The Eagle Soars Triumphant In Houston's Classic-Rock War
This past New Year's Eve afternoon, as classic-rock fans across Houston were putting on their faux, pre-distressed Led Zeppelin '77 tour T-shirt to head out and ring in the new year (and presumably, to rock and roll all night), they might have been shocked when turning in to KKRW 93.7 FM The Arrow.
Photos by Marco Torres Dean and Rog on the air last week
Instead of hearing familiar tunes from the the Stones, Deep Purple, Pink Floyd, AC/DC or even Loverboy, they got an earful of Rick Ross, Beyonce, Jay-Z, and Drake. None of whom, I should mention, ever covered "Sunshine of Your Love."
In one of those no-warning, no-quarter moves that happens all the time across the dial, the Arrow was no more, with hip-hop/R&B-formatted "The Beat" now broadcasting on the frequency owned by Clear Channel.
That suddenly left Houston's other classic-rock station, Cox-owned KGLK 107.5 FM ("The Eagle"), as the sole practitioner of the continuous format on Houston terrestrial radio. This excludes multiple classic-rock Sirius/XM satellite stations, specialized KPFT 90.1 FM programming, and the classic rock of KACC 89.7 FM out of Alvin.
So what happens when your direct competition suddenly...disappears?
"I heard rumors of a potential change for KKRW in early October. Then the news began to leak from good sources a day or two before the flip," says Mark Krieschen, Vice President and Houston/Galveston Market Manager for Cox. "But I wasn't surprised. When you look at where the station was ranked in the ratings...it made sense to change direction."
L-R: The Eagle's Music Director Scott Sparks and Operations Manager Johnny Chiang
The Eagle's morning team of Dean Myers and Roger Beaty -- who did the same duties at The Arrow for 12 years until 2009 -- were similarly not shocked. But they immediately thought of former co-workers.
"We heard over the holidays, and our first thoughts were for Kelly [Ryan], Steve [Fixx] and the Colonel [St. James]. It's horrible getting fired at Christmas," the duo says. "But they hadn't been doing so hot [in the ratings] as of late."
As a radio format, "Classic Rock" debuted in the early '80s, playing music mostly from the years 1967-1977. As time progressed, more hitmaking bands from the '80s like Journey, Guns N' Roses and U2 joined the mix.
"They are the bands that can still fill arenas and the music that inspired today's artists as well as what we and our listeners grew up with," offer Dean and Rog. "And that can range from Beatles and Zeppelin to Skynyrd and the Allmans to Boston and Aerosmith."
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