Thursday, November 03, 2011

New News92 FM, Houston's biggest radio secret emerges



I was sent a logo for the new News92 FM KROI I first told you about last Friday. Yes, this radio station, which was developed in secret, (even people I talked to who work there played dumb over the phone to me in the last month) is close to its November 14th debut.

Ken Hoffman talked with the people in charge of News92 FM KROI for a behind the scenes account of how it all came together:

"This project started Memorial Day weekend. I was crabbing with my children in Port Aransas when our CEO, Alfred Liggins, called me and said we need to do something different with the 92.1 frequency," Radio One vice president Doug Abernethy said.

"You can imagine my surprise when he said he was thinking of all news, not what our company typically does. We created a series of five-year plans with ratings and revenue projections. We discovered tremendous upside and green-lighted the project in late July. We quickly began securing our roster of tremendously talented news people. Once the on-air team was assembled, we secured a secret off-site location where the staff began dress rehearsals. We were surprised by how we were able to keep this a secret until rumors only recently started circulating." READ THE REST

On air talent Brent Clanton talks about the secrecy element, comparing it to “The Skunk Works,” an alias for the top-secret research and development headquarters of Lockheed Martin Aircraft during WW II through the Cold War.

For the past few weeks, I have been working at an undisclosed location on a very exciting Radio project, which you now know will be Houston’s newest 24-hour all-news station, News92fm.

My colleagues and I have been bound by a legal, non-disclosure agreement to disavow any knowledge of this, if asked, and it’s been quite fun to dodge questions by answering, in a stern-faced manner, “I am under a legal NDA, and I cannot comment.”

Another look at the new all 24 hour news station is from staffer Laurie Kendrick. I actually linked to her blog post earlier this week, but thought it was so good, I'd feature more fully here:

The youngest person in the on air reporter/anchor division is in his late 30′s. Everyone else is in their 40s, 50′s and 60′s. This is a well seasoned roster of professionals, from all walks of life, all with more than enough real world experience under their belts. I’ve worked with many of these people before. They’re family and I’m getting to know the others who I’ve listened to or watched over the past two decades I’ve lived in Houston. They are rapidly becoming family. The vibe is good at this place and so far, management seems fair and accomodating. Finally, a broadcast entity who “gets it”. Age CAN be a plus.

We’ve all gathered for training over the past few weeks. Recently, I looked around the room and saw so much experience, literally etched on do many faces. A wrinkle here, a double chin there. True, we’re not the flawless specimens we used to be, but then again, like wine, we’ve aged…and we’re better. Calmer, more dependable. We can now dictate life (well, sort of) and we’re not as victimized by it’s capriciousness. That’s one of the plusses of getting older. You get to make a deal with life. You develop a mutual understanding. Life starts to give you more freedom and trust me, there IS freedom in no longer needing to be all the things your youth demanded that you be.

And what makes this new venture even better, is how Radio One is handling it. They’re not firing anyone employed at the gospel station; employees will be absorbed within the company. And they’re being very considerate to the fans of the soon to be former gospel station by keeping it on the air, via a side component; a high-definition frequency at a different dial position. To make that work for the audience, Radio One is shelling out an untold amount of money to buy high def radios that will be distributed throughout the community, absolutely gratis. They’re also sending corporate liaisons into the community to explain why a Black gospel format has been replaced by an all news one. READ THE REST
Rumors are going around we could see some changes at 740 KTRH to answer News 92 FM KROI. We'll have to wait and see if this happens. Also, as you can tell from the above logo, the website will eventually be News92FM.com.

As mentioned in my earlier post, the station employs some well known names in Houston broadcasting. The morning news will be anchored by Texas Radio Hall of Fame honorees J.P. Pritchard and Lana Hughes, who served the Houston market as a broadcast duo for over 27 years. Additional duties throughout the day will be handled by other local notables including (listed alphabetically) Mike Barajas (formerly of Fox 26 KRIV), Scott Braddock (formerly of 740 KTRH, 1080 KLRD), Carolyn Campbell (KHOU 11), Kevin Charles (Metro Networks,700 KSEV), Brent Clanton (formerly of 650 KIKK, 700 KSEV), Lanny Griffith (formerly of 101 KLOL, 94.5 KTBZ, Fox 26 KRIV), Laurie Kendrick (740 KTRH, 101 KLOL, 97.5 KFNC) , Martha Martinez (101 KLOL), Bonnie Petrie (740 KTRH, 1080 KRLD), Matt Sampsell Fox 26 KRIV, KIAH 39), Pattie Shieh (Fox 26 KRIV), Meteorologist Dr. Joe Sobel, Craig Roberts (KPRC 2, 101 KLOL, 55 KTBU), and Jorge Vargas (KIAH 39).

9 comments:

  1. I can't wait for this format to sign on. I used to listen to KTRH, but I can't listen to these Bozos they have in the morning now. Can't even remember their names. That goes for the rest of their programming now as well. Good luck 92FM!

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  2. I think this will work for Radio One, as long as they post guards at the door with orders to shoot certain former KTRH managers on sight.

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  3. craig roberts gets another one

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  4. I feel Radio One could be one of the few radio companies that has not taken the "cheapest path". They could have canned the old Gospel staff and saved a few bucks. How many format flips can any one name lately in a major market that has not resulted in a couple of people being released? They did the right thing by not just taking the Gospel off and leaving their listeners but they are buying HD radios so those listeners still can listen. Radio One is going with a quality on air staff and should have a good on air product. Be honest how many air staffs have been shown the door because the station could syndicate, voice track, or use a satellite service not because it was better but it was cheaper! It is good to see someone try quality over cheap.

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  5. THIS IS THE BEST TALENT. I AM SO HAPPY TO READ THAT THEY ARE RETURNING. ESPECIALL MIKE BARRAJAS AND LANNY AND JP AND LANA.MUCH SUCESS TO ALL OF YOU GUYS AND RADIO ONE.

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  6. The new staff is a who's who list of everyone treated badly by the Houston TV and Radio market. It's especially gratifying to see several victims of Channels 39's bloodbath of news last March among those newly rediscovered. It's a list of impressive talent and they have my best wishes for success and a long, long run!

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  7. So will Mike Barajas be doing phoners from Alaska?

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  8. I cannot wait! I miss my Lana and JP in the morning...a morning routine (for me) for over 20 years. It's about time someone snatched up all that good Houston-area talent and let it shine. Kuddos to you KROI.

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