It operates with 5,800 Watts of power with coverage of Ashtabula and Lake Counties in Northeastern Ohio. Its signal stretches as far East as the Northwestern tip of Erie County in Pennsylvania, as far west as the East Suburbs of Cleveland, Ohio, and as far south as the northernmost part of the Youngstown, Ohio, area.
Bulmer was able to take advantage of an FCC policy that allowed him to be granted the WZOO call sign on FM (as WZOO-FM) by obtaining the written permission from WZOO-AM in Asheboro, North Carolina. Mr. Bulmer paid the licensee of WZOO (AM) $1,000 to grant him permission. Hence, "102 ZOO" was born. WZOO-FM was one of five construction permits granted to Bulmer in the late 80's/early 90's. At that time, prior to FCC auctions for frequencies, Bulmer discovered a not widely known FCC policy whereby if a filing window closed and there were no applications filed, the FCC would then grant a construction permit (authority to build the radio station) under "First Come/First Serve" processing rules. While the general public was often stampeding to the next newly opened filing window, Bulmer was combing the FCC's records for windows that had just closed to ascertain what FCC filing windows drew no applications for a particular community.
As a result, Mr. Bulmer received construction permits to construct new FM stations in Edgewood, OH (Ashtabula, OH, WZOO-FM), North Baltimore, Ohio (WHMQ FM, Findlay, OH, now WPFX), Royal Center, Indiana (WHZR (FM) "Hoosier 103" in Logansport, Indiana) and WJBI-FM in Windslow (Augusta-Waterville, ME). Bulmer constructed three of those four stations (he gave the WJBI-FM permit back to the FCC, as the economy had hit the skids in the early 90's) and built an entire group of new FM stations from construction permits. Arguably, 102 ZOO was Bulmer's most successful station in the group. Having constructed the station in late 1988 for approximately $140,000, he sold the station to Richard and David Rowley of Ashtabula in May of 1999. Bulmer recently sold his last stations, WDOE (AM) and WBKX (FM) ("96 Kix FM") in Dunkirk-Fredonia, NY and he is now retired, spending time between homes in Pennsylvania and Florida.
The station was most commonly known under the nickname "102 ZOO" right after going on the air in 1989 right up until October of 2007. It has, however, changed its slogan several times from originally being "The Exciting FM" in 1989 and into the early 90s when it operated under a Top 40 format.
Then, in the mid 90s, 102 ZOO changed format to become a Hot AC (Adult Contemporary) station. It also changed its slogan to "No Rap, No Metal, No Way". In the early 2000s, when the station was sold by local owners, brothers Richard & David Rowley to Clear Channel, 102 ZOO changed its slogan again to "Your Hit Music Station". The station remained Hot AC until flipping back to a Top 40 (CHR) format in September of 2006. Then, in a controversial move upsetting much of the community, during October of 2007, Media One Group changed 102 ZOO to an oldies format on October 5, 2007.
The oldies format has since filled a void that was previously missing in the community, although mystery still surrounds the circumstances as to why the top 40 (also filling a similar void) was taken off the air after having seemingly become the popular station it was always meant to be in the county.
MORE PROBLEMS FOR THE ZOO
After only a few months on the air as "Magic Oldies 102.5", the already struggling station suffered another blow as it was forced to drop the name "Magic" for copyright infringement reasons with the signal being too close to that of WMJI-FM Cleveland which is also an oldies channel using the name "Magic".