Is radio on the cusp of reinventing itself or simply rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic?

Is radio on the cusp of reinventing itself or simply rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic?

Will the radio of the future be AM, FM, low-power, satellite, high-definition, Internet or podcast?

The rapid pace of change lent a feeling of nostalgia to the otherwise-raucous celebration at WLVQ (96.3 FM), which turned 30 in 2007.

And the sense of one era ending was emphasized by the passing of Robb Case in September. Case, a former helicopter pilot and reporter for WCMH-TV (Channel 4), died after a long battle with cancer.

With boyhood friend Mark Litton, Case owned a string of radio stations in central Ohio, starting in the early 1990s with the FM stations WAKS and WAHC.

Most recently, Case owned WXOL (1550 AM), the area's first Spanish-language station, known as RadioSol; and WHKC (91.5 FM), a new station that premiered a Christian format soon after his passing, as he had planned.

At WSNY (94.7 FM), morning co-host Stacy McKay, with the show for 13 years, left at the end of August -- one of many moves at WSNY and its sibling stations. The program directors at WSNY and jazz stations WJZA (103.5 FM)/WJZK (104.3 FM) were sent packing, and oldies station WODB (107.9 FM) abandoned most of its moldy oldies in favor of a playlist of hits from the '70s on.

WTDA (103.9 FM) became the first FM talk station in Columbus by picking up Glenn Beck -- after WTVN (610 AM) axed the syndicated talker -- and Dennis Miller. While those shows are heavy on political bloviation, the morning and afternoon shows -- Bob & Tom and Shark on Sports -- focus on fun and games.

WTVN, still the dominant commercial talk station in town, made a few tweaks, too -- dropping Mark "Munch" Bishop from its sports shows; replacing Beck with local evening host Joel Riley; and extending John Corby's show by an hour.

WTVN's parent company, Clear Channel, showed its faith in old-fashioned over-the-air radio by pulling off another "move-in": WMRN (106.7 FM). The station, which had broadcast in the Marion area at 106.9, shifted to the Columbus market early in November.

WMRN became the seventh station in the Clear Channel Columbus radio cluster, joining WTVN, WCOL (92.3 FM), WBWR (105.7 FM), WLZT (93.3 FM), WNCI (97.9 FM) and WYTS (1230 AM).

The WNCI morning show demonstrated that radio still has an influence -- even in a backhanded way -- when it raised the ire of some Latinos in central Ohio by airing a parodic song that some considered offensive.

WBZX (99.7 FM) dropped Grego Onofrio from its morning show, eventually replacing him with longtime Blitz host Mark Blazor.

In public radio, WOSU (89.7 FM) announced that in the new year it would begin airing National Public Radio's news-and-information shows Morning Edition and All Things Considered during the morning and afternoon instead of 24-hour classical-music programming.

WOSU-FM, which followed most other public stations nationwide in the move, will continue to stream classical music 24 hours a day on its Web site and one of its high-definition frequencies.

WCBE (90.5 FM), which has aired the morning and afternoon NPR shows for years, made its own scheduling changes, dropping an hour of World Cafe in favor of Fair Game, a satirical news-and-entertainment program.

Tom Wiebell, a familiar voice from years as a talk-show host on WOSU (820 AM), returned to the airwaves on WRFD (880 AM).

WVKO (1580 AM) returned, too, starting initially with a lineup of syndicated progressive talkers and a promise of local talk shows to come.

In satellite radio, Sirius added a Grateful Dead channel, went back to an all-Springsteen channel and, like XM, awaited a merger that might never happen.

As the year drew to a close, the future of radio might have arrived: Live365, the world's largest Internet radio network, made its streaming service available for all smart phones and hand-held computers with Windows Mobile 5 or 6.

Internet radio -- "the infinite dial" -- could thus surpass AM/FM, satellite, low-power and HD.

Dispatch staff member Jim Perine contributed to this story.

tferan@dispatch.com