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News Archive: September 2007

September 1, 2007
Shocker! Heritage rock station 96 Wave (96.1 WAVF) in Charleston, SC abruptly dropped modern rock (and, presumably, the incumbent "Free Beer and Hot Wings" syndicated morning show) at 5:00 p.m. EDT on Friday 8/31/2007 to go Variety Hits as 96.1 Chuck FM. The station is streaming live as of this writing from the old 96 Wave website.

In its 22+ year existence, 96 Wave maintained a rock format. WAVF signed on with an Album Oriented Rock format in March 1985 as 96 Wave following a week of stunting with ocean wave sounds.

With the alternative rock format that swept the United States in the early 1990s, the station shifted from the dying AOR format to the growing alternative (also known as modern rock) format in 1993, though it kept the established 96 Wave name.

The last song played on 96 Wave prior to the flip was "My Wave" by Soundgarden. The first song played on Chuck FM was "Take This Job And Shove It" by Johnny Paycheck. According to radio-online.com, 96 Wave program director Lance Hale will remain with the new station in the same role.

The Chuck FM name is clever enough since sometimes Charleston is referred to as "Chucktown", but what makes this odd is that the station is slated to change its city of license from Hanahan, SC to Forestbrook, SC and drop its massive class C signal (100,000 watts from a height of 1777') to go to a C2 status at 26,000 watts from a height of only 492', and in the process lose its coverage of Charleston (moving to cover the Myrtle Beach, SC market.)

Why in the world would any station owner agree to this, since there's no way to get a 100kw flamethrower like that back ever again?!? The explanation is complicated, but the reason is because the end result will mean a two-for-three station switch as far as stations covering the Charleston, SC market involving multiple station owners.

A message board post I found summed it up like this:

-Orangeburg/Bamberg loses 95.7 WWBD (which moves to 95.9)
-Charleston loses 96.1 WAVF and 107.5 WNKT
-Myrtle Beach loses 101.7 WKZQ-FM

-Charleston gets 95.9 (WWBD), move-in 101.7 WKZQ-FM (which takes the Halahan city of license vacated by WAVF), and 107.3 WMGL (which moves from the 101.7 frequency it currently has squeezed in covering Charleston)
-Myrtle Beach gets the majorly downgraded 96.1 WAVF
-Columbia, SC gets 107.5 WNKT (which will have city-grade coverage into at least Orangeburg)

So why mention all of this? Because there's no logical reason to brand a station as Chuck FM if is about to move out of Charleston. Either this is a temporary holder format (like George FM in Washington, DC) or, more likely, Chuck FM will end up on another frequency in the Charleston market. The idea of the Chuck FM name is tied directly to Charleston, so having it move to Myrtle Beach would be counter-intuitive, particularly since Variety Hits is already on the air there with Fidelity Broadcasting's 104.9/100.7 Bob FM.

Columbia already has a Variety Hits station in the form of Clear Channel's 96.7 Steve FM (which has been there 2+ years as of this writing), so the odds of Chuck FM ending up there would appear remote.

My guess: the 96.1 Chuck FM format will end up on on 101.7 (with the WKZQ-FM rock format moving to 96.1 FM when the switch happens), as Apex will get the 101.7 license and NextMedia will obtain 96.1 after the swap. It is more complex than that, but for the purpose of analyzing the move, it suffices.

Forthcoming moves aside, for now Variety Hits is on in Charleston on an incredibly powerful signal. Charleston, SC residents, enjoy it while you can.


September 2, 2007
According to multiple media sources, NRG Media is selling 97.7 Bob FM KMTY in Holdrege, NE to Armada Media, along with another FM station and two AM outlets (including 1380 KUVR, where the Oldies format that preceded Bob FM on KMTY ended up after the debut of Bob FM), for $4.5 million. There's no word on when the transaction will be complete or if the move will impact the Variety Hits format presently airing on KMTY.

I've been told that brand new station 95.9 KAJR, owned by A & J Media, is launching (or has already launched) with Variety Hits as 95.9 Jack FM. Billboards were reported for the station from 8/28/07, so the subsequent launch is no surprise.


September 27, 2007
Plenty of updates...

103.7 Jack FM in Houston changed call letters from KIOL to KHJK on 09/12/2007.

KJAV 104.9 Alamo TX flipped from rhythmic oldies as Groovin' 104.9 to Variety Hits as Jack FM on 9/14/2007. Its former simulcast parner, 95.3 KZSP/South Padre Island, TX, dropped that arrangement when the flip occured and is now simulcasting News-Talk 710 KURV/Edinburg, TX.

Despite mislabeling, the new 104.3 My FM (KBIG/Los Angeles) in L.A. is a retooled Hot AC station, *not* a Variety Hits or "Adult Hits" station. Because "Adult Hits" is a phrase that essentially defines Hot AC, I've always disliked it compared with "Variety Hits" (and not just because I own the URL VarietyHits.com) -- I find it to be misleading in situations like this.

In an interesting move, 95.7 Ben FM (WBEN-FM/Philadelphia) is now going commercial free every Monday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., according to multiple media sources.


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