By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
What's the frequency, Abby?
Abby Goldstein spent Tuesday morning fielding phone calls from friends who wanted to know just why her radio station -- KKZN-FM (93.3), otherwise known as The Zone -- was broadcasting audio from old Bob Newhart Show episodes. She had no idea. Goldstein, a longtime fixture in local radio, had been fired from the station August 25. All Goldstein had to offer was the obvious: Hey, I guess they're getting ready to break the new format. But even Goldstein didn't know what the format was going to be hours before it debuted. And new Zone program director Scott Strong, who had previously worked for an adult-contemporary station in St. Louis, wasn't spilling the beans.
"I've only been here a week, and I would like to stay here a little while longer," Strong told Buzz hours before unveiling something called the Merge format -- which, as far as we could tell during Tuesday afternoon's debut, means playing everything recorded since 1985. (Among the station's first song selections: Lenny Kravitz's "Are You Gonna Go My Way," R.E.M.'s "It's the End of the World," and Depeche Mode's "Personal Jesus.") As a bonus, the station's new Web site, www.merge933.net, tells you what song is currently on the air and allows you to buy the album by linking the user to amazon.com.
It was inevitable that The Zone -- which debuted in October 1996, broadcasting "adult alternative" music, meaning lots of Dave Matthews Band -- would disappear sooner rather than later. In the most recent Arbitron ratings, the station was ranked 21st in the market.
"We were searching for an identity from the very beginning," Goldstein says. "It's hard to sign on with a weak signal [the station has a 50,000-watt tower] and not have a strong direction immediately."
Goldstein says her parting was amicable enough. "My particular personality doesn't fit into the radio station of the new millennium," she says. "Hey, I wish them luck and hope they do really well. I'm just not listening."
The buck stops here
Those of you who just can't get enough of council member Laura Miller, take heart. In addition to her seemingly daily appearances in The Dallas Morning News, she's now self-publishing on her own Web site, www.lauramiller.com.
Buzz supposes she has some time on her hands, since she's not going to be chairing any city council committees as long as Mayor Ron Kirk draws breath.
Miller, a former Dallas Observer columnist, writes that her "silent, growing frustration at no longer having a newspaper as a vehicle to share...reporting" prompted her, in part, to create the Web site. Buzz might buy frustrated, but silent?
Readers of the the site are greeted with an animated screen flashing a quote from Harry S Truman: "I never give them hell. I just tell the truth, and they think it's hell."
Buzz might say something wise here about the problems that arise when one politician on a 15-member council thinks she has cornered the market on truth, but let's face it, wise just isn't Buzz's bag -- unless you tack on the suffix ass. In that vein, maybe she should consider this Buzz quote: "I don't have a big ego. I just compare myself to dead presidents, and everyone thinks I have a big ego."