The Eagle Soars Triumphant In Houston's Classic-Rock War

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Photos by Marco Torres
Dean and Rog on the air last week
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.

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.

REWIND: So, Is the New 93.7 FM The Beat Any Good?


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?

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L-R: The Eagle's Music Director Scott Sparks and Operations Manager Johnny Chiang
"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."

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."


Story continues on the next page.


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13 comments
Wayward Shepherd
Wayward Shepherd

I do like Dean and Rog's show. The birthday scams are hilarious. Give us Little Steven's Underground Garage and Houston is set.

Jimi Austin
Jimi Austin

Sad to see they're in denial about the music format and insist on playing the same burnt out songs.

Rusty Rentfro
Rusty Rentfro

Clear Channel is radio poison. It is the Demon Wal Mart of the air. May the god of your choice have mercy on us all and bless KPFT.

David627
David627

I listened to this in High School but have moved on, unlike many people.

LongTimeListener
LongTimeListener

"We tend to play songs that were true hits. The music is timeless and a soundtrack of our listener's lives," Kreischen offers. "Overall, our formula has worked. I don't anticipate buying another shitty Time/Life 4-cd collection and spinning it ad infinitum."


There. I fixed it for you.


Let me see if I can put this in a way that a corporate stooge for Cox (or CC) Radio can understand. "Classic Rock" - you've got a full 50 years of rock music to choose from. There have been more than 200 good songs created in that time period - "hits", even. People are not that frightened of the unfamiliar. You can go deeper, and possibly even attract a broader audience. You know who is buying classic rock now? Teenagers. Early 20-somethings. Moreover, they are buying it on vinyl. So they are interested in the deep cuts. Let's face it, nobody is driving around in their car right now saying to themselves, 'Gee. I hope I hear Aerosmith's version of "Come Together", again.'


Trust me on this. You're got a window of competitionless opportunity in which to try this experiment in radio. Do this, legitimately establish yourselves as "Houston's Rock Station"  - and not in the toothless, corporate, plain oatmeal and white bread, 50-65 yr old suburban market focus group way that you've opted for - and you'll kill any future up-and-coming competition. You might even be able to expand your listener base to the point that you're not selling ad time exclusively to gun stores and payday loan joints. 

stevek77536
stevek77536

"This excludes  ... the classic rock of KACC 89.7 FM out of Alvin. "  I don't.  At least not on the static free days.

WhiteLightning
WhiteLightning

@LongTimeListener I'm amazed someone hasn't brought back that mix that 103.7 had going. That was the first terrestial commercial station I actually gave the time of day to for the past decade or so. Re. The Arrow going south, that morning personality was a TOOL. Bringing him onboard was the kiss of death. Get the sexist bs off the air and get the best music on, that's a formula a lot of people will buy into.

ClassicRockBob
ClassicRockBob

@stevek77536 Hi SteveK. I mentioned "exclude" because I was talking specifically about city-of-Houston-based stations. And I know that a lot of classic rock fans are checking out KACC for the first time. The station also got recent mentions in Ken Hoffman's column in the Houston Chronicle. 

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