This article was initially written for/published in the Wisconsinite, a now-defunct alt-biweekly newspaper in Madison, WI.
The newest addition to Madison’s commercial radio dial is WHIT-FM, otherwise known as 93.1 “The Lake.” Similar in format to 101.5 WIBA-FM, the addition of “The Lake” brings the number of stations owned by Mid-West Family Broadcasting in Madison to seven, topping Clear Channel’s local stable by one and making it the largest station owner in the market. Mid-West Family Broadcasting is based in Madison, but it also owns clusters of stations in LaCrosse, Benton Harbor, MI, Springfield, IL, and Springfield, MO. Its other Madison properties include 94.1 WJJO, “Magic” 98, Q-106, WTDY-AM (1670), WTUX-AM (1550), and “La Movida” WTDA-AM (1480), which Mid-West Family owns but leases to Hispanic programmers.
The route by which “The Lake” was built is a long and somewhat convoluted story, but it shows how local and regional radio station companies have had to band together to remain competitive in an industry which has seen explosive consolidation over the last eight years.