Variety Hits News
June 8, 2012
Speculation: this is a rumor that Jack FM in Los Angeles (KCBS-FM) might be flipping to sports, a supposition reportedly made by Don Barrett of LARadio.com. This rumor was refuted by CBS Los Angeles Senior Vice-President and Market Manager Steve Carver, who is quoted as saying, "Jack is not going sports."
June 1, 2012
The Cincinnati page has been updated with some corrections and an update on the current status of the format in the market, which presently only exists on southeast rimshot WAOL/Ripley, OH as 99.5 Max FM. It's a long, sordid story that includes the demise of one of the all-time great alternative rock stations in the history of United States radio and a company borrowing too much money and defaulting on a loan.
May 24, 2012
Some great timing in conjunction with the slow-but-sure long-overdue updating of this site: Variety Hits debuted in Miami today at 5 a.m. EDT, with 103.5 WMIB flipping from "Super X" Spanish Hits to Variety Hits as the new SHE 103.5, playing off the well-remembered WSHE name used when the station had a rock format from the early 1970s through 1996.
This is the first time for the format to be used in the Miami market, and it marks the second time in as many months that Clear Channel has put the format on in the state of Florida (the other being Jack FM going on in Jacksonville on 4/18/2012), which also had never aired the format before.
April 18, 2012
I haven't given this site the time/effort it deserves. Hopefully that will change soon.
The big news of the day comes from Jacksonville, where Clear Channel has flipped classic hits Magic 107.3 (WJGH) to Variety Hits as 107.3 Jack FM. Clear Channel has not done much business with the company responsible for licensing use of the Jack FM name in the past, and for various reasons Jack FM hasn't been on the air in any major markets in Florida in the past: not Miami or Tampa or Orlando or even mid-majors like West Palm Beach or Ft. Myers.
RadioInsight.com has more details here, including a link to audio of the sign-on of the station's new format today.
December 22, 2010
If you follow the radio industry as an area of interest, you've likely read some of the articles written by Sean Ross. Sean is a phenomenal talent, a rare mix of exceptional writing ability and a strong knowledge of the radio business, particularly as it pertains to music. And it's not a narrow band: he can explain why Billy Joel's "Don't Ask Me Why" was an unlikely hit, debate the merits of "California Girls" by Katy Perry compared with "Dynamite" by Taio Cruz as the "summer song of 2010" to the evolution of Pandora's streaming music.
Sean is currently taking a poll of his readers on the best stations playing Oldies/Classic Hits, both in terrestrial radio and beyond, and I urge you to take a minute or two to cast your vote. There are some stations from the Variety Hits genre that earned a nomination for the 80s/90s category, which is logical considering that Variety Hits, at its very core, is a fusion of Classic Hits and Hot AC.
August 1, 2010
I am *way* behind on updating this site, but look for some catch-up info here soon.
There's bad news for Jack FM fans today in Las Vegas, where CBS Radio reportedly plans to flip 100.5 Jack FM (KKJJ) to an FM simulcast of News/Talk 840 KXNT effective Monday 8/16/2010. Presently KXNT airs on the HD3 signal of 100.5 FM, but it will be taking over the regular radio slot currently occupied by Jack FM. No word on what future Jack will have in the market, if the format might move to an HD2 or HD3 sideband signal or outright disappear. One would presume that new call letters KXNT-FM are forthcoming for the 100.5 FM signal in Vegas.
CBS Radio is facing heat in Chicago for a stunt pulled by its 104.3 Jack FM (WJMK) in the Windy City where the station worked a deal to run promotional messages on highway information signs near Soldier Field, which hosted a Bon Jovi concert this past weekend. This article from the Chicago Sun-Times has more details.
September 4, 2009
100.5 Louie FM (WLUE) is gone in Louisville, as the Clear Channel-owned station has flipped from Variety Hits to '90s pop/rock as 100.5 Gen-X Radio (with new call letters WLGX) effective 9/3/2009. The move is a major one by Clear Channel, which doesn't have a large volume of Variety Hits stations in its arsenal.
August 17, 2009
The move of Tom FM (KHKN) in Little Rock from 106.7 to 94.9 has taken place, with Clear Channel switching the Variety Hits format to the more powerful 94.9 signal in the market and moving away from 106.7. The 106.7 signal is one of the stations in the Aloha Trust that Clear Channel will be spinning off, while Tom FM will remain within Clear Channel's control on a very strong signal.
July 31, 2009
106.7 Tom FM (KHKN) in Little Rock is going to soon have a more powerful home. The station's name and format, which is on one of the stations held by the Aloha Trust (a holding created by Clear Channel for stations it plans to spin off), is switching from its 864' tower spot with a 16kw Class C2 signal to the much more powerful 94.9 signal, airing from a 1844' tower location with a booming 100kw Class C signal.
Tom FM replaced Classic Country on 106.7 in March 2008, just four months before that station moved into the Aloha Trust.
July 25, 2009
RadioCrunch and AllAccess.com have posted the May 2009 P25-54 (persons 25-54) PPM rankings for Variety Hits stations in a number of markets where the new-style ratings system by Arbitron is in place. Here are the results.
KCBS-FM/Los Angeles: #4
WJMK/Chicago: #9 (this is up from past ratings periods)
All Access reports that pre-currency (testing period) results for the format in San Diego, Minneapolis, Phoenix, and Seattle have been "as good (or better)" than the listed markets. In that same ratings period (using the outgoing diary system), KPKX in Phoenix posted #2 marks in both the P18-49 and P25-54 demographics.
July 18, 2009
A little more than four years after it entered the format, Pirate Radio 93.1 (KKXX-FM) in Bakersfield has flipped from Variety Hits to CHR/Top 40 as "Hot Hits 93.1" effective today.
July 3, 2009
SAM 107.1 is out just east of Pittsburgh, as WGSM (licensed to Greensburg, PA) has dropped the satellite-fed SAM format and flipped to Classic Hits as G107.1 as of July 1, 2009. The station debuted in March 2006, though much of its coverage area in the Pittsburgh area and eastern suburbs was overlapped by the powerful signal of 96.9 Bob FM (WRRK).
June 25, 2009
There is additional ratings news out today from RadioCrunch and AllAccess.com for two additional markets with Variety Hits station from the May 2009 PPM:
-Greater Media's 95.7 Ben FM (WBEN-FM) in Philadelphia is still on the outside looking in P25-54, coming in #12 in that demo.
-In Boston, Entercom's 93.7 Mike FM (WMKK) tied for #4 P25-54 and #5 P18-48.
June 24, 2009
The May 2009 Personal People Meter ratings for Jack FM in Los Angeles and Chicago are in, and it's encouraging news for the format in both markets in the coveted P25-54 (Persons 25-54) demo.
According to RadioCrunch, as listed today on AllAccess.com, 93.1 Jack FM (KCBS-FM) in Los Angeles finished #4 in P25-54 for the May 2009 PPM. In Chicago, 104.3 Jack FM (WJMK) finished #9 P25-54, which is an increase in that demo. It's not the rousing success for the format that many markets have seen, but four years into the format and it's still competitive in the Windy City.
June 8, 2009
According to multiple trade publications, CBS Radio in Chicago is preparing put a simulcast of its AM sports outlet 670 the Score (WSCR) on the HD3 multicast channel of 104.3 Jack FM (WJMK) within the next 30 days. This is not unusual, and it is becoming more and more common for companies in major markets to simulcast an AM station on a sister station's HD2 or HD3 channel. To this point, CBS Radio has not aired anything on WJMK-HD3.
So, why mention it here? Because, as this article by Lewis Lazare of the Chicago Sun-Times reports, there is speculation that the sports format could eventually make a migration to the primary broadcast channel of WJMK, which would displace 104.3 Jack FM, which has aired there since June 2005. In recent months, CBS Radio has shifted sports talk formats from the AM dial to the FM side in Detroit, Baltimore, and Dallas.
June 6, 2009
In a surprising development in Toronto, six years to the day after Rogers Broadcasting flipped CHR Kiss 92.5 (CISS) to Variety Hits as 92.5 Jack FM (which ended up obtaining new call letters CJAQ), the company dropped Jack FM and switched the station back to CHR as, once again, Kiss 92.5. The change happened at 3 p.m. ET on June 5, 2009.
At exactly six years old, the Toronto Jack FM outlet was one of the oldest Variety Hits stations in the world at the time of its flip and the second-oldest Jack FM terrestrial station in the world behind only 96.9 Jack FM (CKIS) in Calgary.
May 31, 2009
Some miscellaneous notes:
-I spent some time listening online to Frank FM out of the Cape Cod, MA area this weekend, and despite listings elsewhere that put it in the Classic Hits category, it sounded like a Variety Hits station to me. The whole Frank FM "We play it all!" positioning statement definitely fits the Variety Hits staple, though there are a few stations out there (mostly Classic Hits stations) that use Variety Hits style positioning. But, from what I've heard, Frank FM fits the bill. For example, I heard them play "Sex and Candy" by Marcy Playground, which I've never heard on any Classic Hits station.
-The Variety Hits "97.7 & 99.5 Max FM" simulcast in Cincinnati is still in the process of upgrading its coverage into the Cincinnati metro area. The 97.7 WOXY part of the simulcast, which was once the home of legendary indie rock station 97X, has a construction permit from the FCC to switch its city of license from Oxford, OH to Mason, OH. That COL switch will be accompanied by a move to a new broadcast tower that will put out a signal reaching closer to downtown Cincy. It will be interesting to see what impact (if any) the move has on the station's ratings in Cincinnati.
-Somehow this missed my radar, but My 103.9 (WJRL-FM) in Dothan, AL flipped formats on April 1, 2009, going from Variety Hits to Rock as "103.9 the Edge".
May 30, 2009
For too long now I've been missing some stations in the format on here, and I'm working to resolve that situation. First up, the Bob FM stations that I've been missing. Thanks to Chuck Wood, the Operations Manager of 105.9 Bob FM (KKBO) in Bismarck, ND, for contacting me directly with details of that station's debut.
Here are the new listings for Bob FM on here:
-Bismarck, ND (KKBO)
-Edwards, CA (KGBB)
-Panama City, FL (WASJ)
-San Angelo, TX (KELI)
-Sedalia, MO (KSDL)
-Sterling, CO (KSRX)
-Wichita Falls, TX (KWFB)
Next on the agenda -- the Jack FM stations missing from this site.
May 26, 2009
There is a new station in the format on the air in the Palm Coast area of Florida. Beach 92.7 (WBHQ), licensed to Beverly Beach, FL, signed on last month with its new Variety Hits format. It actually uses the phrase "Variety Hits" on its website, which also says that the station plays '60s, '70s, '80s, and '90s rock hits. The station previously was part of Clear Channel's cluster in the Jacksonville market, and how it ended up as a mid-major market move-out is a somewhat lengthy story. Check out the Palm Coast market page for the details on that.
May 18, 2009
In case you missed it last week, Sean Ross and the crew at InfiniteDial.com wrote some outstanding articles related to the Variety Hits/Adult Hits genre. Ross is almost always worth reading, as he possesses a rare mix of exceptional writing skills and outstanding understanding of the radio business.
Ross: Bob- & Jack-FM: After The Goldrush
Infinite Dial: Bob- & Jack-FM Week (covering WARH/St. Louis, KBPA/Austin, TX, KCBS-FM/Los Angeles, WLWK/Milwaukee, WQSR/Baltimore, KKXX/Bakersfield, CA, and WMKK/Boston)
The "Bob and Jack week" was a great idea, though it would have been nice to see WLUE/Louisville in there as well as an example of a Clear Channel station that has had long-term success in the format.
May 7, 2009
Update on KHJK/Houston -- use of the "Jack FM" name seems to have ended. Without knowing details, I suspect that there were some remnant liners with the old name that made it on the air as the transition to the new format happened. Whatever the case, Jack is out in Houston.
May 6, 2009
Cumulus has made a change in Houston to its Jack FM station (KHJK) that rimshots the market. The station, which was a Variety Hits outlet from August 31, 2007 until today, now airs an Adult Alternative format. According to reports from Houston, the station is still using the Jack name, at least for now. Cumulus appears to be starting to phase the Jack name out from the station, alternating the name "FM 103-7" in positioning statements and liners between songs.
KHJK is licensed to LaPorte, TX, and it really is a Beaumont/Port Arthur, TX market station that was moved in to the west just enough to provide a city-grade signal about half of the Houston metro area -- though the station is simulcast on 104.1 KRBE-HD2 and streams live online.
May 2, 2009
The format took a couple of hits with the arrival of the first of the month. In Longview, TX, 99.3 Jack FM (KAJK) has flipped to talk as 93.3 Talk FM with new call letters KZTK.
Meanwhile, another Variety Hits to Talk flip happened in Mobile, AL, where 106.5 the Pirate (WAVH) has become FM Talk 106.5.
April 30, 2009
Jack FM will soon have a new home in Chattanooga. 95.3 Jack FM, which recently changed call letters from WHJK to WPLZ, is flipping tomorrow to talk as 95.3 Pulse FM. Jack FM isn't going to disappear from the area entirely, as it will be moving to 93.1 WSAA, which is going from its current Classic Hits format (at least from what I've read about it in limited information available online) to Variety Hits as 93.1 Jack FM.
April 15, 2009
WCXO, licensed to Carlyle, IL, has reportedly flipped from Oldies as Superhits 96.7 to Variety Hits as Max 96.7.
March 31, 2009
Ownership of 102.7 Jack FM (WQSR) in Baltimore changes at midnight tonight (no, it's not an April Fools' Day joke) going from CBS Radio to Clear Channel. This is part of the swap started earlier this year where Clear Channel traded two of its Houston FM stations to CBS Radio in exchange for stations in several markets. This move will mark just the second time that Clear Channel will own a station airing the Jack FM brand of Variety Hits; the other time was in Amarillo, TX in 2007, where the company brought in Jack FM on a station it was about to sell off to Gap Broadcasting. Clear Channel will soon also acquire CBS Radio's 93.7 Jack FM (KQJK) in Sacramento.
Keep in mind that there is pending litigation between Clear Channel and Sparknet Communications from 2005 (details are available here), though it's unclear how (if at all) that will impact Clear Channel's forthcoming ownership of WQSR and KQJK.
March 30, 2009
Clear Channel has made a change in Roanoke, VA, flipping 104.9 the Bull (WZBL) to Variety Hits as 104.9 Steve FM on March 27, 2009. The station is part of the Clear Channel "Aloha Trust" where it has stashed the stations it will be spinning off as a stipulation of the Justice Department allowing the company to go from public to private ownership. Clear Channel currently has a station in the Variety Hits genre branded as "Steve FM" in Columbia, SC.
March 27, 2009
Peak Broadcasting has jettisoned Variety Hits from 105.9 Jack FM (KFJK) in Fresno, as the station dropped the Variety Hits format in favor of news/talk as "the FM KMJ @ 105-9", building on the existing brand name in the market of AM news/talk station, 580 KMJ. The move happened at 5 a.m. on March 25, 2009.
But, unlike what is happening in many markets across the country with AM news/talk stations simulcasting on an FM outlet, the new KMJ-FM (the station's new call letters as of today) will feature mostly separate programming from the AM station, with unique offerings including Glenn Beck, Dave Ramsey, and Michael Savage. And, in an interesting twist, 105.9 will play oldies music on the weekends.
March 26, 2009
Abilene, TX has lost its Variety Hits outlet, as Doud Media Group flipped Bob 96.1 (KGXL) to country at 5 p.m. CT on Tuesday (3/24/2009) as "96.1 the Wolf". Read about the details here.
March 19, 2009
Cumulus Broadcasting, after years of mostly ignoring the Variety Hits format (save for the Jack FM stations it obtained from Susquehanna in Kansas City and Indianapolis), seems to be buying into it as a viable format. The latest move by the company with the format happened in Mobile, AL, where country "Kicks 104.1" has shifted to Variety Hits as 104.1 Jack FM, effective at 1:04 p.m. today.
March 2, 2009
Jack FM is on the air on a station set to move into the Tuscaloosa, AL market, as Catfish Country 102.9 (WNPT-FM) flipped to Variety Hits as 102.9 Jack FM on Sunday 3/1/2009.
February 5, 2009
It's been a tough week for the Variety Hits format. All Access reports that 103.5 Jack FM (WXLT), a rimshot to the Carbondale/Marion, IL market, has flipped to sports as ESPN 103.5 FM.
February 4, 2009
Salisbury/Ocean City, MD once had two Variety Hits stations on the air, and now it has none. 107.7 Joe FM flipped to country on Monday, February 2, 2009 as "Hot Country 107.7". The format, which survived a frequency move from 107.5 to 107.7 in July 2008, is now vacant in the market.
February 2, 2009
104.5 Will FM has flipped formats in Wilmington, NC. The station began stunting earlier today with "Here Comes the Sun" by The Beatles playing on repeat leading up to the launch at 10:45 a.m. of the station's new Adult Contemporary format as Sunny 104.5.
January 26, 2009
Jack FM is out in Lubbock, TX, as 105.3 Jack FM (KJDL-FM) has switched formats this morning and flipped to country as True Country 105.3 according to the Taylor on Radio-info e-mail morning newsletter. The flip happened at 6 a.m. CT. Read more details on the flip here.
Country was the format the station had before Brantley Broadcasting flipped to Jack FM on July 1, 2007, but Brantley sold KJDL-FM to Walker Broadcasting in the fall of 2007. Now Walker is putting on a country format that will reportedly concentrate on more local content (a definitive change from the direction in which major market radio is moving).
January 19, 2009
It's another week, another CBS Radio Jack FM station teasing a format flip. This time it was 100.3 Jack FM (KJKK) in Dallas, which ran liners today about the station "reaching an end" in building up to a 5 p.m. announcement that it is offering 100.3 commercial-free minutes of music beginning at 5 p.m. weekdays effective immediately. Last week CBS Radio ran a similar tease for its Jack FM station in Minneapolis/St. Paul.
January 18, 2009
Another Bob FM has defected to the Jack FM camp. According to 100000watts.com, 93.7 Bob FM in Elko, NV (KLKO) rebranded as 93.7 Jack FM on January 1, 2009. Interestingly, as of this writing, the station's website (elkoradio.com)still identifies the station with the Bob FM identity.
January 13, 2009
Three and a half years ago, a new classic hits station debuted in Corpus Christi, TX: 107.3 Jake FM. It used the name-style and approach that many Variety Hits stations utilize, but it didn't fit the criteria I use to determine if a station really belongs in the Variety Hits format listings (as I explained here in June 2005).
Many radio observers had classified the station as "Adult Hits" (the parallel name that many use for Variety Hits stations), and reported it as such with the demise of the station yesterday (which flipped to AC as Star 107.3). Because of that, I wanted to make mention of it on here, though I never considered it a station in the Variety Hits/Adult Hits genre.
January 12, 2009
After teasing a possible change to a new identity at 5 p.m. today as "104.1 the Bear", 104.1 Jack FM (KZJK) in Minneapolis announced that it will be offering a commercial-free hour in the 5 p.m. drive time hour (presumably Monday-Friday only) effective immediately. The people at CBS Radio in Minneapolis went so far as to create a fake website for "104.1 the Bear" and ran liners teasing that "The Bear" would be debuting at 5 p.m. today -- a clever way to use stunting to direct people to the exact timeslot that the station management is working hard to promote.
January 9, 2009
101.1 Bob FM in Williston, ND (KDSR) changed brands on 12/1/2008, becoming 101.1 Jack FM.
105.3 Bob FM (KTWL) in Hempstead, TX has flipped from Variety Hits to country as Texas Mix 105.3. That signal grazed the edge of the Bryan/College Station, TX market, which is covered (albeit in rimshot form) by 103.9 Jack FM (KJXJ) which butts up against the edge of the KTWL city-grade signal range just beyond the College Station city limits, at least according to the maps on radio-locator.com.
December 17, 2008
In Las Vegas the program director of 100.5 Jack FM (KKJJ), Justin Chase, has opted to not renew his contract, which expires at the end of the year. Chase also served as the PD of Hot AC KMXB. Those two stations now fall under the control of Cat Thomas, who continues in his role as program director of CHR (Top 40 for you non-radio people) KLUC.
All Access reports that in St. Louis, 106.5 the Arch (WARH) has a new program director in Kevin Robinson. Most recently Robinson worked for the Audience Development Group.
December 16, 2008
According to Tom Taylor of Radio-Info.com in his morning newsletter, CBS Radio has put Peter Bowen in charge of 104.3 Jack FM (WJMK) in Chicago. Bowen will report to CBS Radio Senior VP/market manager Rod Zimmerman. Less than two weeks ago, longtime Chicago radio personality Steve Dahl exited from his morning show post at WJMK, which is expected to remain jockless in morning drive.
December 15, 2008
This morning the news came out that Clear Channel will be acquiring two major market Jack FM stations from CBS Radio: WQSR in Baltimore and KQJK in Sacramento. It's happening as part of a larger overall swap that will see CBS Radio send the two Jack stations (along with three other stations: KXJM and KLTH in Portland, OR and KBKS in Seattle) to Clear Channel for two stations in Houston: KLOL and KHMX.
The deal is not a lock yet, as it requires approval from federal regulators to go through. But the two companies involved worked long and hard on this, and I suspect that they made sure that they had a deal that they knew would work before announcing to the public that it would work.
Clear Channel was required by the U.S. Department of Justice to spin off the Houston stations as part of its move to become a privately-owned company. CC has only owned one Jack FM station ever, and that was KPRF in Amarillo, which was in the process of being sold off last year when it debuted with the format. That station is now owned by Gap Broadcasting.
While Clear Channel has not been a major player in the Variety Hits format, it has put it on in a few markets, including the wildly successfuly 100.5 Louie FM (WLUE) in Louisville.
December 8, 2008
Milwaukee's 94.5 the Lake (WLWK) has hired J. Pat Miller as the station's new program director and new morning show host, according to All Access. He is slated to start at the station in early 2009.
December 5, 2008
Today was the final day for Steve Dahl doing mornings in Chicago on CBS Radio's 104.3 Jack FM (WJMK). More details are available here. Dahl, 54, is reportedly under contract through the middle of 2011. It appears that CBS Radio is going to go with all music mornings on WJMK, which is the approach taken by the majority of Jack FM stations in the United States.
December 1, 2008
As first announced in October, 105.1 Bill FM (KQBL) in Billings, MT has flipped from Variety Hits to sports as "105.1 KQBL". The station's new format will feature content from ESPN Radio along with the syndicated Dan Patrick show.
November 12, 2008
For the second time since September, a station has switched from Bob FM to Jack FM. The latest to do this is KLXS-FM in Pierre, SD, which flipped yesterday from 95.3 Bob FM to 95.3 Jack FM.
November 6, 2008
Milwaukee now has a Variety Hits station. Today at noon Central Time, longtime Hot AC outlet "94.5 WKTI" (WKTI-FM) shifted to Variety Hits as 94.5 Lake FM. The station has requested new call letters WLWK and is using the slogan "What will we play next?" (with an emphasis on the word "will").
For more on the new station, check out this article by skilled radio analyst Sean Ross.
November 5, 2008
SAM 96.7 (WFRM-FM) in the Olean, NY market is being sold by Farm & Home Broadcasting to Backyard Broadcasting for $325,000. Until recently, the SAM Variety Hits format aired on 106.3 WQRM.
In August 2008, the Colonial Radio Group bought WQRM for $290,000. It began an LMA on the station, which began simulcasting country 103.9 WLMI in September 2008. The SAM format moved to 96.7 WFRM-FM (licensed to Coudersport, PA) on September 15, 2008. That station has a Construction Permit to move to Portville, NY, which will give the station coverage into Olean.
November 3, 2008
There's good ratings news for a few stations in the format from the Summer 2008 ratings book, according to AllAccess.com. 106.5 the Arch (WARH) in St. Louis finished number one in the key Persons 25-54 demographic for the Summer 2008 book (it was also #1 in P18-49). Also, 105.1 Jack FM (KCJK) in Kansas City, finished in the top five in the P25-54 demo.
October 30, 2008
There's a new program director coming to 95.7 Ben FM (WBEN-FM) in Philadelphia, according to allaccess.com. It's Jules Riley, who has program director experience in the format from her run as PD of the successful Bonneville Variety Hits station 106.5 The Arch (WARH) in St. Louis.
October 28, 2008
Walla Walla, WA has lost its Variety Hits outlet, 95.7 Bob FM. The station changed its call letters to KKSR on September 29, 2008, hinting that a move might be on the horizon. That proved to be true, as on October 20, 2008, the station flipped to Adult Contemporary as 95.7 Star FM.
October 27, 2008
Is Entercom planning to bring Variety Hits back to Memphis? The format was on there briefly (September 2006 to June 2007) on Citadel's 98.9 Kim FM (first WMPW and then WKIM) in a female-leaning form until it shifted outright from Variety Hits to Hot AC in June 2007. But, according to a listing on hdradio.com, Entercom plans to bring "Adult Hits Variety" to the forthcoming 99.7 WMC-FM HD2 radio signal that is slated to debut soon in Memphis. No word yet on the specifics of the format or what the station will be called.
One interesting subplot: WMC-FM is a rare station that is licensed to broadcast at a whopping 300,000 watts. HD radio broadcasts (as of now) as 1/10 the strength of the analog signal, but will the WMC-FM HD channels be allowed to broadcast as 30,000 watts? Signal strength has been a challenge for the expansion of HD radio to this point, and it will be interesting to see how it plays out.
October 22, 2008
According to 100000watts.com, brand new station 106.1 WYKY in the Somerset, KY area (technically licensed to Science Hill, KY) has signed on with Variety Hits. According to this article, the station will be known as Somerset 106. The article suggests that the station debuted on 10/17/2008 after having a sneak preview on sister station 1480 WLTO.
October 21, 2008
Clear Channel flipped 92.9 The River (WRDX) in Dover, DE from Classic Hits to Variety Hits as 92.9 Tom FM, effective today. There are relatively few Variety Hits stations in the Clear Channel lineup, though that company has generally found success with the format when they have utilizied it, such as on WLUE in Louisville.
October 20, 2008
Chicago's unique "Nine FM" trimulcast (92.7 WKIE, 99.9 WRZA, and 92.5 WDEK) is dropping its 3,000+ songlist mix that had aired from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily (8 p.m. on Saturdays) and gone Progressive Talk in that timeslot with Ed Schultz, Rachel Maddow, and other liberal/progressive talk show hosts. Nine FM has been referred to in the trades as "Adult Hits", but it certainly didn't fit the Variety Hits mold by playing a large number of songs that were much more obscure than the format typically has. Chicago still has a legit Variety Hits station on CBS-owned 104.3 Jack FM (WJMK).
The trimulcast is keeping its dance music format, with the "Dance Factory" dance format remaining on nights and overnights as it did during the Nine FM era.
October 2, 2008
105.1 Bill FM (KQBL) in Billings, MT is flipping from Variety Hits to Sports as of December 1, 2008, according to All Access. 105.1 Bill FM debuted in August 2005 after going through rock and AAA formats on the signal. When it goes sports, the station will carry ESPN Radio content along with the Dan Patrick show.
September 30, 2008
Gone for more than two years, the Variety Hits format is back on the air in Ft. Wayne, IN. Rhythmic AC "106.3 The Vibe" (WVBB) flipped to Variety Hits as 106.3 Joe FM effective 9/27/2008 according to 100000watts.com. The 106.3 signal in the Ft. Wayne market is one that has seen a slew of formats, though with new owner Russ Oasis (who purchased the station from Artistic Media Partners in November 2007), perhaps some stability has finally arrived for the station.
WVBB is a Class A signal that has what those in the business sometimes refer to as a "small stick" (6,000 watts from a relatively short tower). But it covers the Ft. Wayne metro area with a city-grade signal, something that the last Variety Hits station in the market (102.9 Mike FM) was unable to do with its even weaker signal, which did *not* provide the same city-grade coverage to Ft. Wayne that the new 106.3 Joe FM will offer.
September 29, 2008
The AM simulcast of 95.3 Bob FM (WBPE) on 1410 WSHY in Lafayette, IN has now ended, with WSHY becoming "News/Talk 1410".
September 24, 2008
Variety Hits is on in the UP (upper peninsula) of Michigan. According to 100000watts.com, Radioactive, LLC's new 107.3 WUPF has signed on as 107.3 Jack FM, effective 9/21/2008, in the
Escanaba, MI market.
September 23, 2008
The AM simulcast of 95.3 Bob FM (WBPE) on 1410 WSHY in Lafayette, IN is about to end. The Lafayette Journal and Courier reports that in a few days, 1410 WSHY will begin carrying Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and other top-flight talk programming. The change is in part because of a sale of WSHY by Artistic Media Partners to a group headed by Jeff Holmes. This tip came via the always valuable information resource AllAccess.com.
The long-anticipated station move with 96.1 Chuck FM (WAVF) moving from Charleston, SC to Myrtle Beach, SC and 101.7 WKZQ-FM moving from Myrtle Beach to Charleston has taken place. The Charleston Post and Courier has details of the move here. According to 100000watts.com, that the stations will soon be swapping call letters, though for now 101.7 Chuck FM is technically WKZQ-FM.
September 22, 2008
Congrats to radio programming vet Kevin Weatherly, who has been promoted by CBS Radio in Los Angeles from programming highly successful 93.1 Jack FM (KCBS-FM) and legendary rock station KROQ to VP/Programming for CBS Radio's entire L.A. cluster.
September 16, 2008
Chuck Bortnick has been named Executive Vice-President of Sparknet Communications' Jack FM radio brand, according to a report in All Access. Bortnick has more than 30 years of experience in the radio business. According to the article, Bortnick will be responsible for expanding Jack FM into new markets while also working with Jack FM's radio partner Dial Global and with current Jack FM stations across the United States.
September 15, 2008
It's Bob FM out and Jack FM in on Powell Broadcasting's 102.3 KZSR in Sioux City, IA. After the Bob & Sheri syndicated show ended yesterday at 9 a.m. CT, the station went into three hours of stunting with "Pop Goes The Weasel" before relaunching at noon CT as 102.3 Jack FM.
To my knowledge, this is the first time anywhere in the world that a station has switched from Bob FM to Jack FM.
According to the Sioux City Journal, station general manager Dennis Bullock made the announcement about the switch when the stunting ended at noon.
That was followed by "Jumpin' Jack Flash" by the Rolling Stones, which was the first song to be played on the station under its new Jack FM identity.
Humorously, a report on radio-info.com reveals that Bullock claimed that Jack obtained the station from Bob in a poker game, which is not the first time that Jack supposedly won a radio station via a poker game.
Bob FM originally came to the Sioux City market while owned by NRG Media; Powell Broadcasting obtained control of the staton in January 2007.
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