|Broadcast area|| Mid-Michigan|
|Frequency||1080 kHz C-QUAM AM Stereo|
|Translator(s)||103.1 W276CZ (Saginaw)|
|First air date||January 1, 1948|
|Power||1,000 watts (Daytime)
250 watts (W276CZ)
|Callsign meaning||Owosso Argus Press (original owner)|
(Birach Broadcasting Corporation)
WOAP (1080 AM) is a radio station broadcasting an Adult Hits format featuring popular music from the 1960s to the present day. Licensed to Owosso, Michigan, it first began broadcasting in 1948. The station's 1,000-watt signal reaches outlying areas of the Flint, Saginaw/Bay City and Lansing markets and carries beyond westward almost to Grand Rapids, southward to Ann Arbor, and eastward into the Thumb area. While the station is licensed to operate during daylight hours only, it streams its programming over the Internet around the clock. WOAP also operates a 250-watt FM translator which simulcasts WOAP and broadcasts 24 hours a day to the immediate Owosso and Corunna areas. (Although licensed to Saginaw, the translator's signal does not reach Saginaw.)
WOAP was founded as an AM/FM combo station by the local Argus-Press newspaper. The call letters stand for Owosso Argus-Press. As the AM station was, and still is, a daytime-only station, the FM station was intended to provide full-time service to the Owosso area. But at that time, there were very few FM radios so WOAP-FM went silent by 1953. A decade later, there were enough FM radios in circulation to allow WOAP-FM to return to the air on December 2, 1965.
Because the Argus-Press monopolized media in the Owosso area at that time with its daily newspaper and two radio stations, the Federal Communications Commission forced the Argus-Press to sell the radio stations in 1987.
The FM station was later known as WMZX and is known today as WRSR. In the late 1990s, the Michigan Radio Group sold both stations. Connoisseur Communications then assumed ownership of both, turning WMZX into a more regional station serving the Flint area while still licensed to Owosso (the station is now part of Cumulus Broadcasting's Flint cluster). WOAP adopted an adult standards music format in 1995 after WFDF 910 AM dropped the format in favor of talk. The weaker WOAP, with its daytime-only signal, was then sold the following year to Hartman Broadcasting, which continued to operate WOAP as a local service, retaining the standards format and imaging it as Great American Classics.
Less than two years later, Hartman Broadcasting sold WOAP to 1090 Investments, which immediately applied to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for a construction permit to move the station's operations to Waverly, located in Lansing's suburbs. The move would allow WOAP to increase its daytime power to 50,000 watts and add nighttime power authorization at 4500 watts. Three years after the application was received, the FCC chose to dismiss the application, presumably under the likelihood that granting the station nighttime power would cause interference to WTIC in Hartford, Connecticut and KRLD in Dallas, Texas; also broadcasting on this same frequency.
In January 2006, WOAP dropped its full-service news/talk format and adopted Catholic-based Religious programming. Three months later, 1090 Investments requested a Special Temporary Authority (STA) for silent station from the FCC, citing financial difficulties. The station remained off the air for almost a year. Four months after going dark, the station applied for reinstatement to move its facilities to Waverly and increase its daytime power, but withdrew its application for nighttime power. However, 1090 Investments pleaded for the FCC in its engineering presentation to be considered for nighttime power again, citing that denying Waverly local radio service in favor of a Connecticut station that had no local presence in Michigan would hurt its attempts to serve its community in an adequate fashion.
In March 2007, WOAP was granted permission to move from Owosso to Waverly and increase its power with a six-tower directional antenna system to be built in Ingham County, about 20 miles south of Lansing. The station also returned to the air with a simulcast of affiliate station WCAR in Livonia. Despite the good news, WOAP again applied for a silent STA, going dark again on July 20, 2007.
WOAP applied for an extension to their silent STA on January 8, 2008, citing ongoing financial difficulties. The request was granted on February 25, 2008. The STA extension expired on July 21, 2008. The station returned to the air in mid-July 2008 simulcasting co-owned WCAR, but fell silent once again on August 18, 2008.
On July 21, 2008 (the day that WOAP's STA extension was set to expire), local webcaster Mint City Radio launched WOAP Online, an internet-only radio station patterned after the old WOAP, but not associated with Michigan Catholic Radio. WOAP Online was programmed as a local radio station, featured music from the 1970s-90s, agricultural features, local announcements and old-time radio shows. WOAP Online has also featured coverage of local events, such as the Clinton County 4-H Youth Fair and Saint Johns Mint Festival (including coverage of the annual Mint Festival Parade).
In September 2008, the station again applied for permission to remain silent due to "ongoing financial problems". As of December 19, 2008, the FCC had not yet granted the STA permission. As a matter of general FCC policy, financial causes are not sufficient reason to remain silent and still retain the license - the reason must be something "beyond the control" of the licensee.
In May 2009, 1090 Investments sold its radio stations, including WOAP, to Birach Broadcasting Corporation. At that point, Mint City Radio dropped the WOAP moniker for its webcasts effective June 1.
When the new management entered the studios for the first time on July 18, they found that practically nothing worked and the roof leaked. They had to start from scratch to rebuild the station and had a deadline from the FCC of August 18 to get the station back on the air or lose their operating license.
The station returned to the air branded as The Big 1080 on August 14, 2009 with an oldies format from its Owosso studio location. As the station returned to the air, the master control studio was being rebuilt and the neon WOAP sign, which had not worked for several years, was being repaired. WOAP announced on the air that Birach Broadcasting abandoned plans to move the station to the Lansing area.
"The Big 1080" returned the traditional oldies format to a large chunk of mid-Michigan that had been without the format for some time, as the Lansing market no longer has an oldies station (with the closest things to an oldies station in that market being "America's Best Music" WXLA and classic hits WLMI) and WHNN, which serves the Tri-Cities and Flint, has moved to a classic hits sound and dropped many 1960s titles from its playlist. WOAP was also the only station serving the Flint market with a 1950s-1970s nostalgia-based format, as WFNT, which had been airing Citadel Media's Timeless Favorites format, changed to a News/Talk format in February 2010. WOAP carries Spartan Nation Radio which covers Michigan State University athletics weeknights from 6 to 9. The station began 24-hour streaming audio on the World Wide Web in September 2010. Weekend programming included two syndicated programs, Dick Clark 's ''Rock, Roll & Remember and Dick Bartley's Classic Countdown. Also included in the weekend lineup was a Sunday morning church service and a local Polka program. Spanish language and music programming was later added to weekend afternoons.
On April 10, 2012, Birach sold WOAP and WMJH AM 810 in Grand Rapids to Cano’s Broadcasting Company, pending FCC approval. Total combined sale for both stations was $1.1-million in the form of a promissory note. However, as of October 2015, no record had yet been filed with the FCC that the sale had been consummated, and the station's license was renewed to Birach on April 9, 2015.
No changes are planned according to WOAP management. WOAP General Manager, Tony Burkhead, who assumed control of WOAP in 2011, has started to progress the stations formatics and positioning. WOAP continued to carry Oldies with sports talk show "Spartan Nation Radio" hosted by Hondo Carpenter. As of March 14, 2013, the FCC's AM station database does not show any construction permits for WOAP.
After three weeks of stunting with music of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s each week, WOAP re-launched as "Super Hits 10-8-O" at the beginning of March 2013. The oldies format at that time evolved into more of a classic hits/oldies hybrid, with more 1980s music added into rotation.
On July 1, 2013, the station changed to a Spanish language format full time.
After this flip, much of the format and presentation was moved onto WMJH, effectively resulting in a format swap between the two stations.
On February 2, 2015 at the station's sign-on the Spanish format was dropped and replaced with its former Super Hits format, this time with more of an emphasis on 1980s' and 1990s' music. In addition the station now plays some current Adult Contemporary hits as well as some non-crossover Country titles.
- Michiguide.com - WOAP History
- WOAP Online - Lansing State Journal
- FCC Memorandum Opinion And Order granting WOAP night time operation
- The O Online
- Query the FCC's AM station database for WOAP
- Radio-Locator Information on WOAP
- Query Nielsen Audio's AM station database for WOAP
- Query the FCC's FM station database for W276CZ
- Radio-Locator information on W276CZ