As predicted, Houston's all-Beyoncé FM radio station that debuted last week proved short-lived. As of a few minutes ago, KROI-FM or "B92," which debuted last Wednesday in the wake of surprise layoffs at the now-former News 92.1 FM, has changed its format to classic hip-hop and rebranded itself "The Boom."
B92 blinked out at the stroke of 5 p.m., right in the middle of Beyoncé's "If I Were a Boy," but for the moment the retooled station is still streaming at b921fm.com. A station ID gave way to an EKG flatline sound effect, then flipping-station static, then a montage that included Naughty By Nature's "Hip Hop Hooray," Dr. Dre & Snoop Dogg's "Nothin' But a G Thang," Lil Keke's "Southside," and finally landed on the Geto Boys' "Mind Playin' Tricks on Me." The next song after that was Ice Cube's "Check Yo Self," which of course samples Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five's "The Message." (Well played.)
As we mentioned last week, an all-Beyoncé station sounds like a can't-lose proposition at first, but the idea has a sizable Achilles heel: The 33-year-old Houston-born singer has to date only recorded about eight hours and change worth of original content, including with her former group Destiny's Child. Shortly after the format change, many media observers were quick to identify the practice of "stunting," a sort of radio sleight of hand where a station about to undergo such a change will employ similar attention-grabbing tactics while preparing to debut a longer-term format.
In March, when a San Francisco station suddenly began playing Nelly's 2002 hit "Hot In Herre," one radio insider explained to Slate.com that it was like "Parading an elephant down the street alerts people that the [old] format is gone...It's like when the circus comes to town."
Sounds like it couldn't have gone any better in this case; by now Houston's all-Beyoncé station has made international headlines and been mentioned by national media outlets from CBS News to Entertainment Tonight. B92 had no live DJs, but made dozens of "bumpers," or catchphrase-length ads, touting the station.
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The flip was predicted by trade Web site radioinsight.com, which noted that B92's parent company, Radio One -- which also owns 97.9 The Box, Majic 102 and Praise 102.3 (HD-2) in the Houston market -- has already reserved several sites using names that combine the terms Boom, 92 and Houston.
Radio Insight also noted a potentially serious hiccup in Radio One's plan, however: "'Boom FM' s trademarked by CBS Radio and an application to trademark 'Boom' for use in radio was made by CBS on October 3," it says. "CBS has utilized the 'Boom' branding on 96.5 KJAQ-HD2 Seattle."
So stay tuned, everybody. Gosh, we love saying that.
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