If you miss KCPX radio's former musical format of "Contemporary Hit Radio," you only have to go one step up on the FM dial to find an alternative.
The former KLVV (FM-99.5) didn't waste any time in filling a hole in the market by switching over the weekend to a format that is nearly identical to what KCPX used to have. FM-99.5 used to have an adult contemporary format with a slant toward popular hits and love songs.KCPX switched its format to one of "continuous favorites" on Oct. 3.
The revamped FM-99.5 is the next local station up the FM dial from KCPX and is now identifying itself as "The New Q," according to Chuck Jackson, program director.
If you like MC Hammer, Paula Abdul and Janet Jackson, then FM-99.5 is the radio station for you.
(FM-99.5 played Hammer's "U Can't Touch This" continuously all last weekend as an attention-grabber.)
Jackson said 99.5 has moved quickly to fill the void left by KCPX, citing two important facts: The Wasatch Front has the youngest radio audience in the United States, More than a half dozen adult contemporary radio stations already exist in this market (led by KSFI), so the Wasatch Front was wide open for another contemporary hit radio station.
"We're more adult CHR," Jackson said. "Our target audience is adults, 18-44 . . . KISN (FM-97.1) and KZHT (FM-94.9) are probably our biggest competition."
Jackson said the "New Q" is a "music-intensive station" that will probably change its official call letters soon to reflect the format change. Special contests and promotions will be coming soon.
At least one former KLVV employee has been let go. Former operations manager/morning man Gaylen Palmer is gone.
- KCPX (FM-98.7) This Price Broadcasting station is now simply identifying itself as "K-98.7."
The "Breakfast Bunch," anchored by "Mr. and Mrs. Uglee," has departed from KCPX. Jay Kelly and Tami Sanders will debut as the new "Breakfast Bunch" morning team on Oct. 25.
Sanders, a KUTV personality, is perhaps best known for her work as co-host on the late "P.M. Magazine Utah." It's still not clear whether Sanders will retain her TV job when she makes her radio debut.
"We're positioning ourselves as a station that plays favorites that appeal to listeners at home, at work and at play," Wayne Courtney, KCPX general manager, said.
"The change has evolved from a desire for the station to play music which reflects the community it serves. The format will also provide a unique opportunity for local advertisers to communicate with listeners," Courtney said.
KCPX invested a significant amount of money into research that indicated a hole in the market for this kind of format.
The new KCPX is obviously going for a "less talk" and "more music" approach. Target listeners of the new KCPX will also be older.
The station played 98 hours of continuous music last weekend as an introductory treat for listeners, and it was refreshing to have more than four days of commercial-free listening. Although the music was occasionally plagued by imperfections, such as stuck records and by cutting all too quickly from one record to the next, KCPX gave listeners a rare treat of steady music.
- Too many varieties of the "Breakfast Bunch?"
KCPX has made all-too-frequent changes in its morning personality lineup. For example:
- Last August, Mick Mackay moved from mornings to afternoons when "Mrs. Uglee" signed on.
- Prior to that, KCPX had Andy Barber and Shiela Balistreri in the morning drive-time spot.
- Before that, it was Jack Sunday and Peggy Ijams during the morning hours on FM-98.7.
- Back in 1985, Stan Main and Phil Conrad were the morning "Party Animals" on KCPX.
In the past five years, KCPX has made four drastic changes in its morning personality team - that's an average of one switch every 15 months. Changing formats is one thing, but if averages hold, we'll hear an entirely new morning team on KCPX again late in the fall of 1991. This makes you wonder if steady KCPX listeners really like the nearly annual morning changes at the station.
Change rules the world, but loyal listeners probably prefer it when morning personalities stay around for several years or more at the same station.
"Fisher and Todd" at KISN (FM-97.1) deserve some praise since they've been loyal to the same station since the mid-1980s. It wouldn't be surprising to see KISN's morning radio ratings get a lot stronger, while KCPX's continue to go down.
The move to KLZX by "Jon and Dan" doesn't seem all that long ago (summer of 1989), but Carter and Bammes have already been at Z-93 approximately as long as the average KCPX morning team.
And on the AM side, how long has Tom Barberi been on KALL (AM-910)? Two decades this December.
More veteran deejays could be listed, but the point is that while it's refreshing to periodically find new talent on the Wasatch Front radio dial, the old standbys are the bread and butter for most listeners. Veterans have stayed around long enough to have earned their audience, instead of just inheriting listeners from previous deejays.
KCPX management should consider doing its best to keep its newest, upcoming morning team around longer, like maybe at least two years this time around.