- The Washington Times - Friday, April 6, 2007

Apparently, Washingtonians are not fans of George.

No, not the sportscaster or the patron of Mount Vernon … and no, not the current president. The radio station.

Bonneville International Corp. yesterday pulled the plug on adult hits outlet WXGG-FM (104.1) “George 104,” transferring control of the station to Radio One Inc., parent company of WMMJ-FM (102.3) “Majic” and WKYS-FM (93.9), which is starting a new gospel music format in time for Easter.

The Lanham “urban media specialist” will program the station under a temporary agreement, pending approval of the radio license transfer by the Federal Communications Commission, Bonneville announced. Terms were not disclosed.

“George” debuted less than three months ago when Bonneville — which also owns WTOP and Washington Post Radio — shed classical music on 104.1 in favor of a varied adult hits format, free of commercials and disc jockeys.

Public radio outlet WETA-FM then picked up the classical mantle as well as the CD library of defunct classical station WGMS-FM.

Bonneville will continue to broadcast “George” on a new HD channel, free to listeners with HD Radio receivers.

Joel Oxley, general manager of WTOP and manager of Bonneville stations in Washington, wouldn’t comment on the move much beyond a company statement. The company has had success with the adult hits format in other markets, such as St. Louis, he noted.

“We really thought that this could be successful [in the D.C. area] but obviously, there was a business deal,” he said.

“George 104” has slipped in the ratings ladder compared with its predecessor WGMS.

A representative from Radio One, which did not return calls seeking comment, told Radio and Records its goal is to play gospel music on 104.1 for Easter. The new station will be called “Praise 104.1.”

Radio One already owns an AM gospel station in the Washington area, WYCB-AM (1340), in addition to talker WOL-AM (1450), WMMJ and WKYS.

In handing over 104.1, Bonneville said it will keep 103.9, which it used to simulcast “George 104” and WGMS before that. Through June 27, the company will use the frequency for an additional broadcast of all-news WTOP-FM, which also can be heard on 103.5 FM and 820 AM.

Starting June 28, Bonneville will use 820 — which is strong in Frederick, upper Montgomery County and eastern Loudoun County — for another broadcast of WTWP-AM Washington Post Radio, which is heard on 1500 AM and 107.7 FM.

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