Bill Virgin's Radio Beat August 2, 2007

Includes archive of Bill Virgin's columns fromJ une 2006 - March 2009

Bill Virgin's Radio Beat August 2, 2007

Postby radiofan » Wed Aug 01, 2007 8:43 pm

On Radio: KBSG-FM refocuses as B97.3

KBSG-FM (97.3) long ago dropped the word oldies to describe its format, and oldies themselves -- defined as rock songs from the 1950s and the early 1960s -- have been eroding from the station's playlist as well.

Now Bonneville Radio Seattle, the new operator of KBSG, has made the break from the station's oldies heritage, adopted 16 years ago, complete with a new identity -- B97.3.

"The new B97.3 is a contemporary radio station playing classic hits with music based in the '70s while still maintaining our strong representation of classic '60s music," a press release from the station says.

The move may dampen -- for the moment, at least -- speculation that Bonneville might simulcast its news-talk outlet KIRO-AM (710) on KBSG, as it does in other markets.

But it also more firmly positions KBSG in an already crowded niche, with '70s music comprising sizable portions of the playlists of such stations as Clear Channel's KJR-FM (95.7), CBS's KZOK-FM (102.5) and KJAQ-FM (96.5, marketed as Jack) and Entercom's KMTT-FM (103.7).

On Tuesday afternoon, for example, it was possible to hear Santana's "Oye Como Va" virtually simultaneously on KBSG and Jack.

"All stations have their individuality," says KBSG program director Dave Logan. His station will try to set itself apart through its on-air personalities, the expanded breadth and depth of its playlist and some differences in what that playlist contains compared with other stations. Jack, for example, plays AC/DC and other artists KBSG doesn't, and is far more focused on the '80s and '90s, he adds.

Still, there will be some overlap with other stations. "Some songs are universal," he says, including "Oye Como Va." "A lot of these songs have a timeless aspect to them."

One rock-music decade for which there currently is little timeless appeal is the 1950s. Outside of a few songs, KBSG won't include much music from that era. "Most stations in the format are really having a hard time integrating the '50s into their base," Logan says.

The changes are designed to build on KBSG's strength among listeners 35 and older by introducing more music from the 1960s and 1970s. "There's a huge canon of music that's available," he says, and sampling more of it is essential in an era when "everyone is their own program director. (KBSG) is a heritage brand that just needs some refreshing."

KBSG said it plans to keep its current lineup anchored by Fastlane Phillips and Marina Rockinger in mornings, followed by Mark Christopher and Randy Lundquist weekdays. Laura Palmer, who had been handling evenings, shifts to production duties for the morning show. She'll be replaced by Stitch Mitchell, who once worked for KUBE-FM (93.3).

In addition to the new station logo and identifier, KBSG also will have a new female station voice for its promos and new jingles. KBSG also has added a new show at 8 a.m. Sunday mornings -- rebroadcasts of the original "American Top 40" countdown shows, hosted by Casey Kasem, that were originally heard in the 1970s.

In other radio notes:

Changes at KKWF-FM (100.7), the country station marketed as The Wolf. Midday host Valerie Hart, who has been with the station since it switched to country and who also had been music director, is returning to Colorado Springs for family reasons, says Entercom market manager Jerry McKenna; her last day was Tuesday.

Seth "Lobo" Hughes' shifts from afternoons to the midday position. Rob "Possum" Walker, who had been serving as program director, returns to the air in Lobo's afternoon shift, and the station is now looking for a new program director.

Freq. Format

KVI 570 Talk
KCIS 630 Christian
KIRO 710 News/Talk
KTTH 770 Talk
KGNW 820 Christian
KIXI 880 Nostalgic pop
KJR 950 Sports/Talk
KOMO 1000 News
KBLE 1050 Religious
KPTK 1090 Air America
KKNW 1150 News/Talk
KWMG 1210 Spanish
KKDZ 1250 Radio Disney
KKOL 1300 Talk
KKMO 1360 Spanish
KRKO 1380 Sports/Talk
KRIZ 1420 Classic R&B
KXPA 1540 Spanish
KLFE 1590 Christian
KYIZ 1620 Urban contemporary
KDOW 1680 Spanish

KPLU 88.5 Jazz/News
KNHC 89.5 Top 40/Dance
KGRG 89.9 Alternative rock
KEXP 90.3 Alternative/ World music
KSER 90.7 Public affairs/Music
KBCS 91.3 Jazz/Folk/World
KQMV 92.5 Rhythmic hits
KUBE 93.3 Urban contemporary
KMPS 94.1 Country
KUOW 94.9 News/NPR
KJR 95.7 Classic rock
KJAQ 96.5 Rock/pop hits
KBSG 97.3 Classic hits
KING 98.1 Classical
KWJZ 98.9 Smooth jazz
KISW 99.9 Rock
KKWF 100.7 Country
KPLZ 101.5 Adult contemporary
KZOK 102.5 Classic rock
KMTT 103.7 Adult alternative
KMIH 104.5 Contemporary
KFNK 104.9 Rock
KCMS 105.3 Christian
KBKS 106.1 Contemporary
KRWM 106.9 Soft rock
KNDD 107.7 Alternative

P-I reporter Bill Virgin can be reached at 206-448-8319 or

Bill Virgin's Radio Beat Thursdays in the Seattle P-I
Those who danced were thought to be quite insane by those who couldn't hear the music.
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