Text and photos by SCOTT FYBUSH
It’s a fairly brief Site of the Week this week, as we get back into the swing of things after our break for the NAB Show and some western travel that you’ll see fairly soon in this space.
This installment wraps up our 2015 touring, and it does so, once again, in our adopted second home of northern Indiana. About 45 minutes west of Fort Wayne, US 30 brings us to the small city of Warsaw, home to about 14,000 people and a booming economy based on the orthopedics industry.
Commercial radio here is concentrated in this building on West Market Street, home to “Lake City Rock” WRSW-FM (107.3 Warsaw), “News Now” WRSW (1480 Warsaw, plus a translator at 99.7) and “Willie” country WAWC (103.5 Syracuse).
These stations are owned by Talking Stick Communications, which shares Dille family ties with the big Federated Media clusters to the east in Fort Wayne and the northwest in South Bend/Elkhart.
WRSW-FM gets pride of place in the streetfront studio right off the lobby; “Willie” has a spacious studio toward the rear of the building behind the sales office cubicles and across the hall from the rack room.
“News Now,” which comes from a studio next to the rack room, is an interesting product, mostly automated but still with a fair amount of local news content, especially for a small market like Kosciusko County.
And there’s more interesting radio to be heard here, too, thanks to our friend Brian Walsh and his unusual local broadcasting ventures.
We first caught up with Brian a few years back when he put WIOE-LP (98.3) on the air from a studio at his house, mixing oldies with programming produced by high school broadcasting students and remotes from the old WOWO Sunshine Studio mobile unit. In 2015, Brian acquired a silent full-power FM, WMYQ (101.1), in nearby South Whitley – and by the time we visited at year’s end, 101.1 had the WIOE calls as “Oldies 101,” while the former WIOE-LP had become WLQZ-LP. (It also moved from 98.3 to 93.9 to make room for a new full-power signal to the west in Culver, WYMR.)
The LPFM transmitter is in a back room at a building Brian owns on North Detroit Street (IN 15) near Center Lake north of downtown; in front, Brian was building out offices and a full-fledged studio when we visited.
The 101.1 class A site is southeast of Warsaw near Sidney, Indiana, at the same place it’s been since 101.1 signed on the air in the early 1990s. Inside, Brian was working on upgrades to the venerable McMartin and Energy-Onix boxes he inherited when he bought the station…which means we’ll have to swing by again this summer for an updated visit!
Thanks to WIOE/WLQZ’s Brian Walsh and the staff at Talking Stick/Warsaw for the tours!
We have a great lineup of podcasts here on our site. While you’re catching up with your summer reading, don’t forget about your summer listening. Now is the time to make sure you’re up to date with Top of the Tower.
Our latest one features Donna Halper discussing her life in radio, from her time at WMMS when she helped Rush get US airplay, to what she learned from Arnie “Woo Woo” Ginsburg.
Don’t forget you can still visit our store to check out our other great products. We’ll be taking preorders for the 2021 calendar soon. Stay tuned!
And don’t miss a big batch of Indiana IDs next Wednesday, over at our sister site, TopHour.com!
Next week: More upstate New York updates