93.1 The Lake goes hip-hop

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Posted by madcityradio.com on October 29, 2008 at 07:14:50:

In Reply to: WJQM swaps 106.7 for 93.1 posted by madcityradio.com on October 28, 2008 at 10:45:09:

Classic rock station 93.1 The Lake goes hip-hop

If you tuned into 93.1 The Lake Tuesday morning, you might have been surprised to hear R. Kelly's "Ignition" or Kanye West's "Gold Digger."
Where was the Boston? Journey? REO Speedwagon? In two words, everywhere else.

"Classic rock is insanely overserved in this market," said Randy Hawke, operations manager for Midwest Family Broadcasting, a Madison-based company which runs eight stations in the Madison radio market, including The Lake and JAMZ.

The company switched hip-hop content from 106.7 JAMZ to 93.1 The Lake on Tuesday, and did away with The Lake's classic rock format. The station will also become known as 93.1 JAMZ.

For one week, 106.7 and 93.1 will play JAMZ content simultaneously, according to Hawke. Then, 106.7 will start broadcasting simultaneously with Q106.1 Madison's Country, acting as a signal-strengthener. This means someone in Cottage Grove might listen to the station at 106.3, but listeners in Sauk Prairie might find a better signal at 106.7.

"The two signals complement each other well," said Hawke.

Studies have shown that the music played on JAMZ -- known in the industry as "rhythmic Top 40" -- is incredibly popular, both on radio and in terms of album sales. Midwest Family Broadcasting had been testing the Madison market with 106.7 JAMZ, and because it's attracted so many listeners, the move to a stronger signal made sense.

Losing the classic rock content isn't a big loss for the Madison market, said Hawke. Triple M (105.5) is playing more classic rock these days, as is WOLx (94.9) and WIBA (105.1). Even Charlie FM (105.1), which has a selling point of playing "everything," is in on the classic rock.

"The cliche trendy format is what they're doing on Charlie," he said. That means playing roughly 60 percent classic rock with a "crazy Village People" song thrown in once in a while to make it seem more random.

Putting a hip-hop station on a stronger signal isn't really following any national trend, it's just a smart move for the market, he said: "JAMZ is its own beast."

And trying to fight over classic rock listeners wasn't worth it.

"If six people are eating off the same pie, you get tired of trying to share," he said. It would be like six kids fighting over the same cookie -- after a while, "you want to be an only child."

(Katjusa Cisar, 77 Square)

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