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News Archive: October 2005

October 4, 2005
In Indianapolis, Entercom flipped Soft Rock 107.9 (WTPI) from AC to what I classify as Classic Hits yesterday as 107.9 The Track. Several sites are citing this as an "Adult Hits" station, which is why I dislike that as a format title, since it can be used as another name for Classic Hits instead of being used in reference to stations with wide playlists from several genres. Indianapolis already has a Variety Hits station, 104.5 Jack FM (WJJK).

October 6, 2005
There have been a number of developments in the format in the past few days. Waitt Radio Networks and Commonwealth Radio have teamed up to offer a syndicated version of the Bob FM Variety Hits radio format for markets 50 and above. Localized content will be offered for each affiliate, according to the press release.

Speaking of localized satellite feeds, the satellite-distributed JACK-FM (by ABC for markets 42 and above) has signed on two new affiliates. The first one signed on yesterday at noon EDT in Knoxville, as the former Oldies simulcast of WTXM-FM/WRMX-FM (Oldies 95.7 & 106.7) flipped to Variety Hits as 95.7 Jack FM (without the 106.7 frequency mentioned, for some reason). The second happened today, with Adventure Radio's WGCO in the Savannah, GA market going JACK-FM at 10 AM EDT at 98.3 Jack FM (dropping its former Oldies format). This marks only the second time that there's been a head-to-head Variety Hits battle in a market (Los Angeles being the first).

Westwood One's SAM Radio has landed a new affiliate, as today Vox Communication's WZXI in the Staunton, VA area (which was formerly an FM Talk station) returned from silence with Variety Hits as SAM 95.5. However, the station is retaining the syndicated Bob & Sheri morning show, which it had in its previous FM Talk incarnation.

One case of When Worlds Collide: the Bob & Tom show debuted this week on 103.9 Ted FM in Columbus, OH. I also run a Hot Talk radio site, and this is the first time that one of the shows from there has matched up with one of the stations here (with the exception of the stations that were contractually obligated to carry the Howard Stern show after flipping to the format).

October 8, 2005
South Central is going strong with the JACK-FM format, as it put the satellite-fed version on 107.1 WYXY in the Evansville, IN market yesterday. South Central has an LMA with the station, which previously carried Salem's Contemporary Christian Music satellite-fed presentation. I went to college at the University of Evansville from 1995-1999, and I told anyone who would listen that I thought that Variety Hits would do great there. We'll see if it turns out that I'm correct on that prediction. WYXY isn't the best signal there, as it comes in from the east and doesn't give city-grade coverage to all of Evansville. My old college station, WUEV, has a superior signal for the Evansville metro. But if JACK-FM proves to be a success there, perhaps 107.1 Jack FM will move elsewhere on the dial on down the line.

October 12, 2005
Hot AC Mix 100.7 (WMTX) in my hometown of Tampa is experimenting with Variety Hits, using a modified Variety Hits/Hot AC currents presentation for the entirety of October. This will actually be an interesting litmus test, as Tampa seems like a market where the format would be unlikely to succeed, given that there is already an 80s station, a Classic Hits station, an Oldies station that plays 60s-80s, and a classic rocker on the air here. There are still songs that fall through the cracks, but the Cox 80s format is what is primarily blocking it from coming on in big markets like Houston and Tampa. But if this helps Mix have a spike in the ratings... who knows what will happen.

There have been rumors that WZXI (SAM 95.5 in Staunton, VA) is going to change its call letters to WSAM-FM (Vox Communications would have to get permission from McDonald Broadcasting, which has the calls in place on a station in Michigan), but thus far there is no evidence that the calls have switched there. The station's webmaster wrote to let me know that they have a website: Sam955.com, which reiterates that the station clears the incumbent Bob & Sheri syndicated morning show.

Finally, 103.9 Ted FM from Columbus, OH is now streaming (see the streaming section for that), though it does not stream the Bob & Tom show.

October 25, 2005
JACK-FM debuted in Sacramento today, as it began after the end of the Howard Stern show on Howard 93.7 (KHWD). The new calls there will be KQJK. Stern remains in morning drive there (through the end of his deal with Infinity Broadcasting), just as he is on the Infinity-owned Jack stations in Buffalo and Fresno. Those stations will go to a music-based morning show format once Stern leaves for Sirius Satellite Radio.

Also, WOMP-FM in Wheeling has picked up the satellite-fed JACK-FM format, effective today. With the move, the station dropped its longtime WOMP-FM call letters for WYJK-FM.

October 26, 2005
Add another station to the satellite JACK-FM list: Star 107.1 (KESR) in Redding, CA flipped to 107.1 Jack FM yesterday.

October 31, 2005
In a major move in the radio industry, Cumulus Broadcasting announced today that it is purchasing Susquehanna Broadcasting. I mention this here because Susquehanna owns JACK-FM formatted stations in both Kansas City and Indianapolis, while Cumulus does not have a single Variety Hits station.

The Knoxville JACK-FM simulcast has undergone a double call letter switch (as of October 28, 2005): 95.7 WTXM-FM is now WQJK, while 106.7 WRMX-FM has become WRJK.

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