Thursday, July 12, 2007

KTBZ and KLDE did a flip too...

Last night as I was thinking about other things to write about, I remembered that I could write about another radio change that I vaguely remember. Back in 2000 in Houston, 2 radio stations swapped frequencies due to a merger between Clear Channel Radio and AMFM, Inc. Both 107.5 KTBZ (The Buzz/same as the Edge) and 94.5 KLDE (Oldies) were owned by Clear Channel and with the merger, the FCC said that Clear Channel had to dump a station. They chose to get rid of 94.5 KLDE and sell it to Cox Radio. Included in the sale was the frequencies. So they started to advertise the swap. I remember commercials all over the radio and on tv. It was pretty cool. Initially, it was said that KTBZ (The Buzz) was going off the air. This caused outrage by the public because there were a lot of new alternative listeners out there and there was/is not another station like it in Houston. Clear Channel even held a press conference about it and started a campaign to "Save the Buzz". It was later leaked that the swap was going to happen and the campaign sizzled away with the Houston heat.

On July 18th, 2000 at 8 pm, the swap happened. Each station was unique with their transfer. KLDE chose as "space" theme where the DJ's took a space ship up the dial from Oldies 94.5 to Oldies 107.5. KTBZ took a different approach and threw a party to celebrate their new frequency. They enlisted the help of the Stone Temple Pilots at the Ariel Theatre (Now Verizon Wireless Theatre) and just played countdown music as they faded away from 107.5 to 94.5. They broadcasted the enitre concert as their introduction to the new frequency.

You can find some cool audio with all of this action at FormatChange. I found these earlier and downloaded them from another website, but this one includes a statement from KTBZ's general manager from the period where they were still campaigning to "Save the Buzz". It is pretty cool and like I said yesterday, it is not everyday when radio station change formats, so take a listen.
Today, things still are the same over at 94.5. The Buzz still lives there and is as strong as ever. Over at 106.9, they have changed things up a little bit and are now 107.5 KHTC, K-Hits playing 60's and 70's music. The old KLDE staff is gone and is now staffed by old friends in Houston radio including Scott Sparks formerly of KRBE (104.1), Dave E Crockett of KKBQ (92.9) and KIKK (95.7) and Paul Christy of KHMX (96.5).

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