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4/10/2009 1:14:00 PM
WCGO shuts off signal this weekend for Northwest Indiana

Times of Northwest Indiana

By Andrea Holecek, Times of Northwest Indiana

CHICAGO HEIGHTS | Kovas Communications-owned WCGO 1600AM is shutting down its signal to radio listeners in the south suburbs and Northwest Indiana.

WCGO 1600 AM, which broadcasts from Chicago Heights, will sign-off the air permanently "probably Sunday," said Tim Disa, co-owner of AirTime Media in Chicago.

An area staple for the past five decades, the station has served almost 3 million people in Will, Kankakee and Cook counties in Illinois and Lake and Porter counties in Northwest Indiana, according to a station employee.

It has played songs from the "Timeless Favorites" genre for the past 12 years.

"...It will go dark and cease to exist in Chicagoland," Disa said. "It's a sad situation. It's sad, but these are changing times."

The station has been owned by Fort Wayne-based Kovas Communications for at least the past five years.

It has no measurable audience because of its limited broadcast range, which hurts its ability to attract national advertizing, Disa said. And the current economic climate has drastically cut its support from local advertisers.

The Federal Communications Commission has given Kovas permission to use WCGO's 1,000 watts of power and the power of other stations Kovas is shuttering in Aurora and Harvard, Ill., to boost the power of its WONX 1590 AM station in Evasion to 7,000 watts from 3,500 watts.

WONX is a community station that broadcasts in different languages at different times of the day, Disa said.

WCGO was once owned by former Hammond Mayor Tom McDermott's M&M Broadcasting.

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• Post-Tribune to close Gary office

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