Radio Head: Jeff Catlin Talks About Why Cumulus Buried Its Bone for "Quality Rock"

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Jeff Catlin, operations manager for Cumulus Radio Dallas, says it took all of "five, six weeks, maybe" for station management to decide to drop The Bone and rechristen its classic-rock outlet as "FM93.3 Quality Rock." Says Catlin, The Bone "had needed a face lift for some time" -- because, well, ratings "were not good, which is as simple as I can say it." Hence its debut this morning as an odd hybrid of classic-rock stand-bys (Stones, Zeppelin, Bowie) and alternarock familiars (Foo Fighters, R.E.M., Snow Patrol) and more recent offerings from the likes of Radiohead, Coldplay and U2.

"It gets us out of KZPS's direct lane, for one thing, and lets us play things we don't think are being played in the market," says Catlin, who, of course, also oversees such stations as KTCK-AM (1310, The Ticket). "This is a broad-based rock station, and it will have a classic-hits base and play a lot of classic alternative, a lot of core artists from '90s and '00s and a lot of currents -- not a bunch, but stuff off the new U2 and Radiohead. It'll have a broader-based appeal to men and women equally. [The Bone] needed updating. But it's definitely a rock station."

But what about the "talk" side of the new rock station?

He says this morning's debut of FM93.3's new morning show -- "The Regular Guys," beamed in from a Cumulus station in Atlanta -- received high marks from listeners. Matter of fact, Catlin insists "the feedback was 90 percent positive," though, yes, he's well aware of local listeners' dislike of out-of-towners. Fret not, he insists: Catlin says the afternoon drive-time host -- who will be introduced sooner than later -- will be someone local.

(Greggo, maybe? I think Cat laughed. Or said something rather unrepeatable.)

"I just think there are two reasons why the station has a chance to succeed," he says. "These guys [in Atlanta] have been together 11 years and have a great track record in Atlanta and L.A. They're real guys, not radio blowhards. They just get on the radio and talk. Of course, whenever you bring a morning show to town, there's going to be blowback. There are great morning shows in town, starting with 'Dunham and Miller.' But couple it with the music being played, and I think the station has a real chance to succeed."

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