|Broadcast area||New Orleans, Louisiana|
|Branding||Nash FM 106.1|
|First air date||1991|
|HAAT||201 meters (659 ft)|
|Callsign meaning||"RocK Ninety Two Three" (former format for the current WZRH)|
WJOJ-FM (1982-1984, CP)|
WRMH (1984-1989, CP)
Cumulus Media |
(Radio License Holding CBC, LLC)
|Sister stations||KKND, KMEZ, WZRH|
WRKN (106.1 FM, "Nash FM 106.1") is a country music-formatted radio station serving the New Orleans area. The Cumulus Media outlet broadcasts at 106.1 MHz with an ERP of 28 kW, and is licensed to Picayune, Mississippi. Its studios are located at the Place St. Charles building in Downtown New Orleans and the transmitter site is outside Covington, Louisiana.
The station signed on in 1991 as WZRH with a Top 40/Rock format as "Z 106.1, New Orleans' Untamed Radio." However, this station is most remembered for what it became in 1992: 106.1 the Zephyr with an edgy, alternative rock format.
"The Zephyr" was the first true commercial alternative station in the New Orleans area, and had quite a following. Kenny Vest was the station's Program Director and Christian Unruh was the first Music Director; Scot Fox, Christian "West" Unruh, Grant Morris, Ross "The Ross Man" Shields, Michelle Hinch (Blake), Zach The Roll Model, Wolfgang, Denver Crabb, and Darren Gauthier were just some of the more recognizable DJ's at the station. The station hosted "Zephyrfest" for a number of years drawing in thousands of rock revelers to New Orleans' City Park. The station attained very respectable ratings and had a large impact on the local music scene in the nineties.
In 1996, "106.7 The End" was launched. This was the beginning of the end for The Zephyr, as The End cut into their ratings significantly. In 1997, the station was sold to Baton Rouge-based Guaranty Broadcasting. On May 12th of that year, the station was flipped to country as WKSY ("Kiss Country 106.1"). Christian Unruh, banned from the station along with the former staff when the format change was imminent, managed to enter the station an hour before Midnight and host the last hour, calling each of the former DJs and letting them each say their goodbyes. The last song played on The Zephyr was "Radio, Radio" by Elvis Costello.
In January 2001, the station flipped to adult contemporary as "Sunny 106.1". But after Citadel Broadcasting acquired the station in 2005, they would flip it to "Martini 106.1" on November 15 of that same year, along with the WMTI call letters. Originally, WMTI started with a hybrid Smooth Jazz/Adult Standards format, but would evolve back to its previous format by adopting a Soft AC direction in early 2007, putting them in direct competition with rival WLMG.
On January 2, 2012, WMTI changed their format to sports talk, branded as "The Ticket". Most of the station's programming came from CBS Sports Radio. The station had one local afternoon show, "The Sports Hangover", hosted by Gus Kattengell. The Ticket hung around for two years, but by the summer of 2015, ratings had dropped precipitously to a 0.7 Nielsen share (still trending up from a 0.0 in the Spring ratings.)
On August 26, 2015, WMTI abruptly dropped the sports format in the middle of "The Jim Rome Show" and began stunting with a loop of "It's The End Of The World As We Know It" by R.E.M. and "The Zephyr Song" by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, telling listeners to listen the following day at 3 PM. At that time, WMTI flipped back to alternative as "106.1 The Underground". The first song under the format was "Good" by Baton Rouge band Better Than Ezra. On September 3, 2015, WMTI changed their call letters to WZRH.
- "Cumulus now owns Citadel Broadcasting". Atlanta Business Journal. September 16, 2011. Retrieved September 16, 2011.
- "The Ticket Debuts In New Orleans". RadioInsight blog by Lance Venta. Retrieved January 2, 2012.
- WMTI Becomes Underground Alternative
- Cumulus Moves Alternative and Country in New Orleans Radioinsight - June 19, 2017
- Query the FCC's FM station database for WRKN
- Radio-Locator information on WRKN
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for WRKN