The Eagle Flies Away With "Houston's Alternative Hits"

zone screencap june20.jpg
All that's left of The Zone's Web site.
Cox Communications has shuttered its fledgling "alternative hits" concept, 106.9 The Zone, and begun simulcasting The Eagle, The Zone's "classic hits" next-door neighbor, on that frequency as of 5:30 a.m. this morning.

"The Eagle's Classic Hits format, anchored by the Dean and Rog Show, will have the largest coverage area in southeast Texas," said Mark Krieschen, Vice President of Cox Media Group's Houston radio operations, in a press release on The Eagle's Web site.

"Combining the format on both frequencies will super-serve the entire metro market and beyond, and offer our brand to a wider listening audience."

Maybe so, but neither station was exactly setting the market on fire before the switch. According to the latest Arbitron ratings at allaccess.com, The Eagle (KGLK, 107.5 FM) pulled a 2.7 for the period ending May 11, while The Zone registered a 1.6. Those numbers put the stations in 17th and 22nd places in the Houston-Galvestion market, the sixth-largest in the U.S.

The No. 1 station, Clear Channel's Sunny 99.1 (KODA) pulled an 8.0 in the same period. The Eagle's chief rival, 93.7 The Arrow (KKRW), also owned by Clear Channel, came in 15th with a 3.0.

Krieschen said The Eagle's "coverage" - which Rocks Off takes to mean how easy it is to pick up the signal - had been strongest in the southeast area of the market, while The Zone was "robust" in the northwest.

The Zone had been broadcasting as "alternative hits," a format heavy on '80s and '90s artists like The Cure, Depeche Mode, Lenny Kravitz, Pearl Jam and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, since November, when it flipped from the all-'80s format The Point. According to song-tracking Web site yes.com, among the last few songs The Zone played were Temple of the Dog's "Hunger Strike," The Killers' "Somebody Told Me" and The Cure's "Lovesong."

Question: Does anyone even care anymore?



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25 comments
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Tealeyes
Tealeyes

I was so disappointed to find out the zone was gone. It was my second station to turn to.

SenorSerioso
SenorSerioso

Like most people in Houston, I drive a while to get to where I'm going.  This means no one channel is going to satisfy my craving for tunes.  Now I've got three stations of crappy classic rock to choose from instead of two.  I agree with Thenonymous, just play music, forget the morning shows.  Dean and Rog are boring and Walton and Johnson are brainwashed.

Sick of crappy radio
Sick of crappy radio

 I moved away from Austin fairly recently, but while still living there I enjoyed the Charlie Hodge Halftime Show on 93.7 KLBJ from 10-2; pretty lowbrow, somewhat fratty stuff most of the time, but decent all in all.  Anyway, the station is owned by Ennis and, after earning himself that a four-hour slot and a sidekick after flying solo during an hour-long slot for about a year, Charlie explained that the "boss," citing "market research" or some such malarkey, had decided that three hours of the show would be heavily interspersed with the same overplayed B.S. that the station had on repeat for most of the rest of the day (think Ozzy, AC/DC, Van Halen, SRV, ZZ Top, etc.).  Listeners proceeded to voice their disbelief and were not at all pleased with said decision.

The thing I wondered (of which this thing with the Eagle reminds me) was, who/where the hell are these people who answer these alleged Clear Channel/Ennis surveys with a "Hell yeah, you better believe I want to hear the same 30 worn out songs again and again and again!"?  If they actually do exist, they suck even more than corporate radio...they at least SHOULD be capable of critical thinking, developing better taste, etc. as opposed to undying, blind loyalty to the profit motive, blandness for the sake of appealing to the masses, etc.  Even people who have relatively poor taste in music get sick of the hearing the same songs over and over.

Corporate radio = NO BALLS.

Steve
Steve

"Houston radio is terrible. Half the stations are Latino music" Here in the San Francisco Bay Area is the same thing. Today's radio station playing music more crappy than ever. More and more alternative music stations are being pull of the air. hate the corporations that own radio station. that they never give new artist a chance, just playing what they like.

Andrew
Andrew

I recommend some further research on your story. Cox Communications is a cable TV provider and does not own any radio stations. 

Brian Cuthbert
Brian Cuthbert

Houston radio is terrible. Half the stations are Latino music (no problem with this type of music, but we do live in America!), and of the other half, you have 2 classic rock stations, 2 country stations, 3 modern hit stations, 1 smooth listening station, 1 rap station, and 1 Christian station. Really, you mean to tell me that I have 10 stations to choose from? An most of the time, they are all on commercial at the same time. Take a trip to Austin if you want good radio stations. They literally have 20 or 30 radio stations playing popular music of some sort. Oh, and if you want to know why The Arrow and The Eagle are so low in ratings, sit and listen to the music they play for 30 minutes to an hour. It is nothing but 1 or 2 classic hits, interspersed between 15 or 20 songs I have never heard, or absolutely hate. Way to go Cox...you killed the only station I actually looked forward to listening to.

Guest
Guest

wow. You don't know anything about music at all.

OhYeah
OhYeah

Actually it sounds like he knows exactly what he's talking about. Ever been to Dallas, or Austin or even San Antonio and listened to their Rock/Alt stations. Immeasurably better than anything offered in Houston (mainstream wise) and *gasp* successful as well. 

I switched to satellite radio years ago, a few days after KLOL went Latino in fact. Even that station was borderline garbage and was horrible after adding Walton and Johnson. Horrible radio to say the least, they really must have pictures of high ranking Clear Channel executives doing unspeakable things to farm animals since they manage to stay on the air.

 I only listen to FM/AM when in a work truck and that time does little more than remind me of why I gave up on free radio years ago. You get what you pay for and you pay nothing for FM/AM radio. Definitely explains a lot...

huh?
huh?

What is this FM radio thing people keep talking about? You mean there is more out there than AM 950 Conservative Talk Radio bitterness and hate mongering? I must explore

Powley_stephen
Powley_stephen

I am so sad, I thought the Zone was good enough to make it and they actually played music that brought childhood memories to mind and they go and ruin it! And less commercials. I was wanting to request a few new songs by the way. How about Lifehouse? I mean We have one Eagle why do we need two. So not fair!!! And that is also greedy as well!!!! Please BRING THE ZONE BACK TO THE WOODLANDS, TX ASAP!!! 

Alan LaRue
Alan LaRue

My son was in from out of town for a couple of weeks, and told me he'd discovered the best station anywhere: The Zone. I emailed him today to tell him it was gone.

I listened to 107.5 almost all of the time until they got Dean and Rog and became "The Eagle". I emailed the program director after the announcement and told him what I thought. He had created what I thought was the best station in Houston, and then threw it all away. We didn't need another classic rock station! And I enjoyed The Point, too, which was programmed by the same guy. I listen almost exclusively to 103.7 now, anyway, so I'm not going to miss 106.9 anyway.

Kafreeman84
Kafreeman84

Not really especially since they took The Point off the air. Why have The Eagle on two different stations? Just bring back The Point! It basically was a combination of the two stations they have done since.

Chuck Mann
Chuck Mann

God, this sucks.  With 103.7 and 106.9, you actually had TWO stations in Houston that were fun to listen to you.  Maybe the Zone wasn't cutting-edge but so what?  They still played good alternative stuff.  Houston radio just sucks in general and this is a giant step backwards for it.

Laura
Laura

I liked the Zone - no one was playing music like that in Houston. Guess you are right Sarah!

Auto-tuned out in Houston
Auto-tuned out in Houston

My husband and I LOVED the zone which isn't suprising--but what I thought was interesting is that it had become our 12 and 14yr old kid's favorite station, they were sick and tired of all the auto tuned singing and hearing the same songs over and over on the other stations -- PLEASE BRING THE ZONE BACK!

Thenonymous
Thenonymous

Consider this an open letter to any non-Clear Channel radio station operator that wants to actually compete for listeners. It's very simple: Play music.

I'm not talking about the "buy a Time/Life collection of the [60s/70s/80s/"90s"], then hit repeat" Clear Channel model that you have been trying to unsuccessfully emulate. Nobody needs to hear Freebird three times a day, nor should they have to. I mean really play music.

Trade publications are always wringing their hands, and going on about how "will satellite/internet radio kill broadcast radio." This is wrong. CONSULTANTS killed broadcast radio, or at least left it in a coma. However, this can be reversed, if you have even an ounce of vision and/or bravery.

That 100-song playlist that you all dismissively cough forth like a cat working through a hairball is an insult to your audience's intelligence. Scrap it. Program it. You've got 50 years of rock to choose from - deep album cuts, b-sides, limited releases, obscure artists that did great things, great songs by major artists that never got radio airplay... just play it. Try to make it a radio station that the DJs working there would actually listen to - because I guaran-damn-tee you that there isn't currently a station in Houston that fits that description.

Trust me on this. If you do this, you will dominate your market. Listeners will come. With the listeners in place, you won't have to scrounge around selling ad time to used-gun dealers and auto body shops.

I_give_up
I_give_up

on what sarah said....I'm an attorney and (I can't speak for women) most of the educated young professional men I know loved this station.  I always hear about how the 20-45 male demo is the goose that laid the golden egg.  Did they just not market it correctly?  I am at a loss for how that happened. 

SARAH ESENWEIN
SARAH ESENWEIN

Really? Twice the exposure to canned scams and omni-rotational run-of-the-mill Classic Rock LITE, really??  At least it's not War of the Roses...oh how pitiful it is to hear people talk about that fluff as if it were a meaningful empathetic investment.  Too bad they blew up the alternative hits path, all it needed was a little formatting TLC...I mean, that's gotta be the easiest the road to take and they played the chicken.  This lack of creative rivalry is no fun!   Was it the plane over BuzzFest?  Was that the straw that brought the station's flip??  This next book's gonna be good times.  Will stunting, switching up and woohoo screwy simulacasting be enough to bring in the big numbers?  Or will the static frequencies be a comfort to the audience and stay strong?

Gogirl
Gogirl

Ok..now go get Walton a sandwich.

I_give_up
I_give_up

Was there not enough growling?  Lord knows I love vocalists that sound like cookie monster.  Or perhaps it was short on powerchords and songs in C major.  I guess the radio reflects the city.  In my experience, this city boasts forty types of metal (including metal christian deathcore), but hardly any alternative/indie. 

I_hate_houston_radio
I_hate_houston_radio

Between the superbowl, the world series, the NBA finals, and the pacquiao fight, there are relatively few bight spots in entertainment I can throw in my Dallas friends' faces.  This was one of them.  Thank you, Houston, for making life unbearable. 

Andrew
Andrew

Once again a tiny flicker of light no FM radio is blown out....

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