KUTR radio, the station with the LDS contemporary music/lifestyle format, will return to the Utah airwaves Monday at 5:30 a.m.
However, this resurrection will be made on a different frequency and with a new owner.KEMX (AM-1320, stereo) will be born again as KUTR Aug. 7 when Mike Carver comes back with the LDS music format that he helped start with Sunrise Communications on AM-860 back in July of 1985.
The original KUTR signed off the air on June 21 when its second owner, Phoenix-based Citadel Communications, decided to drop the LDS format in favor of simulcasting its more popular "Classic rock" format from FM-93.3 on the AM band.
Ken Bell, spokesman for KCPX-FM and its AM-1320 sister station, said that Price Broadcasting, the owner of the two stations, has committed to pick up the LDS format. He said that the company has applied with the FCC for the old KUTR call letters and believes there will be no problem in officially receiving them in the near future.
In fact, Price Broadcasting is negotiating a package deal with KLZX and Citadel Communications in hopes that it can pick up the entire KUTR format, complete with slogans, jingles, etc. and Bell said that the chances for success look good.
Rumors persisted for weeks after KUTR's June demise that another Salt Lake area radio station might try to pickup the station's format. At least two support groups, composed of diehard KUTR fans, worked hard writing letters to the editor, talking to former KUTR advertisers and also kept pressuring local stations to consider picking up the LDS music format. Bell said their efforts have finally paid off.
"Both from a listener and an advertising point of view, KUTR can be supported," Bell said.
Carver (5:30-10 a.m.) will highlight KUTR's radio personalities. He started at KDAB, but helped started the original KUTR station and most recently worked at KMGR ("Magic 107.5").
Bell said he cannot name any other KUTR personnel at this time, but that other personalities from the former LDS lifestyle station will likely be heard on AM-1320.
He also said that the new KUTR will have its own news staff, to be named in the near future.
Bell stated that some advertisers have already given strong support to a resurrection of the format and that AM-1320 will probably provide a stronger broadcast signal for northern Utah than AM-860 did.
(Bell is no stranger to LDS music programming himself, since he helped develop "The Sounds of Sunday" program on KFMY ("K-96") a few years ago.)
KUTR has a strong target audience in the 25-45 age range. The station ranked 26th in the latest Birch Radio Ratings, prior to its demise. While that ranking may not sound impressive, it is, because among AM stations, only KSL, KALL And KTKK (alias "K-Talk") are estimated to have more listeners than the old KUTR did.
According to Birch, KEMX's audience has been gradually dwindling and did not even have a measureable audience in the Spring Birch Radio Ratings, published in yesterday's Deseret News.
AM radio audiences are dwindling nationwide and Price Broadcasting has been able to find a real hole in the Wasatch Front radio market with the KUTR format. In fact, the new format has the potential to push AM-1320's audience share upward to a spot more deserving of the station that used to be Utah's legendary KCPX-AM (later KBUG and then KEMX).
Meanwhile, two of KEMX's most prominent personalities - Ray Kalusa and Mick MacKay - are in no danger of losing employment.
Kalusa will now be spending more time as assistant program director for KCPX-FM, while MacKay will still do traffic reports on the FM.
KEMX had already trimmed its staff drastically earlier this year in favor of broadcasting a satellite programming feed.