Monday, April 23, 2007

Launching A Station

Spent some time with the new KZPS 92.5 in Dallas this Monday Morning. It's day one for their new format which is Texas Rock. A blend of Classic Rock (ZZ Top, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Skynyrd, Allmans, Seger, Mellencamp) Country (with a classic country lean - Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Hank Williams, Charlie Daniels) and some of the world of Alt-Country and Americana (Old 97s, Wilco, Drive-By Truckers). This mix, for the most part, was on the HD side channel for KZPS and was getting enough attention to move over to the prime analog channel while the old Classic Rock KZPS blend has been moved over to the HD side channel with no jocks.

Monitoring the mix is interesting on-line. There's surprises at every seg or around every sweeper musically. It's clearly a mix that probably won't work outside of Texas and maybe Oklahoma. But, in those markets you can feel that this could be a breakthrough. Take a listen yourself it's interesting and bold

They have also launched with a new 'business model.' Sponsors are woven into each hour with short sweepers instead of long spots. There are only a few each hour so it nearly sounds commercial free. How long will that last? I bet there will be 'normal' spot breaks in a few weeks.

Much of the KZPS air staff with Bo and Jim (strong long standing local morning show) and Redbeard who comes out of retirement to join the new mix were announced in the press releases. The imaging is also unique with Willie Nelson sort of serving as the voice of the station with others jumping in. It's not a big voice guy and lots of production sound - just some catchy down home writing and hardly any production packaging.

The station is launching with just music and imaging for the first day and from monitoring it sounds likely that it will be a few days or maybe a week till the personalities show up. How many times have we watched stations launch with 10,000 in a row and then add the air personalities and take flack from the listeners because the 'evil DJs' are talking? This could have been a 'golden opportunity' for the guys like Bo and Jim and Redbeard to really get into the art of interacting with the music again. With a music mix this unique and personal they could have made it their own, or at least 'sold' it as their own to the audience. Imagine the extra branding they could have picked up by using the power of Bo/Jim/Redbeard and the other personalities to interact here. There is a lot of music that is surprising and could use a little identification, but the jukebox provides no ID or info on the music. Launching with Bo/Jim hanging with Willie on the phone and Redbeard having Wilco by for an unplugged set on opening day would have put this over the fence. Instead we have another jukebox and the personalities will again be labeled as interruptions instead of integrations into the brand. The 'jukebox -showcase the music only' launch has become sort of a standard rule of radio. Lone Star has refreshingly broken a number of old radio rules - why not break this one also and let the personalities be a part of the creation?

1 comment:

Dan Kelley said...

I listened earlier today also; and heard many surprises both with the imaging and the music; being the closet country fan I am there was nothing out of place.

Its going to be one to watch as the station evolves; and to see if they can keep it fresh and surprising.