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Friday, July 07, 2006

Major shakeup to Houston's CHR 104.1 KRBE

UPDATE (7/13): Former Houston radio air talent, Dave E. Crockett (93Q KKBQ, 95.7 KIKK, Mix 96.5 KHMX, 107.5 KLDE among others) stops by the mikemcguff blog to provide some analysis and opinion on this week's radio happenings.

UPDATE (7/12): Roula and Ryan are the new morning show for 104.1 KRBE. READ MORE.

The Houston Business Journal reports that Atom Smasher and longtime morning host, Maria Todd are out at Houston CHR 104.1 KRBE:
Citing market research and "evolving market conditions," Cumulus Media Partners Market Manager Patrick Fant says a new morning team will greet listeners on July 24. Atlanta-based Cumulus Media (Nasdaq:CMLS) owns KRBE.

Smasher, previously the afternoon radio host for the popular station, took over the morning slot last year when radio personality Sam Malone left the station to pursue a morning position at rival station 96.5 KHMX.

"We are taking steps to ensure KRBE's continued market dominance, in pursuit of an audience that will reflect the vibrant personality of our city while serving the needs of our advertisers," Fant said in a statement. "Our decision is based on research and a review of evolving market conditions, and we are confident that our new, world-class morning show lineup will take the station to even greater heights while engaging an even bigger audience."

In Houston, Cumulus Media Partners owns and operates 104 KRBE (KRBE-FM), Rock 103.7 (KIOL-FM), and SuperTalk 97.5 (KFNC-FM).

Saturday update:
The Houston Chronicle's Andrew Guy talked with KRBE's Pat Fant who said research showed the duo's appeal was slipping:
"As good as they are, they had a specific appeal with the 25 and under (age) range," said Patrick Fant, market manager for Cumulus Media Partners, which has owned KRBE since May. "We're hoping to broaden that a bit. We're about to introduce the market's next big thing."

He added the new show will feature "more lifestyle-oriented content that would appeal to families, teens (and) appeal to both men and women. Just a broader reach overall."

I thought Atom Smasher was very talented when he worked the KBE night shift. In fact, I would go as far as to say he was one of the best jocks in town then and I'm not a huge fan of the format. Heck, I knew people way out of KRBE's demo that would listen to his shock jock show. Hopefully we hear more of him in Houston.

The morning show change is the most public, but just one of the changes at KRBE recently. The station's program director, Tracy Austin, just announced she's out of there this week:
In a surprise move, Cumulus mainstream top 40 KRBE PD Tracy Austin has announced that she will exit the station when her contract expires at the end of August, for a programming position in Oz.

She will join top 40 Nova 106.9, owned by DMG Radio, in Brisbane, Australia.
Another change? KRBE Vice President/General Manager, Mark Shecterle, left last May before Cumulus Media bought out former owner Susquehanna.

Then in June, longtime DJ Scott Sparks changed jobs says FMQB:
At Cumulus CHR KRBE Houston, MD Leslie Whittle adds the 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. shift and Tracy Austin hits the air from 1 p.m. - 3 p.m. as midday talent Scott Sparks segues to Cumulus-Houston Director/Non-Traditional Revenue for KRBE, Rock KIOL and Talk KFNC.
Now there are other rumors about him going around the net chatboards on where he might show up next.

Who will wake Houston up on 104.1 KRBE in the mornings? Will Roula and Ryan make their promised comeback? Will KRBE change formats?

It's doubtful on the format change. COMMENT: Click to leave your thoughts on this post here