The Eagle Flies Away With "Houston's Alternative Hits"

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Cox Communications has shuttered its fledgling "alternative hits" concept, 106.9 The Zone, and begun simulcasting The Eagle, The Zone's "classic hits" next-door neighbor, on that frequency as of 5:30 a.m. this morning.

"The Eagle's Classic Hits format, anchored by the Dean and Rog Show, will have the largest coverage area in southeast Texas," said Mark Krieschen, Vice President of Cox Media Group's Houston radio operations, in a press release on The Eagle's Web site.

"Combining the format on both frequencies will super-serve the entire metro market and beyond, and offer our brand to a wider listening audience."

Maybe so, but neither station was exactly setting the market on fire before the switch. According to the latest Arbitron ratings at allaccess.com, The Eagle (KGLK, 107.5 FM) pulled a 2.7 for the period ending May 11, while The Zone registered a 1.6. Those numbers put the stations in 17th and 22nd places in the Houston-Galvestion market, the sixth-largest in the U.S.

The No. 1 station, Clear Channel's Sunny 99.1 (KODA) pulled an 8.0 in the same period. The Eagle's chief rival, 93.7 The Arrow (KKRW), also owned by Clear Channel, came in 15th with a 3.0.

Krieschen said The Eagle's "coverage" - which Rocks Off takes to mean how easy it is to pick up the signal - had been strongest in the southeast area of the market, while The Zone was "robust" in the northwest.

The Zone had been broadcasting as "alternative hits," a format heavy on '80s and '90s artists like The Cure, Depeche Mode, Lenny Kravitz, Pearl Jam and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, since November, when it flipped from the all-'80s format The Point. According to song-tracking Web site yes.com, among the last few songs The Zone played were Temple of the Dog's "Hunger Strike," The Killers' "Somebody Told Me" and The Cure's "Lovesong."

Question: Does anyone even care anymore?

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