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News Archive: August 2006

August 2, 2006
Rockford, Illinois classic rock WYHY (Y95) flipped to Variety Hits as Bob FM at 9 AM CDT on 8/1/2006. Joel Folger is the station's consultant, and imaging was handled by Stones River Production. The move sends the syndicated Bob & Tom to rock-formatted sister station 104.9 The X (WRXR), where it debuted this morning.

Also, I'm told that the Will FM name that debuted late last month in Jacksonville, NC is going to show up on stations flipping to the format in other markets in the not too-distant future.

August 7, 2006
Classic Hits KBYO-FM (B 104.5) in the Vicksburg, MS market flipped to Variety Hits last Tuesday as SAM 104.5, with new call letters KLSM. The station's KBYO-FM calls moved to 92.3 Joe FM (formerly KWJM), which is in the adjacent Monroe, LA market. It's not clear at this point if 92.3 Joe FM retained its name and format with the move, or if the entire Classic Hits format shifted over one market.

August 8, 2006
Yakima, WA has a Variety Hits station as of yesterday. New Northwest Broadcasters' AC-formatted Star 105.7 (KRSE) picked up the Bob FM satellite feed, becoming 105.7 Bob FM.

August 10, 2006
NRC Broadcasting flipped Steamboat Springs, CO modern rocker 95.9 The Mountain (KIDN-FM) to Variety Hits as 95.9 Jack FM (using the ABC satellite feed) on 8/8/2006.

The only case of Jack FM being on the AM dial is history, as 870 KJMP in Ft. Collins dropped its bizarre simulcast of KJAC (which targets Denver but provides city-grade coverage to Ft. Collins and Cheyenne) on 7/17/2006 to become a simulcast of Oldies KRRR in Cheyenne. Besides the notion of Jack FM on the AM dial being strange, KJMP fell entirely within the broadcast radius of KJAC, rendering it redundant.

Myrtle Beach's 104.9 WYNA split from being a Hot AC simulcast (as Cool 104.9 & 100.7 with partner station WGTN-FM) to go Variety Hits on 8/8/2006 as 104.9 Bob FM. WGTN-FM remains Hot AC as Cool 100.7 (though its signal doesn't reach the Myrtle Beach metro.) This station (along with WILT/Wilmington and WYHY/Rockford) is the third sign-on in three weeks for consultant Joel Folger.

August 13, 2006
95.3 Bob FM in Rockford changed call letters from WYHY to WRTB on 8/9/2006.

Also, 80s WGNX in Vero Beach, FL acquired new call letters WJKD on 8/10/2006. After the call letter change tipoff by Keymarket Communications for WYJK (working as a placeholder for what became WYJK-FM 100.5 Jack FM in the Wheeling market), I pay attention to call letter shifts where a "JK" is involved.

August 14, 2006
Prophetic! The call letter change by 80s WGNX in Vero Beach to WJKD did in fact give away a forthcoming change to Variety Hits, as the station became 99.7 Jack FM as of today. According to All Access, OM/PD Pete DeGraff is overseeing the station, which will air programming from the ABC satellite feed.

August 18, 2006
For the first time, an affiliate of one of the three satellite feeds (Jack, Bob and SAM) has dropped the format. WZXI in Staunton, VA flipped from Variety Hits as SAM 95.5 to begin simulcasting Oldies 106.3 WBOP under the name Oldies 95.5. It also dropped the Bob & Sheri morning show, which it carried for the duration of the format on that station and had dating back to it being an FM Talk outlet.

The reason for the drop? According to VARTV.com, the 106.3 signal recently received approval to move from Churchville, VA to Keswick, VA, which will give it clearance in the Charlottesville, VA market. Vox has been operating WBOP on 106.3 via a LMA with Force 5 Communications; it's unclear what the new format on 106.3 will be when the station moves, but the simulcast is not expected to continue. 106.3 is expected to go dark in preparation for the move at midnight on Thursday, August 31. I'm not sure at this point if Vox will still have an LMA on the station when it debuts in the new market.

A new station that crept up on me is 94.3/92.5 The Fox (WFCX/WFDX) in Traverse City, MI (and points east.) It's not often that you have a 100kw C1 signal as half of a simulcast (and the less promoted part), but that's the case here, as 92.5 (WFDX) blankets several counties in the northern part of the state, with a signal that reaches Cheboygan and the edge of the Upper Peninsula. Someone from the station personally contacted me saying that the station has evolved from Classic Hits to Variety Hits, and in particular with this, We call the format "Northern Michigan's Greatest Hits" and use a liner that says: "It doesn't have to be old to be a classic." I'll give it a provisional nod for now; I'm told that the station will be streaming within 30 days.

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August 23, 2006
Variety Hits is on in Mobile, AL. Oldies 106 The Wave (106.5 WAVH) in Mobile abruptly dropped its Oldies format to begin stunting as Jimmy 106.5, playing all Jimmy Buffett music the morning of Friday, August 18, 2006. That stunting lasted until Monday, August 21, 2006, when the station relaunched with Variety Hits as 106.5 The Pirate. All Access reports that Charlie Ocean will remain with the station as the Program Director.

Also, CBS Radio is selling its two stations in San Antonio, News/Talk KTSA and Variety Hits 102.7 Jack FM (KJXK), to Border Media Partners for a reporter $45 million. Border specializes in Spanish-language formats, and I worry about the long-term future of Jack FM on 102.7, regardless of how it fares in the ratings.

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August 24, 2006
Along with Oxford, England attempting to land Jack FM, there's also an application in for the 105.9 signal in Liverpool, England. To take a rather fascinating look at the makeup format, read this .pdf file. Note that the British Jack FM will include some 60s material (though very fringe, matching the recurrents used on the modern end.)

All Access reports that Ft. Wayne is about to lose its Variety Hits outlet, 102.9 Mike FM (WXKE), effective August 31, 2006. The station will flip to a simulcast of Adult Standards WGL (1250 The River) and the WXKE call letters will be moving to the 103.9 frequency, resurrecting Rock 104 in the market. Adult Standards had been the format on 102.9 prior to the debut of Mike FM.

To be fair, 102.9 Mike FM is a rimshot from the southwest part of the market (city of license: Huntington, IN), and with its Class A signal it doesn't prove even half of Allen County, IN, or more than a portion of Ft. Wayne, with a city-grade signal. WGL has a booming daytime signal, but its nighttime signal is limited and thus adding the FM simulcast will allow for better nighttime coverage to the west of Ft. Wayne. No announcement has been made concerning what the new call letters of 102.9 will be, but WGL-FM wouldn't surprise me in the least.

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August 31, 2006
It's over in Ft. Wayne for 102.9 Mike FM. The station changed call letters from WXKE to WWGL and began simulcasting 1250 The River and its Standards format.

According to multiple reports, SAM 94.7 (WELK) in Elkins, WV has dropped the SAM satellite feed and flipped to Oldies using the Westwood One Oldies channel (WW1 also distributes SAM.) 100000watts.com reports it as having happened in early July, though the other reports I've heard say that the flip happened closer to this past weekend. (Update: I'm told that the flip took place on July 20, 2006, so that settles that.)

It's not all negative news for the format, however. Another Bob FM is here, this time in Greenwood, MS where classic rock 99.1 Max FM became 99.1 Bob FM.

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