One big plus of the all-Christmas format has long been a sizable launchpad for new formats in the wake of the holiday; this year is no different. A number of programmers have already unwrapped new formats this week. Here’s a look at some of what Santa delivered to radio listeners.
In Dallas, iHeartMedia’s modern rock format that had a home on “The Edge” KDGE has come out of a month of Christmas music as adult contemporary “Star 102.1.” The market hasn’t had a mainstream AC station since CBS Radio’s KVIL moved to a hot AC approach in Jan. 2014. The lineup under program director Jay Stevens includes 20-year radio veteran Ryan Lovet from 6am-12pm, American Women in Media on-air personality of the year Rick O’Bryan from noon-6pm, and Dallas area newcomer Amanda Flores from 6pm-midnight.
Meanwhile in the Tampa, FL market the final format for Beasley Broadcast Group’s WBRN-FM remains up in the air. The former home of Bubba The Love Sponge dropped its rock format earlier this month for an all-holiday format at “Santa 98.7.” With Christmas over it is now stunting as “98.7 Donald FM” with a nod to the President-elect using liners voiced by a (we think) Trump sound-alike saying the station is “making radio great again” and a playlist ranging from Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy” to Tony Bennett’s “Rags to Riches.”
Alpha Media AC “94.5 K-Bay” KBAY, San Jose flipped to classic hits after wrapping up its non-stop holiday programming on Christmas. The station will fill the void for a pure classic hits outlet in the Bay Area with hits from the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s. The format change follows the exit of longtime morning team Sam Van Zandt and Lissa Kreisler, who held their final broadcast on Dec. 16.
In the Daytona Beach, FL market, Flagler Broadcasting used its five weeks of Christmas music as a launchpad for oldies “Kool 100.9” which relays off the HD2 channel of adult hits “Beach 92.7” WBHQ. It replaces the “Easy Oldies” format previously airing on the signals. You can hear the format flip HERE.
Elsewhere, in the Evansville, IN market, Townsquare Media used an all-holiday format blitz to switch sports “ESPN 105.3” WJLT to a hot AC “My 105.3,” promising a playlist filled with “80s, 90s and Now.” Townsquare Media looks to find a format lane between Midwest Communications’ top-rated soft AC WIKY-FM (104.1) and CHR rivals “106.1 Kiss FM” WDKS, owned by Townsquare, and “Hot 96 FM” WSTO, owned by Midwest.
In the Morgantown-Clarksburg-Fairmont, WV market there’s a new owner and a new format as LHTC Media used a run of Christmas music to expose a switch as AC “Variety 101” WZST morphs into adult hits “100.9 Jack FM.” The station will continue to be the flagship for West Virginia University sports play-by-play. LHTC Media has a pending $700,000 deal to acquire WZST and three other stations in the market from Spectrum Radio Group.
In Columbia, MO Zimmer Radio Group’s all-Christmas “K-Santa” format has morphed into soft AC “98.3 The Dove” KDVC. The new Class C3 FM is going head-to-head with Cumulus Media’s AC KPLA (101.5).
In the far eastern reaches of the Nassau-Suffolk, NY market, new WELJ (104.7) owner Bold Broadcasting ends its Christmas format stunt with a new soft AC format, and a promise to play the area’s “easy favorites.” It goes up against LRS Radio’s soft AC WBAZ (102.5) and Red Wolf Broadcasting’s “Soft Rock 106.5” WBMW, which crosses the Long Island Sound from the New London, CT market. Bold Broadcasting bought the station from Cumulus Media which had relayed its New York country station “94.9 Nash FM” WNSH to the area.