Wednesday, October 08, 2014

News 92 KROI is dead

Houston's FM news station News92 KROI signs off; becomes all Beyonce Channel B92

UPDATE OCTOBER 13, 2014
Boom 92.1 FM Classic Hip Hop Houston radio


A longtime radio broadcaster once told me that 24 hour news would never work in Houston. When News92 KROI debuted in 2011 I hoped this would prove him wrong.

It did not.

"The whole staff has been FIRED," anchor Lanny Griffith said on Facebook. "We thank you for your support and I will be fine. We are heart broken cause we put everything into this station but it just wasn't meant to be. Thanks to Radio One for all you did for all of us and our families."

This morning was the station's last broadcast. I hear right in the middle of a story, B92, an all Beyonce station, debuted signaling the end of News92.

"We’re proud of the work we did with News92," said Doug Abernethy, Regional Vice President of Radio One. "We hired established and trusted Houstonian journalists from the radio, print and television news industries. We also invested in community relations, infrastructure, marketing, promotions and sales. Unfortunately after three years of a valiant effort, the difficult decision had to be made."

"I'm devastated that Radio One decided to change formats," reporter Adela Uchida told mikemcguff.com. "I'm proud of the work News92FM did in the months I was there. The only way we could have covered this city with such a small staff was with the talent, experience and passion we all brought every day."

News92, which was Radio One's first news station, barely reached above a one rating in its time as a station. It didn't help that the station's signal does not apparently cover the entire market strongly.

"This difficult decision is a result of sustained poor ratings performance and significant financial losses over the past three years despite the substantial financial and human resources we invested," a statement on News92's website read. "Unfortunately, the market hasn’t shown a sustainable appetite for news radio, but each of you motivated us daily to produce a high-quality news program." (SCROLL TO SEE FULL MESSAGE AT BOTTOM)

Radio One hired familiar radio and TV names like former 740 KTRH morning team J.P. Pritchard and Lana Hughes, Dennis Spellman (formerly of KIAH 39), 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).

The station later spent $900,000 on an expansion project that added a brand new studio, newsroom, offices, green room and more. Five new news vehicles were also purchased.

In a cynical view, one thing that did not happen while News92 was on the air - a hurricane/tropical storm. Radio pundits will tell you that could have driven a lot of listeners to the station to hear it and hopefully stick around.

So now 47 people are out of work as a result of the station going off the air. And now, Houston has a 24 hour all Beyonce radio station called B92 in place of News92 (at least for now, this sounds like a stunt to me).

"We take the loss of employees seriously," said Chris Wegmann, President of the Radio Division. "We are working to ensure all of our impacted employees are transitioned with the dignity and respect they deserve."

As News 92 goes away, Houston still has radio news sources 88.7 KUHF and 740 KTRH.

"We always respected the work of our friends and colleagues at News 92 and truly wish them the best," KUHF news director Jack Williams told mikemcguff.com. "Houston Public Media News 88-7 believes there is still a strong desire for in-depth, multi-media journalism in Houston.”

b921fm.com
On Twitter @B921Houston.


UPDATE OCTOBER 13, 2014
Boom 92.1 FM Classic Hip Hop Houston radio

ORIGINAL POST:

Got a report this morning the News92 staff was going into a meeting. Then heard Beyonce was playing on the station 15 minutes later. The station has been rebranded B92, an all Beyonce radio station (for now at least I would imagine, sounds like a stunt).

I checked the News92 homepage and found this:

News92, Houston’s first FM all-news radio station aired its last broadcast Wednesday, October 8, 2014.
We’d like to thank the News92 staff for their outstanding service, our advertisers and each of you our listeners and web visitors for your support. This difficult decision is a result of sustained poor ratings performance and significant financial losses over the past three years despite the substantial financial and human resources we invested. Unfortunately, the market hasn’t shown a sustainable appetite for news radio, but each of you motivated us daily to produce a high-quality news program. Together, we made history.

Lanny Griffith posted on Facebook: "News92FM is GONE, off the air. The whole staff has been FIRED. We thank you for your support and I will be fine. We are heart broken cause we put everything into this station but it just wasn't meant to be. Thanks to Radio One for all you did for all of us and our families. Anyone need to hire me for some media work?"

Craig Roberts says on Facebook that 47 people are now out of work from the format change.

Stay tuned...

RELATED
- News 92 FM KROI is on the air (1st hour local audio included)
- Lana Hughes and J.P. Pritchard talk News 92 KROI with Mike McGuff
- News 92 FM KROI expands and rises
- Adela Uchida joins News 92 FM KROI
- 740 KTRH issues statement on its heritage and News 92FM KROI

UPDATE OCTOBER 13, 2014
Boom 92.1 FM Classic Hip Hop Houston radio


47 comments:

  1. That sucks! I listed heavily until I got satellite radio last month, but still checked into traffic every now and then. Lanny was the only traffic guy to cover 225.

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  2. Samantha Jordan10/08/2014 09:47:00 AM

    I'm so sad for these people. I worked with Lana, JP, and Patrick at KTRH. Each of them are amazing talents. I'm sure they'll all move on to bigger and better things.

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  3. We need to save these guys!! This is the best station in Houston!! I'm so mad!

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  4. Sad for the great talent that is now looking for work again and for the listeners who relied on these reporters and anchors. Houston is big enough to support news competition (which makes all news stations better). I know I worked harder for a story when I knew someone else was trying to beat me to it.

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  5. There has been internet chatter for several days about a format flip on 92.1. Several posters on RadioDiscussions noted that 92.1 had turned the stereo pilot back on last week, after having been mono since the news format was launched. No reason to do that unless a switch to music was coming. Good luck to all who lost their jobs; the station was useful and will be missed.

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  6. I am so bummed! I listened to them at least once a day. Too bad Houston can't support a true all-news radio station, something it sorely needs. I turned it on today, heard Beyonce, and knew something stupid had happened. Sigh. I feel badly for all of those laid off. Hopefully they will land on their feet. Gonna miss you, 92.1.

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  7. I will immediately delete 92.1 from my radio pre-set now.

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  8. I think the new hip hop station is to blame over 92's departure... Radio one probably felt it had to sacrifice one to save the other...

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    Replies
    1. I agree. IHeartMedia (Clear Channel) really hurt Radio One in the ratings with the flip of The Arrow to 93.7 The Beat. This was the result.

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    2. Radio One already owns 97.9 The Box, so I doubt they'll keep B92 anyway. The Beat, The Box and Majic 102 as well as Hot and KRBE already play Beyonce, so this is a stunt.

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  9. Unfortunately money always rules the day. When a music station flips, it's only 5-6 jobs, this was 47! The payroll was just too high to sustain.

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  10. Can't believe that, on my 2hr daily commute I listened to them for 1hr 45mins just to keep up with traffic. It was truly my savior, now time to look for another resource. That was all we needed in this city, another hip hop station. Sorry for the loss of all that talent in one location.

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  11. I knew this was gonna happen, no matter how great the news product from Radio One was. The only surprise is how long it took for them to cut off News92. FM News has not catched on, as first thought. This same thing happened in New York and Chicago. And the News station in Atlanta is currently on life support.

    Here at home, even 92.1's previous format, gospel, was doing much better ratings-wise than this (low 3's share compared to News 92's constant 0.9).

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  12. I'm sad as well: Houston needs independent, non-partisian media (NPR and the various right-wing AM channels are NOT independent voices), and the loss of this station (and the 47 jobs gone as well) is a loss for Houston. Guess I'm going to internet media now...

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    Replies
    1. News92FM was left-leaning based on what I've heard.

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    2. You must not have listened much. They didn't lean left or right, just local news.

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    3. Apparently anonymous, you didn't listen to News 92 FM. They were unbiased and knowledgeable.

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  13. This is a bummer. Tuned in for what was probably the last newscast this morning. Lanny's traffic updates always helped me get to work!

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  14. Lanny Griffith is the first person I would grab from there and put back on the radio IMMEDIATELY!!!

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  15. Lanny, JP, Lana, Danny Mata, Patrick Osborn, and Craig Roberts: These are the ones I hope to hear back on the radio very soon. Such an informative and fun bunch to listen to.

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    Replies
    1. No idea who Patrik Osborn or Danny Mata are but Lana and JP made my mornings.

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  16. The THUGS in Hip-Hop music are hijacking Houston radio and destroying it non-stop because they want to "expand" their CRAP.

    Time to take back America before it's too late.

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    Replies
    1. Typical comment from someone who stereotypes...I work in radio and I LOVE hip hop. There's more to it than money, twerking, etc. If you dig deep enough, there ARE songs that talk about social problems and real life. Oh wait...you won't look those up. As for the "expanding their crap" part, RELAX. Its a STUNT! Even non-radio people know what a stunt is. It will last til tomorrow or Monday, when a permanent format will debut.

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  17. I'd rather eat glass and receive acid eyedrops than listen to the untalented horsefaced Beyonce "sing" digitally altered crap.

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    Replies
    1. If she was truly untalented, then Destiny's Child shouldn't have existed. Or that her albums didn't sell anything. You may not like her, I get that. I don't like her much either. The good thing is there are alternatives out there. Use them, they're wonderful!

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    2. Being successful, does not mean you are talented! Look at radio. If she had dressed like she was Amish, didn't wear makeup, she would have never made it. She does not have a great voice, nor is she a great writer, or musician, she just know how to dance like a stripper and that's why she is where she is.

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  18. One thing you forgot to mention was the station is likely going to be sold off to Cumulus Media.

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  19. My wife and I are heartbroken, we both listened to KROI going to and from work. It's a shame that a city the size of Houston can't support a LOCAL all news station. I guess the sophistication level in Houston is lower than I thought. Sad, sad, sad.

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  20. Michael Berry still on the air and these consummate professionals out on the street. Something is horrible wrong with Houston radio.

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    Replies
    1. I'll be listening to KTRH 740-AM.

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    2. You forgot Walton and Johnson. Both Berry and W&J are horrible. It's surprising a city like Houston spawned those idiots. While Austin gave out Bobby Bones and Dallas gave out Kidd Kraddick and Lex and Terry. Houston has got to spawn someone better.

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    3. You probably always have.

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  21. They made a good effort, but when you can get all the news you want, whenever, in the palm of your hand an all news station is not really needed. I feel bad for the reporters, but I'm sure most of them will find other work here, since all of them know Houston.

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  22. I'm going to miss the station. I didn't listen to anything else in the car and I streamed it at work to listen. It is a shame that a city the size of Houston cannot sustain an all news format that isn't political opinion or sports.

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  23. I am so disappointed. I listened to this station exclusively on my commute so I could get the news, weather, and traffic. I was so shocked when I turned on the same station I had on this morning and my station wasn't there. I hope all of the excellent reporters find work--they are very good and they do know Houston.

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  24. And yet Dominique Sachse, Jen Reyna, Melissa Spaulding and so many other hacks have "news" jobs. Sad....

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    Replies
    1. ITS NO LONGER ABOUT THE NEWS.....THEY WANT TO MAKE MEN HORNY TO WATCH THESE BIMBOS.....

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  25. I'm a fan of all news radio. It sucks that the 6th largest market in the country couldn't sustain a format that has long been proven successful in LA, NY, DC, Philly, and Boston. However, when you have a signal that only covers part of the market, you know that something had to give. To JP and Lana and all of the talent, I wish you guys the best of luck. I'm in radio, and I know how hard it can be losing a job. Now time to play the guessing game as to what the new format will be...return to Praise?

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  26. I am going to terribly miss News 92 FM. Old habits are hard to break. I was a faithful listener since 2011 and listened to JP and Lana in the mornings. Then, when I went home, listened to Mike and Bonnie in the afternoons and Patrick at nights. I thoroughly enjoyed Lanny Griffith and Karen Christie's traffic reports and will miss Craig Roberts on sports.

    I wish them the best. They are professionals. If News 92 can last for three years, All News can work in Houston. Just get a better signal and more reporters and promotion.

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  27. Wow, I just discovered this station a couple of weeks ago and have been listening to it everyday. Great traffic coverage. Sorry to see if go. 24 hour Beyounce--really!

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  28. I DON'T KNOW WHO IS ADVISING CATHY HUGHES. BUT CATHY PLEASE BE CAREFUL. THE SILLY RADIO CONSULTANTS ARE NO DAMN GOOD. THEY ARE THE ONES WHO HAVE DESTROYED RADIO AND TV.OR THEY WILL TAKE ALL OF YOUR SUCCESS AWAY.

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  29. Mike, are you able to record any of the stunting? I would if I had the right equipment and wasn't working all weekend.

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  30. My advice to News 92.1; Go back to playing Gospel, or play some back in the day old school music.

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  31. Couldn't pick it up in MoCo.

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  32. I think an all-news radio and/or TV format will only work if provided by a company that has the mission and the money for much, much larger editorial and technical staffing, as well as multiple satellite bureau locations, in order to provide quantity and quality in coverage of ALL the news in this sprawling metro region (Houston, Katy, Sugarland, The Woodlands, Galveston, etc.). I was one of the first (and last) members of the KNWS-TV 51 news team (1993-1998). I was a sideline observer when News 24 crashed and burned. And I did a part-time anchor stint at Newsradio 740 KTRH-AM some years ago. I'm sorry for my friends at New 92 and hope they will all get back on the airwaves somewhere soon.

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  33. I lived in Houston (back in Phoenix now) when News92 launched and listened every day. If a city as nationally and as globally important as Houston cannot support an all-news station, I have less faith in Houston. It was my belief anyway that CBS should convert AM 650 (and an FM sister) to at least a KYW or WINS-style format. Houston is way too big a city to be without all-news radio - live, local reporting that keeps people informed. And KTRH is a right-wing wacko joke, the weekend garden show with that Texas A&M guy was the only show I really liked on that station.

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  34. Isn't there already 5 hip-hop based stations on the radio? What about people who listen to other types of music? Not a single classic rock or oldies station in sight.

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