(WKBN) – Talk with a young musician around Youngstown who’s had success and they’ll tell you The Summit Radio station helped them a lot. It’s a station committed to playing local musicians and groups, and even though the station’s based in Akron, it’s committed to Youngstown.
The Summit Radio studios are attached to Akron Ellet High School.
“Maybe sometimes Youngstown has a better community than Akron and sometimes visa versa. But each city with their own identity but great, great local musicians and bands and artists that come from both areas,” said music director Chad Miller.
“It’s not the biggest audience, but it’s a loyal audience,” said general manager Tommy Bruno.
Bruno talked with us in front of a large mural where the Youngstown area was represented by The Human Beinz, Dave Grohl and Trent Reznor. In the same studio was a stage for live concerts.
“You become a member of the radio station, you get invites to these live performances,” Bruno said.
While The Summit started in Akron, the Youngstown market was added 11 years ago when The Summit made a deal to operate WKTL 90.7 FM, the transmitter of which remains at Struthers High School.
“WKTL was operating as a student station and what we’re finding throughout the country is that a lot of these school-owned stations, the students are losing interest,” Bruno said.
With Youngstown part of The Summit, the radio station committed itself to highlighting Youngstown-based bands. In March, The Summit sponsored 330 Day with 10 local bands at Stambaugh Auditorium. Last weekend, it also sponsored Federal Frenzy in downtown Youngstown.
“You know, we ask, why do you support the station? You can get music anywhere. A big part of it is because we support local artists,” Bruno said.
The Summit’s format is adult album alternative radio that also features the music of Northeast Ohio bands, which in turn, hopefully, leads to live performances for those bands.
“The live music scene quite frankly is really the only way these artists are making any money,” Bruno said.
The Summit is a public radio station. Forty-five percent of its revenue comes from individuals during spring and fall fundraising drives, 40 percent comes from business underwriting and the remaining 15 percent comes from grants and foundations.