Radio behemoth Clear Channel Communications has yanked legendary Houston-area rock station KLOL-FM (101.1) off the air and replaced it with a format that radio insiders call "Spanglish Top 40," according to the Houston Chronicle.
The switch took place Friday morning (Nov. 12) when the new station — now called Mega 101 FM (with the tag line "Latino and Proud") — began playing 10,101 songs in a row.
In September, Clear Channel, the largest U.S. radio broadcaster with more than 1,200 stations, vowed to embark on an aggressive plan to convert as many as 25 of its stations to a Spanish-language format in the next 12-18 months.
The disc jockeys morning duo, Walton and Johnston, who had the seventh-most-popular morning show in Houston, announced on their web site that they were informed of the change "by lower-level management sources via a last-minute phone call" on Thursday night.
Clear Channel recently dropped a rock format that had been in effect for 36 years at 92.3 KSJO, San Jose's oldest rock station, in favor of an oldies-based, regional Mexican format.
What happened at KLOL was probably an inevitable result of music trends, said Joseph A. Kotarba, professor of sociology at the University of Houston.
Kotarba, who has taught about rock music for 20 years, said the traditional audience for hard rock and heavy metal has decreased since the 1980s. That audience is not as lucrative for radio stations and their advertisers as the quickly growing, young Latino audience, he said.
"Traditional hard rock is falling into the category of oldies," he said.
That means the music will be heard from time to time but with less and less talk about who the performer is, where the band is touring and so forth, Kotarba said.
"Hip-hop dance music, techno and various other styles of pop music are taking over in popularity," he said. "So that is what radio stations like the ones owned by Clear Channel go for. Everyone wants a more lucrative segment of the population." Read more.
(Thanks: Mark Moreno)