Radio station’s new brand, format play to urban market


Some say a city is only as diverse as its music scene. If so, Grand Rapids just took a solid step in becoming a more diverse and exciting place.

WNWZ (1410 AM) launched an FM signal, a new brand and a new 24-hour music format June 13. The new Magic 94.1 plays R&B and high-testing hip-hop songs from the 1980s to today. Listeners can hear it at 94.1 FM, 1410 AM, online at and streaming live on the Radio Pup App.

The station is owned and operated locally by Townsquare Media Grand Rapids, with studios at 50 Monroe St. NW Grand Rapids.

Magic 94.1 is “100 percent driven to push for diversity and be a sounding board to elevate that belief through involvement and messaging,” said Ed Spillers, brand manager and program director.

The station’s daily programming will demonstrate to listeners the market’s growing diversity, he said.

“Grand Rapids is such a melting pot, and all music genres are really starting to get attention,” he said. “We will be the voice for the urban music scene.”

Magic 94.1’s mission is to be the leading urban voice for entertainment, local content and community involvement, Spillers said. The station will cater to a 25- to 54-year-old audience, he said, specifically African-American women age 25-44.

“While speaking with community leaders, it became apparent that Grand Rapids was in need of a radio station that delivered listeners R&B music and gave advertisers and nonprofit organizations the ability to reach that audience,” said Russ Hines, market president for Townsquare Media.

The new station will feature the national “Steve Harvey Morning Show” from 6-10 a.m. Midday host, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., will be Yasmin Young, who has entertained radio listeners in Buffalo, New York, and Charlotte, North Carolina. Lee Stephens is on from 3-7 p.m. Also in the lineup:

  • R&B artist Keith Sweat’s syndicated “The Sweat Hotel,” 7 p.m.-midnight, Monday through Friday.
  • Gerald McBride’s syndicated “Old School House Party,” from Detroit, 7 p.m.-midnight Saturday.
  • R-Dub’s syndicated “Sunday Nite Slow Jams,” 8 p.m.-midnight Sunday.
  • Nationally syndicated gospel program “The Donnie McClurkin Show,” 7 a.m.-noon Sunday.

“Coming soon, Grand Rapids’ own Bishop Marvin L. Sapp will join our Sunday inspiration lineup,” Spillers said.

Spillers called Magic 94.1 a dream two years in the making. When 1410 AM launched an adult contemporary format branded as “The Touch” two years ago, the plan was to move it to the FM dial within two years. The idea started with General Sales Manager Dustin Wood and General Manager Russ Hines, he said.

Tom Cook, operations manager, pushed hard for the format. In December 2015, plans moved forward to add FM in late spring or early summer.

“When we were presented the opportunity to put on a new FM station in Grand Rapids, this was the obvious choice,” Cook said. “There’s an appetite for the music, for sure, but there’s also a need and desire for a station where the community can come together. We’re excited to deliver that to Grand Rapids.”

With Cook’s dream realized, hunger for this kind of music can now be met in a city ripe with talent and ears for it, Spillers said.

“The hunger is birthed from a want and need for a radio station that plays a true, 100 percent, 24/7 urban (R&B) format that is active in the community and community-inclusive,” he said. “The music scene in Grand Rapids is established and growing, and there is a thirst for a place to get the word out.” 

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