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Monday, November 21, 2011

News 92 FM KROI is on the air (1st hour local audio included)

News 92 FM KROI's J.P. Pritchard and Lana Hughes
Lana Huges and J.P. Pritchard
From a small, temporary newsroom and studio, News 92 FM KROI officially signed on this morning at 5am, replacing Praise 92.1. The News 92 FM Morning Report is anchored by former 740 KTRH notables J.P. Pritchard and Lana Hughes with "traffic and weather on the 9s." And speaking of traffic, former Rock 101 KLOL, 94.5 The Buzz KTBZ and Fox 26 KRIV traffic master Lanny Griffith is behind the microphone (I heard no whips though from his KLOL Traffic in Bondage days).

The first ever story on News 92 FM KROI was billed as an exclusive with former Fox 26 KRIV reporter Pattie Shieh and some problems with the Carnival Cruise Magic. Lana and J.P. read more stories followed by former KIAH 39 sports anchor Jorge Vargas with news on the Houston Dynamo's loss to the LA Galaxy for the MLS title. Laurie Kendrick (formerly of 740 KTRH, 101 KLOL, 97.5 KFNC) had a story about changes in Catholic Mass. Towards the bottom of the first hour was the business report with Brent Clanton (formerly of 650 KIKK, 700 KSEV). Former KIAH 39 reporter Dennis Spellman came later with the news of a shooting by a masked man in a southwest Houston home.

I recorded the first ever 40 minutes or so of News 92 FM, edited out commercials/ABC News breaks and embedded the audio below so you can get an idea of the broadcast's flavor (it runs around 28 minutes cut down - the quality is not so great at times, you might hear my cat crying in the background as I put an iPod and my EVO up to a radio speaker for the record)

News 92 FM KROI Houston first hour by mikemcguff

I did find it amusing that a familiar voice for Lana and J.P. was featured in the first hour. Former 740 KTRH reporter Aaron Katersky (now with ABC News Radio) covered the recent terrorism-related arrest in NYC.

Reviews of the show from readers started coming in (many of them named Michael strangely enough):

"Sounded as if they never left the airwaves," said Michael Galindo

"I like the longer format news," said Mike Holland. "It is nice not being told to go to a website for the 'rest of the story' while I am sitting in my car."

"Sounds like they took 740 and put it on 92.1," wrote Justin Sternberg. "Not that it's a bad thing, but I was expecting a little more, something different."

"I'm listening to News92 and while the plane sounds just a teeny wobbly taking off, I think they will run like a well-oiled machine before very long - too many seasoned veterans who know what they're doing," commented Michael Sheldon Reed on a related blog post of mine. He later added, "Listening right now (5:30 am). JP and Lana sound much more loose and "flowing" than they did at 5am. This station is gonna be awesome!!!!"

There were a few small flubs in the first hour, but overall it sounded like the Lana and J.P. broadcasts Houston radio listeners are used to.

I was invited to visit the station yesterday during the staff pre-launch rehearsals. The staff was pretty excited and hopeful about the new 24 hour news station. Part of that energy probably stems from the fact that this is a new station, not just for this group of journalists, but also an entire new format for Radio One which typically specializes in music formats (the company owns 97.9 The Box KBXX and Majic 102 KMJQ in Houston).

As I have blogged here, there have been some technical issues that delayed the launch, but that stuff is getting worked out. Any broadcaster who has worked at a start up operation (or infrastructure upgrade for an existing station) knows technical problems can be an issue.

If you tuned into 92.1 this past weekend, you heard as the industry calls it, stunting. That means doing alternative program from the previous format to grab attention for the new programming. In this case, the station ran construction noises mixed in with messages from the staff and ABC anchors like Diane Sawyer, George Stephanopoulos, Robin Roberts...etc.

By the way, Houston radio's Maria Todd has joined the News 92 FM staff as a weekend anchor. Click here for a list of other News 92 staff members.

Here are some photos I snapped on my station tour Sunday during pre-launch rehearsals.

News 92 FM KROI's Lanny Griffith
News 92 FM KROI's Lanny Griffith

News 92 FM KROI's Scott Braddock
News 92 FM KROI's Scott Braddock

News 92 FM KROI's J.P. Pritchard and Lana Hughes
News 92 FM KROI's Lana Hughes and J.P. Pritchard

News 92 FM KROI temporary newsroom
News 92 FM KROI temporary newsroom (click for names)

News 92 FM KROI future work space
News 92 FM KROI future work space

- 740 KTRH issues statement on its heritage and News 92FM KROI
- KTRK 13's Ed Brandon on 24 hour news radio in Houston
- News 92 FM KROI's launch delayed, plus more details
- Houston getting News 92 FM - 24 hour radio news
- New News92 FM, Houston's biggest radio secret emerges
- Why News 92 is taking over Praise 92.1 + backlash CONTACT: Leave me a Houston or Texas media news tip | COMMENT: Click to leave your thoughts on this post here