By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
At first, it sounded like one of the worst station promos ever, random snippets of familiar songs spliced together, the kind of thing most radio stations use to give listeners an idea of the kind of music they'll be hearing if they decide to stick around. Only it sounded as though every qualified member of the staff had taken the weekend off, and the interns were in control, and just barely. One song faded into the next, if you can call five or 10 seconds songs; there was scarcely enough time to identify one before another one started.
It was obvious that KRBV-FM was in the midst of a programming change over the Memorial Day weekend, but what exactly would they be changing to? Cameo led into Pearl Jam which led into Michael Jackson which led into James Taylor which led into 'N Sync which led into Matthew Sweet which led into Destiny's Child which led into Stone Temple Pilots which led into only God knows. It sounded as though the scan button on the stereo was permanently broken, taking unsuspecting listeners on a trip through the Dallas-Fort Worth radio dial. Of course, we didn't hear any Tejano or classical, but then again, we didn't sit by the radio all day.
The idea that KRBV-FM--which had been competing with KISS-FM for the Top 40, under-18 market--would change formats didn't make much sense. After all, if 'N Sync can sell 2 million albums in one week (which isn't quite as scary as the words "President George W. Bush," but close enough), surely there's enough room in the market for two stations that cater to its fans. The thinking, of course, being that if listeners didn't hear Britney or the Backstreets or Christina or whatever on KISS, they could always switch over to KRBV and vice versa. KRBV was trailing KISS in the ratings, but the station was still doing respectable business. Think of it this way: More people drink Coke than Pepsi, but there are still quite a few Pepsi drinkers out there. (Which is a mystery we'll never understand; Pepsi tastes like a Coke someone else already drank.) OK, so maybe KRBV was more RC Cola than Pepsi. Point is, if it's already working, no sense screwing with it.
Which, apparently, is what KRBV was thinking. Yes, the station relaunched itself as WILD 100 on May 28, but the change is largely cosmetic. No matter what this guy says: "It's been a long time since Dallas-Fort Worth has had this kind of excitement on the radio," Steve Rivers says. Rivers, former AM/FM president of programming, is now a consultant at WILD 100, which is owned by Infinity Broadcasting. "Our number one goal at the new WILD 100 is to do entertaining radio for the 21st century that will generate ratings and revenue for Infinity."
You can also ignore this guy: "Infinity, as part of Viacom, is the best media company of the world," Dave Presher, vice president and general manager at the "new" station, says. "The addition of an exciting, over-the-top radio station fits perfectly in a company that owns MTV and recently launched the hit show Survivor. Great radio comes from great people, a strategic plan and superb execution. WILD will be exactly that." Simmer down, Dave. You've already got the job.
Other than a new crop of DJs and a new morning show (JB & Sandy--it's no B.J. and the Bear, but it'll do), the average listener probably won't notice much. In fact, the above-average listener won't notice much, either. Instead of being a mainstream Top 40 station targeting high school kids and possibly their moms, WILD 100 is now a mainstream Top 40 station aimed at adults age 18 to 34. In other words, they just want to give themselves an excuse when Kidd Kraddick and the shiny, happy folks at KISS continue delivering ass-kickings each time a new ratings book arrives. "In the grand scheme of things, they're the same," a local DJ says. Which means we can keep on not listening to them...
In other radio news: The Adventure Club, KDGE-FM's long-running Sunday-night specialty show, will celebrate its seven-year anniversary the same way it did last year, with a shindig at Trees. The lineup for this year's party isn't quite as sprawling as last year's dozen or so bands, but you will still get more than enough local rock for your 10 bucks. (Actually, $10.21 if you buy tickets in advance, and $11 at the door.) Chomsky, Legendary Crystal Chandelier, The Rocket Summer, Lift to Experience, Fred Savage Fanclub and The Polyphonic Spree will all perform, and for The Rocket Summer and Fred Savage Fanclub, it will be their first show ever. Doors open at 8 p.m., and we advise arriving early if you wanna hear Adventure Club host Josh Venable say something coherent. Any later than, say, 11 p.m., and all bets are off. OK, we're only kidding. We'll give him until midnight...
Really fast: Little Grizzly's second album, titled I'd Be Lying If I Said I Wasn't Scared, is approaching completion. The follow-up to 1999's Please Let Me Go, It Wasn't Meant to Be, should be out at the end of August on Quality Park Records. If you haven't seen the boys play live in a while, you, sir or ma'am, are missing out, and we are very disappointed in you. Pinkston is also wrapping up a new album, its first full-length, at Last Beat's studio. Not sure on the title or when it'll be out--and actually, they might already be finished tinkering with it--so we'll just guess later this year. In the meantime, Todd Deatherage's new album, Dream Upon a Fallen Star, is in stores now.