Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Rock 101 KLOL back on air?

I'm getting lots of questions about a website and corresponding social media accounts that recently popped up concerning Rock 101 KLOL. The site is actually called Rock101KLOL.com and is now streaming music from the station's past.

I checked with Pat Fant, the guy who signed KLOL on the air in the 70s, and he knew nothing about it.

Turns out the new online station is run by a guy named Heath Bilbrey who is a computer network engineer (although he formerly worked at KJOJ in The Woodlands) and doesn't even live in the area anymore. Now that is some KLOL passion!

"KLOL was not just a radio station, it was a cultural experience for many who call Houston home," Bilbrey told mikemcguff.com. "I believe that analog terrestrial stations are dead and it is only a matter of time before the Internet Stations take the majority of the market share."

Heath is looking to bring back the Runaway Radio experience with music news, concert dates and other rocking attributes (not sure if that includes naked women in the studio or not). He says technology has reduced the cost of running a listener supported online station.

"While the temptation to relive the glory days is great, I am not convinced you can ever go back to the way it was, and you are better off to move forward while maintaining the essence of what made KLOL so great," Bilbrey added.

That's not to say he wouldn't love to have some of the former personalities back on the air through his site.

"I moved to the Houston area in '91 and Rock 101 KLOL meant the world to me because it reflected not only my musical tastes, but also my sense of humor and it helped me to quickly adjust to the Houston lifestyle by attending some KLOL events and meeting like minded people," Bilbrey told me. "Those long morning drives into downtown Houston were made tolerable as the Stevens and Pruett show played on my radio. Mark (Stevens) and Jim (Pruett) were magic together and I will never forget either of them."

Bilbrey plans to play the core music of Rock 101, some new stuff and feature Houston-area bands. Currently a test stream is playing music, but the plan is to officially launch a full website in time for the anniversary of KLOL's death date in November.

"The fact that people are still talking about Rock 101 KLOL almost eight years after Clear Channel pulled the plug is testament to the impact that the station had on generations of Houstonians," Bilbrey said. "The death of Mark Stevens was the only event more tragic than the day Rock 101 KLOL went off the air."

UPDATE ON ROCK 101 DOCUMENTARY

Since we are talking KLOL, you may know that I have been producing a documentary on the former rock station. I have a lot of interviews in the can and am now starting on a trailer. Hope to have it for you soon.



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