93-1: Music, listeners and Kiss FMDon Day | October 7, 2009
Nine years and one month ago, KSAS/103.3 Kiss FM signed on the air – designed to destroy KZMG/Magic 93.1. It took nine years and a raft of changes (and maybe a little help from Wild 101), but Magic 93.1 is dead. Not dead like this – but gone.
In its place – Citadel has launched… a similar station. 93.1 Hit Music Now hit the air this week – and is a bit like Magic 93.1’s sister. It lives in the same house (at 93.1), has the same parents (Rich Summers and Don Morin) and looks sorta the same (lots of pink and black) — but is different somehow.
The new 93.1 kept the same staff – including Tom Collins, Matt “MJ” Johnson and DJ Dickman (though he now goes by DJ David, more on that here). But what had been a tired, listless presence has been chucked out the window. Now the station seems insanely focused on three things: playing lots of music, putting a ton of listeners on the air and throwing elbows at Kiss FM.
Kiss FM seems to be the girl that everyone wants to date. Wild 101 took to the air and quickly started throwing sharp elbows at Kiss. It worked. While KSAS retained much of its ratings, Wild saw a big boost – and became the top pop station in Boise — fast. Now, in a bit of a “me too” move, Magic — er — 93.1 Hit Music Now — is mocking Kiss.
“It’s good to know 93.1 Hit Music Now plays more music every hour than Kiss FM,” one liner reads. That liner is read… by… you guessed it… Kiss FM’s old voice guy. Now passing around a voiceover talent like a piece of used chewing gum isn’t that strange – there’s something else about it. When KSAS switched this guy for someone new about two years ago – they didn’t evolve much. The current talent sounds pretty similar. So now the two stations have twin voice guys, but 93.1’s guy is still saying “Kiss FM” — a lot.
93.1 has also given its music an overhaul. It’s still pop, sure – but it is all very upbeat and happy and — well — poppy. Song after song of tunes with a high BPM rate. Even downbeat songs like Kings of Leon’s “Use Somebody” get a magical makeover – with a dance version subbed in for the traditional cut.
The station is working very hard to deliver on the promise to play a lot of music. 12, 13 even 14 cuts an hour. It has revamped its clock structure – with one long stretch of spots at about 20 after the hour. DJs are limited to reading short liners, seguing between songs – or teeing up an audio drop from a listener.
Those listeners are on the air a ton. Not for long, mind you – usually quick drops. “I’m stuck behind a train and the only thing keeping me going is 93.1 Hit Music Now,” etc. Several drops an hour ask for people to “pick up their cell phone and call 424-9300.” MJ even asked for folks from a specific city to call in during the 6pm hour.
Several of these goals run into one roadblock: Kidd Kraddic in the morning. Kraddic’s show is low on music and high on chat. Low on listener interaction and high on host to host interaction. Magic did make one change – swapping out the 9am hour of the Kraddic show (which was actually the first hour of his show playing out of sequence — after the hosts had already said goodbye) for… music. And listener interaction. And shots at Kiss.
The station had to do something. It was more than time. A parade of program directors and of morning hosts and of philosophies and styles stopped working. The Magic name – however heritage – was outdated. Magic is something that conjures up images of Siegried and Roy or a card trick or… well… not really anything hip. Citadel has never changed format on a station in Boise – ever. You can almost imagine a meeting of top Citadel managers trying to decide what to do with KZMG. Look around at the landscape – what would you flip the station to? Maybe there’s a great idea out there – but right now one last Hail Mary with pop seems like the only option available.