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  • Writer's pictureMike Gallagher

Ellensburg Community Morning Show, Monday, Jan. 8

KXLE, which was sold this past summer, has changed the format of its AM station.


KXLE-AM changes radio format

At the start of the year, KXLE-AM changed its format from talk radio to classic country, this followed the sale of KXLE-AM and FM to Ellensburg Radio Broadcasting LLC in July and the resignation of long-time general manager Brad Tacher in December. Bill Wolfenbarger, the managing member of Ellensburg Radio Broadcasting, said “based on our many years of broadcasting in markets of every size from Raymond to Bellingham to Seattle and more, we knew that while high-powered ‘news/talk’ stations in large markets often do well with their live traffic reports and long commutes, local AM stations in small markets don't have the conditions or available resources to be relevant.”

Wolfenbarger added that the classic country format aligns with KXLE FM’s mainstream country format. For Wolfenbarger’s full statement on the change go to

City and American Legion reach agreement on fire lane

Ellensburg Mayor Rich Elliott announced the city reached an agreement with the American Legion regarding the fire lane serving the Legion building on Craig’s Hill. Elliott said the city is pleased to have reached an agreement with the Legion and that the city has never had any interest in taking over the American Legion building.

The fire lane was a separate discussion from the city’s ongoing master planning process for Reed Park on Craig’s Hill. The city is still in the process of refining the preferred master plan option. The preferred option has not come to the council for review and adoption.


Cle Elum City Council to consider meeting change

The Cle Elum City Council will consider a proposal to move its monthly meeting dates to the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month at its meeting at 7 o’clock tonight. The council currently meets on the second and fourth Mondays of the month. The change will eliminate an overlap between the council and the Cle Elum-Roslyn School Board meetings.


County and CWU to partner on counseling center

The Kittitas County Commissioners have earmarked funds to assist in reopening the Community Counseling and Psychological Assessment Center on the CWU campus. The center will serve patients between the ages of 11 and 17 who have been referred by the local school district. The county will contribute $333,392 from the county’s one-tenth of 1 percent Mental Health and Chemical Dependency tax.


Gather at Upsidedown Wine

Upsidedown Wine hosts the Kittitas County Chamber of Commerce’s After-Hours event from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday. Upsidedown Wine is located at 205 E. First St. in Cle Elum. The event is open to the public with a special invitation to all businesses related to the construction of the Cle Elum location.


Pack the Pantry this week

Throughout January the Wildcat Pantry will be holding challenges to stock the campus food bank. This week the drive focuses on non-perishable food items with an emphasis on cultural foods. Collection boxes will be available at almost every academic and professional building on campus.


Spring soccer registration open

Registration is now open for the Kittitas Valley Junior Soccer Association’s spring recreational soccer league. The league is open to boys and girls age 4 through eighth grade. The season consists of four Saturday games from April 3 to May 4 and there are no midweek practices. Registration information is available on the KVJSA Facebook page.


The FISH Open Table Lunch is loaded potato soup, garlic toast and grapes. The lunch is open to all seniors age 60-plus from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., in Ellensburg, and noon to 1 p.m., in Cle Elum. Meal sites are the Ellensburg Open Table and the Cle Elum Seventh-day Adventist Church. The community lunch for anyone needing a hot meal is from 1 to 2 p.m. at the Ellensburg location.


The forecasted high today in Ellensburg is 33 degrees. Sunset is at 4:27 p.m., and the expected nighttime low is 31 degrees. There is a 70 percent chance of snow during the day and 80 percent chance overnight. Winds will be 10 to 15 mph.

Full statement from Bill Wolfenbarger regarding the change of format at KXLE-QM


KXLE-AM and KXLE-FM are licensed to Ellensburg Radio Broadcasting LLC. Bill Wolfenbarger is the Managing Member. Unlike other broadcasting companies in Central Washington, Ellensburg Radio Broadcasting LLC is not a division of a larger company.


My partners and I acquired the licenses for KXLE-AM and KXLE-FM at the end of July this year.  General Manager Brad Tacher and his wife, Patti, had been with the station for over 25 years.  We made no programming changes at the time.  But when we were given notice that Brad and Patti would be resigning at the end of the year, we felt it was time to explore the programming on both stations.


Our first decision, an easy one, was to maintain the popular Mainstream Country format on KXLE-FM.  This format reaches the demographics of those in their working years.


We then looked at KXLE-AM.  This was more difficult, and complicated.  Based on our many years of broadcasting in markets of every size from Raymond to Bellingham to Seattle and more, we knew that while high-powered "news/talk" stations in large markets often do well with their live traffic reports and long commutes, local AM stations in small markets don't have the conditions or available resources to be relevant. KXLE-AM was carrying numerous syndicated talk shows for the most part. Originating from a number of "networks", these shows are difficult to manage and difficult to cancel, with lengthy syndication agreements and affidavits of performance; and it is not easy to sell local advertising on these programs.  No matter what talk shows are carried, for every listener who likes a particular program, another listener turns it off.


While knowing that many of those who listen to national talk shows would be upset with change no matter what we did, it was determined that in the long run, KXLE-AM would garner more overall listeners and be of most value to local businesses and the community if we were to launch a similar music format to that of KXLE-FM, but for older demographics.  The natural mate for KXLE-FM Mainstream Country is KXLE-AM Classic Country, which we launched earlier this week.


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