WTMX, "The Mix" 101.9 FM in Chicago has expanded its radio arms, and its signal now embraces Racine, Kenosha and Milwaukee's FM band at 96.9 FM.
News of the station's arrival is music to the ears of Milwaukee alternative and modern rock fans, who haven't had many options in commercial radio since New Rock 102.1 and The Point changed formats a few years back.
Though WMSE 91.7 FM more than makes up for those station's departures with cutting edge "frontier radio," its hard edge may be a little too much for many listeners.
So when marketing execs at "The Mix" noted that bands like David Gray, U2, Vertical Horizon, Dido, train and Sister Hazel get little, if any airplay in Milwaukee, they jumped on the opportunity to repeat their signal north of the border.
"We've been met with very positive reactions," said Dave Kawowski, director of marketing for the station. "The word of mouth has been good," added Kawowski.
Even though Racine and Kenosha are the major sales territories for the Mix (the station's ratings are based on Chicago, Racine and Kenosha), reaching Milwaukee is also important, Karwowski said.
"We intend to do some outdoor marketing in Racine and begin more grass roots stuff later in the spring," Karwowski added.
What kind of music you'll hear on 96.9 FM? The station's new CD "MIX-clusives" available only at Chicagoland Best Buy stores, includes the following tracks:
1. Barenaked Ladies - One Week
2. Dido - Here With Me
3. Nine Days - Absolutely (Story of a Girl)
4. matchbox twenty - Back 2 Good
5. Train - Meet Virginia
6. Nina Gordon - Tonight and the Rest of My Life
7. Smash Mouth - All Star
8. Third Eye Blind - Deep Inside of You
9. Sister Hazel - All For You
10. Semisonic - Closing Time
Through the end of March, Karwowski said the station has sold almost 12,000 CDs, surpassing local sales of new albums by The Dave Matthews Band and Aeorosmith.
WTMX is owned by the same company (Bonneville International Corporation) that owns Chicago's famous WLUP, The Loop.
With this kind of popularity -- at least in Chicago -- some listeners wonder why Milwaukee stations have given up on the adult alternative market.
"I think it shows that there is a market that's not being served here in Milwaukee," says Robert Amendariz, a Milwaukee musician and modern rock fan. "People are hungry for new rock music, especially high school and college age kids."
Let us know what you think of Milwaukee's new Mix, and the fact that we have to rely on Chicago for an adult alternative radio station. Talk back to this article by clicking below.
A life-long and passionate community leader and Milwaukeean, Jeff Sherman is a co-founder of OnMilwaukee.
He grew up in Wauwatosa and graduated from Marquette University, as a Warrior. He holds an MBA from Cardinal Stritch University, and is the founding president of Young Professionals of Milwaukee (YPM)/Fuel Milwaukee.
Early in his career, Sherman was one of youngest members of the Greater Milwaukee Committee, and currently is involved in numerous civic and community groups - including board positions at The Wisconsin Center District, Wisconsin Club and Marcus Center for the Performing Arts. He's honored to have been named to The Business Journal's "30 under 30" and Milwaukee Magazine's "35 under 35" lists.
He owns a condo in Downtown and lives in greater Milwaukee with his wife Stephanie, his son, Jake, and daughter Pierce. He's a political, music, sports and news junkie and thinks, for what it's worth, that all new movies should be released in theaters, on demand, online and on DVD simultaneously.
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