Changing radio formats is a gamble. In the case of the switch from sports talk to classic hip hop at KJZN (FM 105.5), it’s a gamble that’s paid off bigger than anyone expected.
John Ostlund, one of the owners of KJZN, describes the reaction as being “surreal.”
“When you have a station that has been wallowing at the trough of the bottom of the ratings for all these years and then you play a format that is on fire around the country, the response is far greater than we ever anticipated,” Ostlund says. “We thought we would get some traction with this format, but it is a full-blown dragster.”
Local listeners are excited about a lineup that features music primarily from the ‘80s and ‘90s. The music library includes approximately 600 classic hits featuring Jay-Z, Tupac, Outkast, Dr. Dre , LL Cool J, Beastie Boys and others.
Ostlund is working on putting together an on-air staff. But, he’s going to let listeners decide what the new station will be called. More than 100 suggestions have been submitted by the community, from Kaboom to The Fly.
The top 10 suggestions will be revealed on air Monday, March 16. Listeners can vote for the name they like.
This format change came just weeks after the Federal Communications Commission approved a deal to allow One Putt Broadcasting — owners of the local radio stations Jewel FM, 940 ESPN, KYNO and 790 ESPN2 — to add three more stations to its group: 95.7 The Fox, New Rock 104.1 and 105.5.
Not everyone has been happy with the change.
Fans of Jim Rome miss the talk show host that was part of the CBS Sports lineup on KJZN before the change. At this point, Ostlund has contacted CBS Sports about moving Rome to either its 940 ESPN or 790 ESPN2 stations, but he has not heard any decision.
If they can’t movie it, the entire CBS Sports lineup could be picked up by another local radio station.