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News Archive: October 2006

October 31, 2006
I've updated the Wausau/Stevens Point, WI market to reflect the change that happened late last month, where WOFM added a simulcast on WIZD and rebranded as 94.7/99.9 The Valley. It's an interesting situation there, as The Valley goes head-to-head with JACK-FM in Stevens Point.

If anyone reading this thought that this format didn't have legs... so far, it is holding up. For example, I'm told that in St. Louis, WARH finished #2 in the summer book in P25-54 and W25-54. Not bad.

October 23, 2006
This morning All Access reported that Ken Benson has been hired as the International License Administrator for the JACK-FM brand. Earlier this month, Absolute Radio in England won a license for a new FM signal in the Oxford, Oxfordshire area that will become the UK's first Jack FM when the station goes on the air. Also pending is an application by Liverpool Radio 105.9, Ltd. to acquire a forthcoming license release for a signal on 105.9 in Liverpool. The placement of Benson in this role seems to suggest that more JACK-FM expansion overseas is likely; Benson has held executive-level jobs at a number of companies, including MTV and Citadel.

Meanwhile, Reid Reker is taking over as the representative for JACK-FM brand in the United States. JACK-FM has unique, locally-produced JACK-FM station content in many of the Top 40 markets in the United States (along with grandfathered non-Top 40 markets Nashville and Jackson, MS) and a satellite-delivered feed (via ABC) for all other JACK-FM stations. Reker most recently worked as the Market Manager for CBS Radio in San Antonio, TX.

A couple of sub-pages on here have received updates; Mancow remains on at Windsor, MO Variety Hits 98.5 Mike FM; a station employee contacted me and explained that Mancow grew up in nearby Warrensburg and got his start on sister station 1450 KOKO, so there is a local connection to keeping him on KWKJ, even with the unusual pairing with the format. Also, 95.1 Mike FM (KMXL) in Joplin, MO actually debuted on 3/29/2006 (not 1/1/2006 as originally reported), which was the day before the start of the Spring 2006 ratings book there.

October 16, 2006
Jack FM is coming to England. In a major victory for the format, Absolute Radio won the rights to a new commercial FM license for the Oxford, Oxfordshire market. The license will allow Jack FM to broadcast on a main frequency of 106.8 (yes, they have even-numbered dial positions in the UK) at 500 watts and a repeater (106.4) at 250 watts.

There's no word on when 106.8 Jack FM will debut, but according to Ofcom regulations, it is expected to do so at the "earliest opportunity" and no later than two years from the awarding of the license (October 2008.)

Absolute Radio, which already owns Passion 107.9 in the market, announced that it plans to significantly reduce its costs by sharing resources between the two stations, much like what consolidation (two FMs per owner instead of just one) allowed for in the United States in the early 1990s.

To clear up any confusion, the change made by Centennial Broadcasting in the Roanoke/Lynchburg, VA market had nothing to do with Adult/Variety Hits. It moved oldies "Bob FM" to a different frequency in the market, but that Bob FM is not the same as the Bob FM that is the second-largest Variety Hits brand in the world.

October 4, 2006
Variety Hits is on in Chico, CA. It replaced CHR on 92.7 KLRS (Colors 92.7 FM) today, debuting as 92.7 Bob FM.

October 3, 2006
Changes have taken place at 104.5 Jack FM (WJJK) in Indianapolis. The station has dropped the "Playing What We Want" tagline along with most (but not all) of the Howard Cogan liners, and it is now being presented as "Classic Hits 104.5 Jack FM." From the best I can tell, the shift happened on September 21, 2006. The station had been Variety Hits since March 2005; Cumulus Media obtained the station when it acquired Susquehanna Radio's stations in May 2006.

It appears that the playlist has moved to a tighter 70s/80s based traditional Classic Hits presentation. Just now they did a sweeper with three songs: "More Than A Feeling" by Boston (1976), "American Pie" by Don McLean (1971), and "Dirty Deeds" by AC/DC (released in 1976, became US hit in 1981.) The most recent song I've run across in the new presentation is "Love In An Elevator" by Aerosmith, which came out in 1989.

The shift from Variety Hits to Classic Hits while retaining the Jack FM name is not unprecedented. CJET-FM in Smiths Falls, Ontario did just that on November 2, 2005, though in that case the station retained the "Playing What We Want" tagline.

As for now, the other JACK-FM station that Cumulus inherited from Susquehanna, KCJK in Kansas City, has retained the "Playing What We Want" tagline and Variety Hits format.

93.5 KRMS-FM in Osage Beach, MO flipped from Classic Rock as "93.5 KRMS" to Variety Hits as 93.5 Mike FM on September 30, with new call letters KMYK.

Finally, I've added Q-95.7 (KSQB-FM) in Sioux Falls, SD, which slowly segued to Variety Hits from AC beginning in mid-2005, gradually enough that it didn't cross my radar until the PD (Big Scott Allen) took the time to contact me to let me know its current status.

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