You can't say I didn't warn you.
Imagine my very, very slight surprise when I discovered that Jammin 105.9 was gone this morning. I turned on 105.9 FM (KFMK), expecting to hear, most likely, Kidd Kraddick going on about something or another. Instead, I heard rock music, which was quite a surprise, as I had been expecting KFMK to go all hip-hop for some time now. Instead, the station was calling itself "105-9 the Planet", and it was playing an interesting mix of rock music, that's for sure.
And I was all ready to write it up on my blog and talk about where they might be positioned (between 101X and KLBJ, I thought), when I discovered to my chagrin that the internet was down where I was. And so I waited.
In the meantime, it turned out that "105-9 the Planet" was simply a stunt. And what format did end up on 105.9? As expected, it is now hip-hop. They're calling themselves "105.9 the Beat", taking the moniker formerly in use at 104.3 and 104.9 at different points in Austin's radio history and presenting themselves as an alternative to Hot 93.3. (Warning: when visiting Hot 93.3's site, make sure you use ".fm" in the address. Don't use ".com" unless you like non-kid-friendly material appearing on your desktop. Live and learn, I suppose.)
And that's all well and good. But did this have to happen to Jammin 105.9? It's well known that Clear Channel is trying to sell the station for a while, but before then, "jammin' oldies" was a popular format throughout the nation, right around 1999-2000 or so. Jammin 105.9 got good ratings in the Austin market, and the station was entertaining and fun to listen to, thanks to the personalities in place at the time.
So what went wrong? Well, several things happened. First, there was attrition. Personalities left the station and their replacements were either not quite as entertaining, or they were voice-tracked from another city, or both. This was originally mostly due to long-gone 107.7 the End, which was all-80s at the time. Plus, I suppose the format's popularity began to wane with the public. So, KFMK tweaked its playlist multiple times throughout its history, eventually going from a mostly 60s and 70s Motown/disco mix to a mostly 80s rhythmic mix, until finally in 2006 Jammin 105.9 went to the mishmash of a format it had until this morning, with 80s rhythmic songs followed by 90s or 00s rap. It was an interesting array of music, to be sure, but it did not entice me to leave my radio on the station for very long at any one time. (The advent of Bob FM in 2004 was also influential in that aspect.) Add to that the fact that all the live on-air personalities were let go in 2006 during the format tweak mentioned above, and suddenly KFMK became a station with no real unique character. Jammin 105.9 was a bland mix of music that was sometimes good. It was almost as if Clear Channel was trying to kill the station before selling it. (The use of syndicated personalities such as Kidd Kraddick and Ryan Seacrest generally did not help with these images of the station.)
Then in the last 18 months or so, KFMK had a hybrid sort of format, with the mishmash most of the day, but hip-hop weeknights from 7 to 1 and weekends from noon to 1am. This apparently did not appeal to listeners either, and so KFMK's ratings fell further. It was only a matter of time before the format was going to change, and that day has come for Jammin 105.9.
With that said, for almost 11 years, Jammin 105.9 was an integral part of my Austin radio experience, and even though it was a shell of its former self when it departed this world, I will miss it.