beer And Hot Wings Show replaced it on 105.1 as well.
On March 25, 2013, the station announced that they had canceled Free Beer and Hot Wings. Station staff claimed that a satellite issue caused them to cancel the show earlier than expected as the station announced that they were making changes. The station's listeners took to Facebook with their complaints and staffers had been responding that it was management's decision to move on and not theirs. The morning show had a huge following in northern Michigan, even doing their show live from the historic State Theatre in Traverse City to a sold-out crowd. This led to speculation that Real Rock would be changing format; around Christmas 2012, the station was playing an abundance of classic rock artists not normally heard on the station, such as Styx, Jefferson Starship and Boston. However, by early March, the station had reverted to a more-modern rock format, but current rock tracks had disappeared from the station. The format change rumors came to fruition on April 1, 2013, with WJZJ's change to WQEZ and 105.1 FM continuing a standalone mainstream rock format as "Rock 105."
106.3 FM history
In June 2011, broadcast veteran Del Reynolds applied to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for a construction permit for a new broadcast radio station. The FCC granted this permit on August 8, 2011, with a scheduled expiration date of August 8, 2014. The new station was assigned call sign "WQEZ" on August 16, 2011.
After construction and testing were completed, the station began broadcasting on November 5, 2011, with a Christmas music format, stunting as "Santa 97-7". The station was granted its broadcast license on December 6, 2011. On December 26, 2011, the station debuted its regular soft adult contemporary music format, branded as "Easy 97-7".
On April 1, 2013, WQEZ swapped call letters with WJZJ 95.5 FM, and the two stations began mirroring the "Easy" format, displacing 95.5 FM's former "Real Rock" format.
On May 20, 2013 WOEZ moved to 106.3 FM licensed to Onaway, Michigan, which had previously been WYPV with a conservative/Christian talk format. (The 106.3 frequency had tested with Christmas music during the summer of 2012 prior to commencing regular programming.) The WYPV calls and talk format are now on 94.5 FM in Mackinaw City, which had been the former home for "The Bear" simulcast. The Bear is now on 97.7, which has since changed calls again to WCHY. WOEZ is also heard on 98.1 W251AD in Alpena.
- "Station Information Profile". Arbitron. Retrieved February 22, 2012.
- "Application Search Details (BNPH-20110613ABM)". FCC Media Bureau. August 8, 2011. Retrieved February 22, 2012.
- "Call Sign History". CDBS Public Access Database. Federal Communications Commission Media Bureau. Retrieved February 22, 2012.
- "97.7 FM Cheboygan signs on as 'Santa 97.7'". Michigan's Radio & TV Broadcast Guide. November 6, 2011. Retrieved February 22, 2012.
- "Application Search Details (BLH-20111108AHH)". FCC Media Bureau. December 6, 2011. Retrieved February 22, 2012.
- "Northern Lower Peninsula gets new soft rock station". Michigan's Radio & TV Broadcast Guide. December 29, 2011. Retrieved February 22, 2012.