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Grant Co. Broadcasters Launches New Format on 105.9 FM

The wait is over and we now know what Grant County Broadcasters will be playing on its new 105.9 frequency.

The company behind the successful Classic Country format on 106.7 FM in Dry Ridge is expanding on that model with its newly acquired Middletown, Oh.-based station.

105.9 will also be classic country, the company announced Monday. It debuted in the early morning hours with morning host Larry B., who has hosted mornings on 106.7 for 19 years. He was previously on-air at 105.9 when it broadcast country music as The Rebel.

105.9 was purchased by WNKU in that station's attempt to expand its reach beyond its 89.7 frequency. Northern Kentucky University opted to sell off the station's assets, including all its frequencies after years of losing money on it. 105.9 was the last frequency upon which WNKU was heard as it went off the air for good on Thursday.

Grant County Broadcasters announced its plan to purchase the station in JulyThe River City News profiled the company and how it planned to grow its presence in the local media market after adding the new frequency.

RCN founder and publisher Michael Monks was then brought in to host WNKR's Sunday morning public affairs program, Northern Kentucky Focus, and was ultimately named news director for both stations. He broadcasts news from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. on WNKR 106.7 and WNKN 105.9 weekday mornings.

The stations also added Gina Matthews to host mid-day.

The new signal reaches from north of Dayton, OH to south of Florence, KY.

Both stations play Classic Country music from the 60s to 2007, primarily focused on the 1990s.  

“Our listeners are people who love pure country music. “Today’s country music has evolved to include elements of rap and harder rock music,” said Peter Z, vice president of programming. “There’s an audience for that and there are several radio stations serving that up. Our goal is to satisfy the pure country listener with the likes of Alan Jackson, George Strait, The Judds, Reba, Clint Black and more.”

Jeff Ziesmann, owner and CEO of the stations said that he has long believed that the only thing he could do to improve on WNKR is to put it on a bigger signal where more people could enjoy it. “Between 105.9 and 106.7, we’ve increased our reach substantially,” he said.

In addition to Larry B in mornings and Gina Matthews midday, Peter Z will cover the afternoon drive home.  

Joining current staffers Jay Anthony and Tomcat Michaels on weekends will be Tim Closson, a member of the Country Music Broadcasters Hall of Fame, who has years of success programming country radio in Cincinnati.

-Staff report