Closing Time: Some Unhappy With 103.7 FM's Christian Change

KHJK FM may 25-thumb-315x298.jpg
At 5 p.m. Tuesday, 103.7 KHJK left the Houston airwaves, leaving "Houston's Adult Alternative" without a substitute. Christian alternative format Air 1 Radio has taken its place.

The changeover as a result of Cumulus Media's prepackaged bankruptcy buyout that included KHJK and sports-talk station KFNC (97.5 FM, "The Ticket"). KFNC was bought by GOW Communications and KHJK was bought by Educational Media Foundation, which owns nationwide Contemporary Christian network KLOVE and its Christian alternative-music cousin Air 1.

Like KSBJ and public radio, the new station will be commercial-free and funded by pledge drives. According an EMF press release, Air1 is carried on 105 stations nationwide and heard by more than two million listeners weekly.

The change is a win-loss situation for Houston radio. It's a loss for local indie-music fans, who have lost their place to listen to the likes of Florence and the Machine, the Avett Brothers and Mumford and Sons.

However, it's also a win because fans of Christian rock will gain a new and more widely available outlet to listen to the likes of such favorites as the Fray, TobyMac, and more.

"Air1 is 'the positive alternative,' says Air1 programming director Paul Goldsmith. "I think people need some encouragement, we hope to offer that in a unique and compelling way."

Social media was abuzz Tuesday with reaction about the changeover, most it negative. Many Twitter users have said the changeover was either "lame" or a "damn shame." The Houston Chronicle's 29-95 tweeted "Houston's adult alternative station KHJK 103.7 changing to a Christian CHR format. Goodbye Shins on the radio."

KHJK "played a lot of new and often obscure alternative music that hadn't been played on Houston radio for many years," local media blogger Mike McGuff of mikemcguff.com told Rocks Off in an email. "I think that format could have been more successful on a more powerful transmitter.

"I always hate to see a locally staffed station go off the air," McGuff added. "103.7 was a great format."

KHJK ended its time on the Houston airwaves with Semisonic's "Closing Time" and the R.E.M. classic "It's the End Of The World As We Know It (and I Feel Fine)."

Rocks Off left messages to Steve Robinson, former KHJK Programming Director, but none were returned.


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19 comments
moniquniq1
moniquniq1

Sad to see another great thing gone in this city that I grew up in listening to great alternative radio in the 80's which this station relived for me but was sadly shortlived : ( just came back from another place visited which had a similar station except we were better, so I thought? R.I.P. 103 I'm turning radio off.

MWW777
MWW777

I'm turning the radio OFF

fletcherbarnett101
fletcherbarnett101

We finally had a half way decent replacement for KLOL and what happens?  It gets replaced with the only thing worse than a tejano station, christian alternative rock.  Think I'm gonna hurl.  This is the most horrible format ever.  And its not even the message that bugs me, the music lacks so much originality and substance, that no matter what you are listening to, it sounds like a cheap knock off of something better.  I'm mad to say the least. 

badge800
badge800

I concurr with "texansgurl", "so incredibly sad". I am 57 years old and had just about given up and had accepted in my mind the death of rock and roll as I once knew it. This part of my life was gone in that I could no longer stomach the same old, same old you get with these two so called classic rock stations we seem to have in Houston now. They play the same old worn out extremely narrow song list with crap that much of it I did not care for when it was NEW 25 plus years ago! How they stay afloat is a mystery to me with in itself and then by accident in search of something new I found 103.7 "Jack" FM at the time, and was an avid listener ever since. They literally opened new doors in my mind in that all was not lost regarding the brand of music I grew up on and LOVE STILL. They were shinning the light on a heck of a lot of new rising and oh so tallented young musicians of today while at the same time playing the cuts of many of the same who were around in my day that I KNEW had to exist in leiu of what these two classic rock stations run deeper and deeper into the ground. How many times can you stomach Linnard Skinner's "3 steps toward the door" when you already know songs like "Sweet Home Alabama" exist as a quick example? And now this? Sorry but like a freind of mine puts it, "I know where to get me some Jesus when I need some and don't come at me with your personal agenda of politics either please". Not to wish the new 103.7 any bad luck, in fact if I'm gravely disappointed with anyone it's this "Cumulis" outfit who ever they may be comprised of. I firmly beleive the both of them made a grave mistake as we the listener's will end up spelling this out to them. They have LOST me as a LISTENER for sure and I sincerely thank the ones on the front lines of the station itself for all they were able to do for me in the couple of years or so they were so much a part of my life. They were genious individuals who ever they were and had a REAL GOOD THING GOING. "SO INCREDIBLY SAD" AMEN.

texansgurl
texansgurl

I'm so incredibly sad to lose them... No other station can play The Beatles and then go to Death Cab... I guess I will go back to Austin's internet radio. =(

H_e_x
H_e_x

Hank Hill said it best: "Can't you see you're not making Christianity better? You're just making rock n' roll worse!"

kim sanders
kim sanders like.author.displayName 1 Like

Good bye the only originality on the radio here in Houston. Almost every song was good, and they rarely overplayed the same song, unlike the other local stations that play basically the same 12 songs all day long. 

Turbo_386
Turbo_386

Jake, just to offer you some insight that might help you to rethink your response, there are plenty of really good Christian rock and alternative groups, many of which get played on regular radio stations. Ever heard of "P.O.D" (think Linkin' Park), Supertones (think Mighty Mighty Bosstones), Kingsfall, Jars of Clay, Switchfoot, Third Day (think Mumford & Sons), Vertical Horizon.  There are countless others but these are ones you might have heard and not even realized they're Christian based bands.I agree Christian alternative is not nearly as vast as what we heard on 103.7, but there is some really good Christian alternative music out there which you wouldn't even know it was Chr/alt unless you listen to the lyrics closely.  And it certainly doesn't deserve to be tagged by you as "sucking ballzzzz" as you so ineloquently stated.As for the new station being shut down for lack of listeners, well, that's not likely since it's a nationwide feed and therefore is not solely dependent on our local market.  But as stated by me previously I very much hope the folks from 103.7 can find a way to get back on the air soon and bring the same format they had. 

Chris
Chris like.author.displayName 1 Like

@Turbo_386 I've followed God-rock since the early 90s. The bands you mentioned are not good rock bands. Good bands from the Christian realm were the ones that took real chances like The 77s, The Choir, Daniel Amos, Adam Again, LSU, The Prayer Chain, Cush, Vigilantes of Love, etc. But, I doubt this station will be interesting bands like these.

Bad Music Sucks
Bad Music Sucks

This is so disappointing.  Having moved here recently from Brooklyn, 103.7 was one of my favorite things I'd found about Houston.  It was by far the best station I had heard here, easily playing the best music without all the silly crap that goes along with a corporate channel.  Now all that seems to be left is country, christian and bad top 40.  Guess it is good-bye radio and hello iPod in the car.  Definitely takes a couple points away from Houston's cool factor...which could use a good music station - think Austin.

Shawn Gilbert
Shawn Gilbert

Wow...96.5 yuck, 104.1, no way....where do I go? 94.5?, 93.7?  Learn from Austin radio.  This really sucks

NGEL
NGEL

Well said Shawn - I had not listened to the radio for years and picked it back up with 103.7 - back to the iPOD like BMS...

Doc
Doc

In the immortal words of Hank Hill, "You're not making church cool, you're making rock worse."

Cecilia
Cecilia

Sad to them go. They played great music. Looking forward to the new station. GOD BLESS US ALL!

Jake Foster
Jake Foster

Mark my words. This radio station will get shut down soon due to the lack of  listeners. Nobody wants to hear Christian Rock which isn't even REAL Rock. This sucks ballzzzz

Happy Buddha
Happy Buddha like.author.displayName 1 Like

Whoa dude, relax. The criticisms I see here are aimed at Christian contemporary music, not their faith or religious practices.  Last time I checked, listening to CHR was not listed in the ten commandments, nor is it a sacrament.  And I'm no scholar, but I'm pretty sure you can still get through the Pearly Gates even if you think CHR sucks.  Which it does.

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