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News Archive: November 2005

November 1, 2005
Pittsburgh now has a Variety Hits station. VarietyHits.com can confirm that 97 RRK (WRRK), which had a classic rock format, relaunched at midnight today as 96.9 Bob FM. Pittsburgh was a market that was primed for a Variety Hits station, and that format hole has now been filled. Here's the press release about the change, including the first 13 songs played under the new format.

November 2, 2005
There's a new SAM affiliate, according to All Access, as KMDZ in Las Vegas, NM (not to be confused with the more famous Las Vegas in Nevada) flipped from Classic Rock as Z96 to Variety Hits yesterday morning as SAM 96.7. All Access also reports that there will be "a couple more" SAM stations coming on board in the next few weeks.

Sean Ross of Edison Media Research has an excellent article online here that looks at the Variety Hits format in the United States, two years following its debut in Honolulu, HI. Ross uses excellent examples of ratings and playlists to back up his arguments, and it's one of the best articles that I've read to-date on the topic. Any newspaper columnist wanting to do a story about the format would be well advised to read Ross' article in order to properly understand the background and context of the format within the contemporary American terrestrial radio landscape.

November 9, 2005
Ian March reports that 92.3 Jack FM (CJET-FM) in Smiths Falls, Ontario has shifted its playlist to a 60s/70s lean, with only 2-3 80s tracks per hour and nothing newer. This is a depature from the norm for Jack FM, but the station is in a bit of an unusual situation given its small market status in Canada. Also, I'm not sure to what degree 93.9 Bob FM (CKKL) out of Ottawa overlaps into Smith Falls, but I wonder if the CKKL signal may be a factor.

As it is, fybush.com reported in 2004 that CJET-FM was banned under a condition of its license from soliciting advertising in the Ottawa market, thanks to the strict rules of the CRTC. But it doesn't mean that a similar station coming from Ottawa wouldn't potentially influence the local programming decisions of 92.3 Jack FM. There's not a Radio-Locator.com equivalent for Canada, so if someone in the area can give specifics, I'd appreciate it.

November 11, 2005
I've delisted CJET-FM in Smiths Falls, Ontario as a Variety Hits station. It is now a Classic Hits station that simply continues to use the JACK-FM branding and imaging, but for the purposes of this site, keeping the JACK-FM name does not automatically make a station have a Variety Hits format.

November 14, 2005
107.1 Jack FM in Evansville, IN has changed its call letters from WYXY to WEJK, effective November 11, 2005. Also, I'm told that the long-anticipated shift by Clear Channel of the WMAX-FM call letters from 97.3/99.3 Max FM in Chattanooga, TN to 96.1 Max FM in Grand Rapids, MI will happen on Wednesday, November 16. I don't know what the new calls will be for Chattanooga; in theory Clear Channel could restore the WMXF-FM call letters that used to be on the Chattanooga station, since those remain vacant (and Clear Channel has the WMXF calls on an AM station in North Carolina.)

November 15, 2005
Somehow I missed the debut of SAM 106.7 in Glasgow, KY in August. It debuted on 106.7 WHHT on August 1, 2005 (replacing Soft AC "Magic 106.7"); AllAccess.com reports that Commonwealth Broadcasting moved SAM from WHHT to the stronger 100.7 signal (WKLX, which unlike WHHT has city-grade coverage into Bowling Green, KY) on November 11. The Hot AC "100.7 Star FM" satellite-fed (JRN) format that had been there switched places with it, sliding up to the 106.7 spot (though most of the old Star audience won't be able to hear it over on 106.7's weak Class A signal.)

November 16, 2005
Clear Channel has moved the WMAX-FM call letters from 97.1 Max FM in Chattanooga, TN to 96.3 Max FM in Grand Rapids, MI, replacing that station's now-former WVTI call letters. The new calls for the Chattanooga station are WNGA.

All Access reports that J.J. Jackson, who previously did afternoons on Oldies WLCL in Atlanta, is heading to Louisville to do mornings on 100.5 Louie FM.

November 21, 2005
As station managers wait for the Fall 2005 ratings to trickle in, the news has been rather slow as of late as far as format changes go. 100000watts.com reports that NRG Media's KMTY in Holdrege, NE flipped from Oldies to Variety Hits as 97.7 Bob FM (today?), with its Oldies format moving to 1380 KUVR (also licensed to Holdrege) and displacing the Soft AC format which had aired there. The station has city-grade coverage into the town of Kearney, NE, but it doesn't fall into any Arbitron-rated market area, which is probably why it is the only station to have made a switch with this format in the United States in the past three weeks.

November 28, 2005
One of the more unusual simulcasts in the United States, Country formatted 93.1 (KWCC in Muscatine, IA)/94.7 (KZEG in Clinton, IA) "The Eagle", flipped to Variety Hits at 1 PM Central today as 93.1/94.7 Mac FM. New calls are in place for both stations, with 94.7 changing to KMCN (for Mac North) and 93.1 changing to KMCS (for Mac South.)

What makes the simulcast so unusual is that there is a large gap between the two signals that falls in Davenport, IA, and most of the Quad Cities market that rests along the Iowa/Illinois border. Despite that gap, the station's website bills itself as targeting the Quad Cities market. As the website explains, "Both stations will be mirror-casting by playing the same playlist of songs at the same time. Because the stations are from Muscatine and Clinton they are called MaC." No, that's not a typo: the website refers to it as MaC in multiple references, though the logo has no such bizarre lettering distinction. I'm going to follow the lead of 100000watts.com and simply refer to it as 94.7/93.1 Mac FM (since the 94.7 signal seems to get top billing.)

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