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Despite rumors, Columbus’ CD101 stays put

Keep your fingers crossed that we’ve heard the last of the CD101 rumors.  As we originally mentioned three weeks ago, discussion of the demise of the independently-owned alternative station was fueled when noted a couple of curious domain name registrations by Christian broadcaster Salem Media.  Over the past few weeks, CD101 management posted a somewhat cryptic comment on the Columbus Underground Message Board and, as documented on RadioInsight’s thorough coverage of the story, content briefly appeared on one of the domains registered by Salem.

But, according to CD101, rumors of the station’s death were an exaggeration. Today, Randy Malloy, General Manager and President of CD101, told Columbus’ The Other Paper:

“I can say it until I’m blue in the face — we’re not going anywhere. We’re already booking shows and our normal events for the spring and summer, Big Room shows, and we’re already in talks for CD101 Day,” he said.

“Lesley James is the program director and Andyman’s protégé. Lesley will continue to program the station exceptionally,” said Malloy.

“We have no intention of changing the same format that we’ve stuck to for 21 years.”

Both RadioInsight and some commenters on the Message Boards noted that while CD101 and Southeastern Ohio Broadcasting are renewing their LMA agreement, the fact remains that WWCD Ltd. (formerly Fun With Radio, LLC, which, incidentally, is a name I’ll miss seeing when reading about CD101.  It’s radio’s whimsical equivalent to David Letterman’s Worldwide Pants) is still leasing the frequency from another organization.  But the fact of the matter remains that the CD101 brand isn’t going off the airwaves anytime soon.

I had the chance to visit Columbus this week and spent some time listening to CD101, which is rare for me since the station doesn’t stream online and I only make it to Columbus, at most, once or twice a year.  The station continues to sound unique and presents the left of- enter modern rock format in a way that’s accessible to a wide audience, as evidenced by a consistently solid showing in the Columbus ratings.  Personally, I think this is one the hardest traits to master for stations that don’t just play the commercial alternative hits.

During my time listening to CD101, I heard MC5’s “Kick Out The Jams,” (a song that, while recorded in 1969, sounded fresh next to tracks that are mere months old), new songs from CSS and M83 (two artists that, while critically-lauded, have failed to find widespread airplay on commercial radio) and a smattering of modern rock oldies usually reserved for “Flashback Weekends” or other branded programming (specifically great to hear was Edwyn Collins’ “A Girl Like You”).

CD101 is also the radio home for the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets.  When I attended the Blue Jackets game at Nationwide Arena on Tuesday night, it was a nice surprise to see CD101’s Ice Cream Truck parked outside the stadium. And, as a fan of both the station and independent radio in general, it was downright exciting to find CD101’s logo throughout the arena, accompanied by a full-page ad in the free program handed out to all spectators.

I truly hope CD101 can resume their online stream in the coming months; in the meantime, we can celebrate that an innovative, independent station continues to survive.

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