The Summit FM: Wadsworth residents run local radio station

The Summit.FM is an independently owned radio stations located in Akron, Ohio. The station has been around since 1955 where they feature local artists. Brad Savage and Andrew James, both Wadsworth residents, are two of seven people who run the station.

The Summit.FM is a locally owned, commercial free, rock music based radio station that holds private concerts through their Studio C program. Artists like Needtobreathe, Scars on 45, Walk The Moon, John Mayer, Zombies, Grammy winners, up-and-comers and everything in between have been to the Summit to perform.

Brad Savage, a Wadsworth resident, is the program director and radio specialist at the Summit. He first got into music by listening to the radio when he was growing up in Minnesota and being an overall music fan.

“One day my high school did a shadow day in ninth grade where you picked some career you were interested in and they would arrange for you to shadow them for a day outside of school,” said Savage.

Brad Savage, program director, shows us what happens in one of the recording rooms. They have software that allows them to record while the station is playing music. PHOTO BY HALEY REEDY

“So I went and shadowed a local radio station, they liked me and could tell I knew a lot about the music and the format and the station so they invited me back as an intern.”

Savage realized after that shadow day that this was what he wanted to do because of his interest in all different kinds of music.

Andrew James, The Summit’s music director, stumbled into music by chance. He was headed on the path of culinary arts and becoming a chef before he realized he wanted to become a radio station host.

“I’ve always been a music fan, started playing drums in the 5th grade and was in marching band in high school, music has always been around and music was just a natural step for me,” said James.

Just like Savage, James was surrounded by music at a young age, although it took James longer to realize that music was his real passion.

“I eventually went to school and learned more about it in the background but a lot of it was hands on and just doing it,” said Savage.

Savage traveled to many different states such as Missouri, Wisconsin, and Michigan to work for different radio stations. He ended up loving Summit.FM because of its connection to the viewers just like Andrew James.

“I went in the army, was a cook in the army, and I was stationed out of Louisiana, there was nothing to do when you weren’t working.” said James. “You would work your shift and then go home till the next day so I started going out with some buddies and ended up being a DJ at the bar we all went to.”

Even after James became a DJ he went back into the culinary industry and worked at some restaurants. He realized that cooking had lost its fun and he looked into working with music full time.

“Summer of my Sophomore/Junior year I started working here as an intern because everyone was talking about these internships.” said James.

Andrew James, operation manager, walks us through the room with all of the technology used for broadcasting the radio stations. They have multiple stations, Kid Jam, the Summit FM, and Rocking Recovery. PHOTO BY HALEY REEDY

James came in four hours a day for four days a week to begin with. He was offered an official job at the station after one of their part time employees quit.

Within the last 3 years the Summit.FM has moved locations and now sits right next to Ellet High School. Before moving, they were on South Main Street across from the old Firestone Headquarters in Akron.

Since Akron Schools owns the broadcasting license, the station used to be used as a teaching tool for staff and students throughout the Akron School District.

“Over the years it went from being a teaching tool to where each classroom had a little white radio and every classroom in the district used to have one and it only tuned to 89.1,” James said.

Every student in a certain class would tune in at a designated time in order to hear the same lesson that was being broadcasted.

“As technology progressed there was less need for the teaching part of it so it became a thing for students to come in and do the on air stuff,” James said.

The students eventually lost interest in radio and the classes that were being taught over it. Now, the station is basically run by seven staff members.

Summit.FM has been a local station for over 60 years and is always trying to make the station better. To listen to The Summit.FM, tune into 93.1 or download their app.

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