March 01, 2007

Max Evolves Into Wolf, Moves To Country

Well, you can't say that Entercom moves slowly.

95.7 The Wolf LogoThis morning, Entercom officially took control of the soon-to-be former Bonneville stations in San Francisco -- Classical KDFC/102.1, Soft Hits KOIT/96.5 and "Whatever" KMAX/95.7 -- as part of a local marketing agreement (LMA) that allows them to operate the stations in advance of receiving FCC approval for full ownership of the cluster.

First move: killing off "we play whatever the heck we want" KMAX during the seven o'clock hour this morning, and bringing back Country music to the metro San Francisco market by repositioning the station as 95.7 The Wolf. The station is currently playing 10,000 songs, commercial-free, in anticipation of hiring air personalities.

Under Bonneville, the 95.7 FM frequency was the home of Country music as "The Bear," as well as the short-lived attempt at Top 40 as Z95.7, before Max-ing out.

Now, speculation centers on what else -- if anything -- Entercom may do with its new trio of stations, although KOIT has long been a ratings and billing magnet for Bonneville over the past three decades. KDFC's Classical format might be ripe for a change, however, should new group GM Dwight Walker decide to exercise his authority and bring in Top 40, Oldies or another format that is not currently active in the market.

KTRB ANNOUNCES MARCH 15 DEBUT -- Seeking a solid Bay Area connection, it'll be Mancow in the morning and John London in the afternoon for the newly-arrived KTRB/860 beginning on March 15.

Mancow has local roots, having made stops at KDON/Monterey and Wild 107.7 (KSOL in its pre-KYLD 94.9 incarnation), while London worked at KMEL and KNBR before his ill-fated stint at fledgling Free FM 106.9 (KIFR) last year.

The weekday schedule at KTRB will have Mancow from 4 to 9 a.m., Glenn Beck from 9 a.m. to noon, Neal Boortz from noon to 3 p.m., and John London’s Inferno from 3 to 7 p.m.

KTRB had been running "The San Francisco Sound" -- music with roots in the Bay Area -- during this transitional transmitter tuning period, and has decided to continue it as a feature program on Saturday and Sunday evenings. "We planned to air the music during the test phase only, but the response was so overwhelming and so positive, we have decided to make it a permanent part of our schedule," according to station GM Jim Pappas.

Meanwhile, in the run-up to the March 15 talk format launch, KTRB is airing a 'round-the-clock tribute to San Francisco radio history, featuring broadcast recordings from the archives of the Bay Area Radio Museum, of which your intrepid reporter serves as director.

MORE CHANGES IN THE AIR -- Since change is the order of the day, Clear Channel -- not wanting to be left out -- has brought back Alternative Rocker Channel 104.9 (KCNL) in the Southbay after a little more than a year of Spanish-language Adult Contemporary and Pop music.

The change was made yesterday afternoon (February 28) at five o'clock.

It's one of those rarities you hardly ever see: a format and identity returning to a station at the same dial position. How long will it last? We'll see. There's a rumor that Clear Channel is planning to sell off its local holdings, and KCNL could be among those to go.