Saturday, May 22, 2010

Austin radio: 102.3, 105.9 swapping frequencies

In Austin, hip-hop music seemingly jumps from one frequency to another about every year.  First it was on 104.3, then 93.3 started competing, then 104.3 made a really ill-advised decision and dumped hip-hop, only to return to it six months later after watching their ratings decline by something like 75%, then 104.9, and now Austin's only source of hip-hop on the radio is 105.9 the Beat.

But not for long.

As multiple sources have reported, 105.9 the Beat is moving down to 102.3, sending the River upstream to 105.9 (the River has already updated its main page to reflect this change).

Most people in Austin might be wondering why Clear Channel, which operates both stations, would swap one for the other in this way.  The answer is fairly simple:  Clear Channel presently only owns one of the two stations, that being 102.3.  (I'd refer to these stations by their call letters, KFMK for 105.9 and KPEZ for 102.3, but knowing Clear Channel, these calls may change in the near future once this swap occurs.  Or not.)  Clear Channel divested itself of 105.9 a few years ago due to radio station ownership regulations and sold it, along with a lot of other stations in other Clear Channel markets, to something called the Aloha Station Trust, which, I assume, will eventually sell all these stations.  However, as stated above, Clear Channel is allowed to continue to operate 105.9 as its own station until Aloha does sell it.  And since The Beat has performed quite well in recent ratings periods, and much better than The River, Clear Channel very much wants to hold on to the successful format.

So, 102.3 the Beat will remain a Clear Channel property, while 105.9 the River will eventually find its way into someone else's hands, where it may or may not continue with its current format.  And thus Clear Channel remains quite happy with itself.

Meanwhile, Austin listeners find themselves changing their presets yet again.

Update:  The River has changed.  See here for info.


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