One less rock station on the air in Houston.
So instead of Led Zeppelin’s Houses of the Holy on 93.7, from now on you will probably hear Holy Grail by Jay-Z featuring Justin Timberlake. Just whatever you do, don’t let Timberlake get near Reliant Stadium and Janet Jackson again!
That’s because after 20 years, 93.7 The Arrow KKRW has flipped to an urban format with Beyonce as the first song. Fitting for Houston. 93.7 The Beat “H-Town’s Real Hip Hop and R&B” will target a heavy female audience with the likes of Rihanna, Jay Z, Drake, Chris Brown, Beyoncé and Miguel.
And the new station was taking swipes at market leader 97.9 The Box KBXX from the get go.
“93.7 The Beat is ready to write a new chapter in Houston radio history. We’re defining what real hip hop and R&B is,” said Eddie Martiny, President and Market Manager, Clear Channel Media and Entertainment, Houston. “Many of the biggest stars in this format live in Houston, so to move the station in this direction was a natural choice. In addition, The Beat format will perfectly complement the five other radio stations in our cluster by making us more attractive and diverse to our advertising community.”
The process started New Year’s Eve day 2013 at 10am. As I blogged earlier, the station started playing a wide variety of music from Miley Cyrus, Eminem to Oingo Boingo with pre-recorded announcements heralding the end of The Arrow and that a new station would arrive at noon (SEE THE LAST THREE SONGS THE ARROW PLAYED).
KKRW wasn’t technically the first “classic rock” station in Houston. At least as far as I know, which is to say going back to 1988 when I arrived in Houston, that would have been the late 107.5 KZFX, which didn’t market itself as “classic rock” but played an era-specific list of songs from the 60s and 70s, tending towards the British Invasion stuff (the Animals, Cream, Procol Harum) and later acts with a similar sound. KKRW was Classic Rock and all that name implies from the get go, and the market couldn’t support both of them plus KLOL, so KZFX eventually went a different way, first into new wave/alternative rock (The Buzz), then switching formats with oldies station 94.5, before melding with 106.9 to become dominant Classic Rockers The Eagle, which included a landing place for former KKRW Wacky Morning DJs Dean and Rog. I can’t say I’m surprised that once again, the market couldn’t keep two Classic Rock stations afloat, even if there isn’t a KLOL equivalent out there any more (and holy crap, it’ll be ten years since KLOL switched formats next November).
Unlike the KLOL change, which by that time didn’t affect me much but was a punch in the gut to my memories, this change doesn’t really mean anything to me. I was never more than an occasional listener to KKRW, as even in the early days I thought their playlist was too narrow and predictable. About the only time I listen to the radio is in my car, and with my shorter commute and non-driving lunchtimes, that ain’t much these days. I keep the dial on KACC except for those times when its signal is too messed up or when they’re broadcasting a high school football game. I still think there’s room in this town for a rock station that doesn’t suck, but that dream becomes less and less likely with each passing day. Any Arrow fans out there that are in mourning over this? Leave a note in the comments if so.