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MeTV enters Chicago’s FM Back Door at 87.7 FM

Channel surfing on cable or over-the-air TV you may have come across Bewitched, Columbo or other “classic” re-runs on a station that calls itself MeTV. This successful Chicago-based upstart network that airs its nostalgic programming on digital television subchannels across the country is dipping its toes into the radio pool.

Today MeTV parent company Weigel Broadcasting is taking over Chicago’s LPTV channel 6, which is better known for its audio frequency that bumps into the far left of the FM dial at 87.7 FM. The station has been on a wildly shifting ride for the last six years, going from smooth jazz to alternative rock to a failed experiment as a Tribune-run sports talk station. A whole lot of time, energy and money has been invested in a station that isn’t even properly licensed for the FM dial–existing in a spectral loophole–and whose continued existence is now subject to an ongoing FCC rulemaking proceeding.

Using the new WRME-LP call letters, 87.7 MeTV FM plans to bring a nostalgia-heavy “Me Music” format to the Chicago airwaves, targeted at Baby Boomers. Weigel’s Neal Sabin, who is responsible for the new radio format, said, “87.7 MeTV FM will differ from the current ‘classic hits’ format by playing a much broader range of music skewing on the pop/softer side including singer/songwriters, album tracks and hits deemed ‘oldies’ by some programmers but considered gold by our target audience.” These artists include Carly Simon, James Taylor, Neil Diamond and ”Motown superstars."

According to media reporter Robert Feder, the station has no air talent or full-time programming staff, relying on a part-time freelancer to get things started.

Given the tenuous future of analog LPTV stations, it’s unclear what the strategy is for MeTV FM. Although the FCC is considering options for allowing channel 6 LPTV owners to continue as radio broadcasters in some fashion, it’s an option that incumbents, like NPR, take pains to oppose. The more likely scenario is that analog LPTV stations will have one or two years to transition to digital, turning off their analog signals that enter the FM dial through the back door. When the deadline for that transition looms, what happens to MeTV FM?

I’d have to guess that Weigel is leasing the signal for a song–so to speak–making the endeavor a relatively low-cost experiment. If MeTV FM finds an audience on this relatively weak signal, that could be fuel for growing the format onto legitimate FM stations.

Otherwise, going with old-fashioned analog FM for this experiment is a smart move. Although internet radio might at first seem like the quickest and most obvious route, the performance royalty and bandwidth costs could actually outpace that for leasing channel 6. Plus, Weigel is targeting an aging demographic that is less likely to use internet radio, and which it has already engaged though its pioneering use of underutilized digital TV sub channels. And, on top of that, the company can advertise its radio station on TV pretty much for free.

I will be curious to see if MeTV FM forges a lasting place on the Chicago FM dial or becomes just another passenger though the revolving back door of 87.7 FM. Since I’m no longer in Chicago I would appreciate if any readers in the station’s listening area would tune in and leave a comment with your impressions.


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51 Responses to MeTV enters Chicago’s FM Back Door at 87.7 FM

  1. William February 23, 2015 at 5:46 am #

    A radio station playing album tracks from Carly Simon’s collection and other boomer artists? YES! Radio could be vital and interesting again!

  2. Padraig_e February 23, 2015 at 10:58 am #

    Radio is interesting and vital. WKQX and WXRT for example. Just not aimed at us 50+ folks. Doesn’t mean it isn’t interesting and vital to its target audience. I’m over 50 and I listen to WXRT, WKQX and WFMT. I am sampling METV-FM right now. I like it. I will listen. Doesn’t mean I will give up Foo Fighters, Wild Cub and Black Keys. It just means some of my old favorites are back on the air again, and I don’t have to use Pandora or XM to hear them. I’m enjoying the station so far in its first hour.

  3. jim b February 23, 2015 at 12:35 pm #

    So far so good, but no John Denver yet.

  4. Paul Riismandel February 23, 2015 at 9:56 pm #

    Thanks for the comments and listening reports.

    What I want to know is: are they playing any TV themes? I’d love to hear the “You’re so Vain” followed by the Hogan’s Heroes theme, or “A Horse With No Name” segued into Mr. Ed.

    • Paul Stein March 10, 2015 at 11:24 am #

      I have nothing but praise for your raidio station beat the drive and the other one that pretends to be an oldies station I think most peole my age 62 would agree your range of muisic is really a true oldies station the other staitons play the same 20 to 50 songs all day long WHAT A DRAG THEY ARE . please keep up the GREAT JOB . YOU ROCK

    • Chuck March 28, 2015 at 5:20 am #

      I did hear the theme from Hawaii 5-0 by the Ventures, Paul. This is one of the few bright spots on Chicago radio, IMO. I do hope it pans out.

    • Robert April 2, 2015 at 10:41 am #

      The TV themes that are played on Me TV FM are ones that were released as singles, so you’re never hearing the 30-second opening-credits versions. Like Chuck said, the “Hawaii Five-O” theme has been played, and I’ve heard “Moonlighting” and “Theme From ‘Greatest American Hero’ (Believe It or Not)” a couple times.

      I hope Me TV FM sticks around. The playlist has been terrific so far.

  5. mk February 25, 2015 at 7:36 pm #

    Please keep this station for as long as you can. There are plenty of us out there who still know what radio land is. We survived MTv, Internet, Hulu, Roku, etc..I will not ever give up my radio. Thank you for playing our songs.

  6. GEORGE MILLER March 1, 2015 at 2:36 pm #

    I accidently stumbled on this gem of an oldies station yesterday, and have been hooked. I used to listen to talk radio 24/7 because there was no decent music on the radio until now. American culture has rotted away into a sewer. MeTv Radio (WRME) is an oasis in a desert of garbage radio. It’s been at least 20 years since Chicagoland has had an easy-listening music format radio station. I especially like the huge playlist WRME provides. I’m with WRME as long as they continue playing real music. I’ll also be telling all of my friends to do themselves a favor and switch over to WRME. George Miller, Oak Lawn, IL.

  7. John Egan March 2, 2015 at 9:27 am #

    When “The Game” failed, I sent a mean e-mail over to WGN asking them to go out on a limb and start playing MUSIC that appeals to people who grew up with terrestrial radio and would still listen if there was something to listen to. Never heard back, and I guess they gave up the signal, but I am amazed to see that the new guys figured it out on their own. I hope it works–like George up there says, we haven’t had an outlet like this in many years, and it appears that we are the only market in the US that doesn’t. If the crappy signal doesn’t come in by you, Comcast is broadcasting it (at least where I live) over TV for some reason–look at the very last channels and see if “The Game” is listed.

  8. John Haest March 4, 2015 at 8:52 pm #

    This station is GREAT! They play so many great 70s hits that have been left behind on your typical oldies station. Plus no lame chatter or commercials. I don’t live in Chicago – just here temporarily – but would love to find a stream of this station.

  9. Mary Hamilton March 7, 2015 at 12:08 pm #

    This Baby Boomers found this with the help of her daughter who thought I would like this type of music. When she put it on in the car, I teared up reliving the best music that ever was.

  10. kathy March 7, 2015 at 8:28 pm #

    Love this station…tonight 4 hrs disco, talk about a trip through memory lane and dancing….hope 87.7 stays on! Will pass this on to everyone I know

  11. vito March 7, 2015 at 8:31 pm #

    Great station, keep email coming…disco night is great! We are all partying to this.

  12. Marie March 8, 2015 at 6:14 am #

    FINALLY! A radio station that plays music from the early sixties to the eighties! I use to listen to WLSFM 94.7 and 104.3 and just got sick and tired of hearing the same Eagles, Journey and Boston songs over and over again every single day. None of these stations played early 60’s songs. In my opinion, the 60’s were the turning point not only for social change but for music. No other era had the diversity of sound. Folk, psychedelic, Motown, the British invasion, foreign (Sukiyaki, Dominique), movie soundtracks (Romeo and Juliet, Theme from A Summer Place), the beach sound, protest songs, etc. It was a magical era fraught with many indelible memories. Where else could you hear “Stranger’s in the Night” and “In a Gadda DaVida?” This is the station I’ve been waiting for. I hope you play as many songs as you can. I have told everyone about your station. Great job! Hoping to see you higher up on the dial in the future!

  13. P March 9, 2015 at 5:19 pm #

    Hey, finally had time to see which radios I could get 87.7 on at home. Old ones, no prob. New ones, nope. Spent the whole weekend on a project at home listening via an old radio. Fantastic. Maybe skip the 80’s, and dip back a couple years into the 50’s? This format has been missing since WLS switched to classic hits a couple of years ago. Radio is not dead.

    Couple of questions… Since I don’t drive a ’72 Ford, but do drive a 2013 Ford, where’s the app? Is there a stream so I can listen on my desktop computer? Haven’t been able to find one.

    Come on Me TV guys, we have to have this available in our newer vehicles and listen online.

    • Anthony Carone March 10, 2015 at 11:44 am #

      Yes I agree that I would listen to a stream at my computer at work too!

    • Julie June 19, 2015 at 3:44 pm #

      So do I! Recently discovered this station and am obsessed with it. I have told everyone I know about it and they love it, too. I got rid of my stereo when I moved because I have decent speakers for my computer. So disappointed when I discovered I cannot stream this station. Please make this available so I can listen at home and at work!!

  14. Carlos Domingues March 9, 2015 at 6:07 pm #

    I am visiting Chicago from orlando FL and was driving when I found your station. In 2 days I am going back to Orlando and I would like to keep listen you. How can do it? Are you online? Thanks.

  15. Dave March 9, 2015 at 10:18 pm #

    The playlist reminds me very much of what you would hear on WLS from say 1964-1976, plus a little older disco, and occasional retro-sounding early 80’s like “Angel of the Morning” stuff from Juice Newton…..Call it what you would hear under your pillow listening to your cities’ major Top 40 station circa ’64-’76 ish, but minus the harder stuff, like Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Alice Cooper, even Creedence……call it the fun “froth” from the era, like the froth on your cappacino that the Barrista draws a smiley face in….

    I would say that the hardest stuff you will hear on it is Disco, older O’Jays like “Love Train”, and Carole Kings’ “I feel the Earth Move”……this stuff will not blow the doors down, but who needs that 24-7?….Being bombarded by nasty current media, this as a media respite and sanctuary…..of happy old pure pop memories for “Now People”….The Pepsi Generation…

  16. Anthony Carone March 10, 2015 at 11:42 am #

    Unbelievably happy listener here! Last of the boomers, but I qualify having been born in 1963. I am hooked on this station because it connects me to a great time in lfe when a lot of the people that I loved so much were alive. When I hear some of these songs it is as if an old friend or relative from when I was younger reappears before me and demands that we reminisce together right now! Before dicovering this station I loathed searching for music I tolerate on the radio in my car. I was pretty much forced to listen to the same 6 CDs of similar music as this station plays in my car disc player for lack of time to change them. Now I have an even better variety and I love it and how it makes me feel! I really hope it lasts!

  17. Silas March 17, 2015 at 12:17 pm #

    I’m 35 and I love your station. I heard you wanted ideas on what to play, I would say don’t stray from your formula. It’s great.

  18. Audrey March 18, 2015 at 11:58 am #

    Love Love Love it!

  19. Peggy March 18, 2015 at 5:31 pm #

    Found this station quite by accident and was mesmerized. I usually shift back and forth between the same six presets, but this morning I stayed on 87.7 all the way in to work.
    Please don’t change a thing with your format!

    • Rafael Sanchez March 19, 2015 at 8:11 pm #

      Peggy,

      Couldn’t agree with you more. I’m in heaven.

  20. Dan March 19, 2015 at 1:46 am #

    I want to listen badly but cannot get on either of my 4 vehicles (only goes down to 87.9)-any suggestions? Online or on any apps?

    • P March 20, 2015 at 6:11 am #

      Funny that newer vehicle radios won’t tune to 87.7, but all of my old radios will. Talked with someone at the station. They’re working on the app situation for mobile listening. Also working on a stream for listening from your computer. Wish they’d note this on their website.

  21. Rafael Sanchez March 19, 2015 at 8:04 pm #

    I just found the station today. I had some friends over for lunch and they told me about it. I have been listening to it since this afternoon and will probably not listen to any other station. Please keep this station on the air. We need a station like this since Chicago has such awful music venues.

  22. Mike Fox March 23, 2015 at 10:15 am #

    I am hoping they will stream soon. For those who cannot get them I listen to Stars993 at http://www.stars993.com. They pay stuff you don’t find everywhere. FYI

  23. Mike Fox March 23, 2015 at 10:16 am #

    Should be play stuff, sorry 🙂

  24. ACC March 30, 2015 at 5:41 am #

    I found this station in late Feb on accident. I had totally abandoned Terrestrial Radio for XM YEARS ago because Fm had gone DUMB and they only play TV Show contest “Idols” and rap and shock artists now. So sad. I PAY to hear good music. My parents are XM converts too. Even my 92 year old grandma says “radio is dead”.

    Yup. Freddy Mercury was right…. all we hear is “Radio Blah Blah”.

    Not anymore!

    I LOVE this station. I am a 35 year old male that grew up hearing this music while captive in the back seat of my Mom’s minivan in the 80s and 90s. Some of this stuff I have actually NEVER hear that I can recall. I am sure some of it has literally not been played since it feel off the Top 40 back once upon a time when Casey played it on American Top 40. Does that mean it is not worthy of being played? NO. If it was good enough then, it is good enough NOW. PLAY IT. No matter how cheesy or moldy, these tunes have meaning to someone. I can’t tell you how many times over the last month I have been sitting in traffic on the 290 and tears well up in my eyes because I hear I song I had TOTALLY forgot about and not heard in 25+ years. Some of them remind me of my Mom, some of my Dad, others take me back to a good memory.

    Yesterday I was at a party with several friends. I turned this station on when the Internet radio we were listening to started having problems. They all found something that reminded them of better times. It was great hearing all the “WOW, I used to love this song!”

    I think the great thing about this music is that a lot of it is Timeless, some of it is Fun, some is Bubblegum, and even the “Stinkers” are worth playing occasionally. Some oldies stations just play The Beatles and Supremes on a never-ending constant rotation. METV FM I think I hear ONE Beatles song a weekend! Excellent. NOt that I dont love the Beatles though.

    One of the examples of what they play was Herb Alpert’s Whipped Cream (The Match Game theme), followed by a Fleetwood Mac song, followed by a Motown Song, followed by Peter Paul and Mary, followed by a late 80’s Carly Simon. I mean… how great is that?

  25. MB April 1, 2015 at 11:04 am #

    I have not stopped singing in my car since I found this station!!

  26. dan April 7, 2015 at 1:18 pm #

    i caught news of this station while watching late night shows on me tv( my favorite
    cable station.) man what a blast of fresh radio. don’t have to listen to all thjat hip-hopp
    and other stuff that they supposedly call music. this stuff can and is played 24/7 in th
    is household. keep up the great work and please continue to find more obscure
    oldies that we haven;t heard since they appeared on the b-side of 45;s. some of us
    still remember what a 45 and lp were.i hope you continued success with this station.

  27. rhonda April 7, 2015 at 1:24 pm #

    i usually don’t play the radio in my car, but i find i am now, since my husband discovered your radio station. i am amazed at the songs i didn’t remember until i hear them on the radio. i tell as many people as i can about your station and hope they listen. i would hate to see such a great station go off the air. continued success.

  28. tony April 10, 2015 at 6:05 pm #

    Have not turned off your station since I started listening about a month ago. Not continuous repeats like other stations. I hear songs I haven’t heard in years, and forgot about. I tell many people about METV Radio 87.7. Keep up the great job. Thank you.

  29. Kim April 13, 2015 at 9:12 am #

    I cant seem to get any clear sound. in my car ( a 2015 Ford Taurus) the digital setting will only allow m to go as low as 87.9 and when I play it in the house on the radio, its all static. I leave near Ohare.

  30. James April 17, 2015 at 7:35 pm #

    A big thumbs up to this station and its musical format.WRME has a deep playlist of songs, many that have left the playlists of the corresponding local/area stations.This long-lost, neglected music is both welcome and entertaining.The traffic guide/weather screen on television is cool and NOS also.

  31. Rudy April 26, 2015 at 6:32 pm #

    Have been listening for a month now….love this station. Like playing all my old records and reel-to-reel tapes. Great station and have been telling everyone about this station. My wife and I each have it programmed in our cars. Moody Blues, Cowsills, Carly Simon, the list goes on and on……

  32. Brian S. May 15, 2015 at 7:45 am #

    Neal Sabin is a Chicago media god. Just another example of his genius. He ran our summer camp radio station back in the mid 70’s and now I am listening to many of the same songs he introduced me to back then. Way to go!!!

  33. Jennifer Howard May 25, 2015 at 12:23 pm #

    I’ve been listening in for about two weeks. I’m in my mid-40s. This station is my newest crave, so glad I can hear it in my car AND at work (most important). I can’t wait until they start streaming it. Please keep this station playing!

  34. Monica Vernette Gray June 20, 2015 at 10:32 am #

    I’m 50 years old and I absolutely LOVE this station!!!! The music is so reminiscent of times gone by … if you watched Sesame Street growing up, or listened to AM radio, or grew up in the 70s you will absolutely LOVE this station!!!

  35. LJW June 29, 2015 at 2:07 pm #

    I friend of mine mentioned your station a couple of weeks ago. I started listening at home and haven’t tuned to another station since. Great variety of oldies.

    I’d like to listen in my car as well, but my car FM radio only goes down to 87.9 (2011 Ford).
    Is there a mobile app available now (or will there be soon)?

    Spread the word… keep this station going!

  36. george bobik July 7, 2015 at 6:34 am #

    just love it you play the grate ones from il thank you

  37. mer7ry August 23, 2015 at 7:41 pm #

    Love! Love! Love this station! Please keep it on. I haven’t heard many of these songs in over 25 years +. I can’t believe they are still locked away in my memory until now. 🙂

  38. Gayle September 10, 2015 at 9:38 am #

    I love this station! It is great hearing those songs. I am telling everyone my age about the station. But guess what many are already listening.

  39. Sam September 10, 2015 at 7:12 pm #

    Found this station and love it! For those who want to hear wonderful, easy listening songs from decades ago that are too often neglected by Chicago radio, this station is great. For those who want to hear great, and too often neglected, 80s rock songs, go up the FM dial a bit to 88.3 on Chicago’s south side (or listen online at wxav.com) on Monday nights 9pm to 11pm for The Jungle Radio Show. It’s awesome!

  40. Sam September 10, 2015 at 7:17 pm #

    Does MeTV have a facebook page? The Jungle Radio Show does. It’s neat, lots of 80s rock pictures, brings back great memories, and I know The Jungle is nonprofit. There’s a DJ who gives little tidbits about the bands sometimes between songs and they take requests, but no commercials!

  41. john geib September 15, 2015 at 10:04 am #

    I like what i hear but it still needs a little more variety. i worked as a dj for 3 different stations and had great success for 5 years. I’m a senior and still play good old rock and contemporary music to this day. my concept is spreading the hits, the flip sides, & album tracks plus the newer versions of the oldies all in one. oldies never die, they come back and will always be played again. i’be been around for a long time now and i target the senior population. you should use this concept also, it will surprise you when you try it.

    I’m a straight forward guy and know this music better than most people do. But right now your playlist is a little syrupy. I’d like to help you along if i could. please let me hear from you.

    wishing you the best of luck on your endeavor Me Tv is good don’t let it fail.

  42. Bob McCoy September 27, 2015 at 6:12 pm #

    Rather disappointed in the station. Seems like you air many songs that were not very good back in the day let alone now.

    • Babydoll October 19, 2015 at 10:27 am #

      Bob McCoy, I think you are pretentious.

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