A weak rimshot located halfway between San Francisco and San Jose, the 104.9 frequency has always struggled to find its niche in the marketplace. A longtime Spanish language station, as KBRG, the frequency was part of a complex swap that saw four frequencies swap programming in 1997 and 1998. KBRG moved from 104.9 to 100.3; KBAY moved from 100.3 to 94.5; KUFX moved from 94.5 to 104.9 and then to 98.5 after Jacor acquired the former KOME from Infinity. KOME’s programming was merged into Infinity sister Live 105 leaving a hole for an adult targetting Alternative station. With a strong 80’s lean, Channel 104.9 filled that hole. In late 2000, KCNL’s sister 101.3 KIOI changed formats to All 80’s. In order to prevent overlap between the two stations, Channel 104.9 retarge...
One of the few remnants of independent commercial radio, Modern Rocker “FM 106.3” was sold to Press Communications in 2000. When the new ownership group took over at the stroke of midnight on November 14, 2000 the Alternative format was retained, but significantly retooled. A more adult, female approach was taken with an entirely new airstaff, imaging, and signal enhancements.
Mired with a subpar signal and being one of two Oldies stations in the market did not allow WSUN to take off in the Tampa Bay area. While rumors of Cox flipping the station to All-80’s ran rampant, the station began stunting with music from 2001: A Space Oddysey. At 5:00pm on November 3, 2000, the Tampa Bay area got its first taste at an Alternative station in many years with the debut of 97X. The first song, Hemhorrage by Fuel was dedicated to Modern AC WSSR and Active Rocker WXTB, both of whom are owned by competitor Clear Channel Communications.
Power 105.9 was one of the many Rhythmic Oldies stations that AMFM debuted across the U.S in the late 90’s. And, like most of those outlets, Power 105.9 was unable to maintain any sort of ratings success it achieved initially. As part of the AMFM/Clear Channel merger, Power 105.9 was sold to CBS/Infinity. CBS/Infinity saw the hole for a Modern Rock outlet in Market #39…following several hours of spooky stunting, “O-Rock 105-Nine, Orlando’s New Rock Alternative” made its debut at Noon on Halloween 2000.
WHRL had a long heritage as a station playing instrumental music in Albany, first as Beautiful Music, then as one of the first Smooth Jazz stations. In early 1999, Clear Channel purchased WHRL in their acquisition of Dame Media with no major on-air change. However, when modern rock WQBK-FM “The Edge” flipped suddenly to Active Rock in late September, a hole existed for modern rock. With Clear Channel flipping Smooth Jazz stations in smaller markets, WHRL was fair game for a change, and on October 2, 1999 became Modern Rock “Channel 103-1” quietly (with an outcry from the Smooth Jazz listeners). Those listeners would not have to worry, as Modern AC WZMR flipped to Smooth Jazz 16 days later
The first week of January 1999 was not a good time for the state of Modern Rock-oriented radio in Kansas City. Just as 102.1 was changing from Modern AC to AC , 107.3 decided to drop Modern Rock in favor of Rhythmic Oldies. The station had enough problems generating ratings due to its limited signal, and the ratings fell further after a dispute that led to the station dropping the syndicated Mancow morning show.
A longtime Classical Music outlet, WQRS felt the impact of radio deregulation in the mid-1990’s. Eventually coming under the control of Greater Media Broadcasting, the station did not bill as much as ownership would have liked. Following the trend of sister station WFLN in Philadelphia, which dropped Classical two months earlier, WQRS made one of the most drastic musical segues to launch “The Edge @ 105.1”. Midway through a classical piece, Nine Inch Nails’ “Closer” took over. In an over rocked market, The Edge had difficulty finding a niche in the market leading to a flip to Rhythmic Oldies in 1999.
In late 1996, Jarad Broadcasting sold off WDRE to Radio-One, who specializes in Urban based formats. With knowledge of a change coming, the station decided to go out with a bang. Sweepers promoted the days remaining until the death of ‘DRE, while an anything goes attitude prevailed at the station. On Valentines Day, 1997 WDRE presented Bitterfest, a concert to mark the demise of the station. As the clock prepared to strike midnight, 103.9 played Pearl Jam’s “Alive” while the concert’s crowd chanted “DRE, DRE, DRE”. At midnight the station began a weekend stunt of Old School R&B, until the sign-on of the “New 103.9” Urban format the following Monday.
The 103.9 frequency was one of the last remaining voids in the Philadelphia market. With a leased-time format under Fox Broadcasting, WIBF was an untapped goldmine in the world of formatted radio. Enter Jarad Broadcasting, owners of longtime Modern Rocker WDRE in Garden City, New York. Jarad was quickly developing a cluster of Modern Rock stations with the “Underground Network” moniker. Affiliates included stations in Albany, Memphis, Little Rock, and WIBF. Signing-On with Pearl Jam’s “Alive”, 103.9 would simulcast New York’s WDRE until the demise of the network. Around that time, the WDRE call letters were moved to 103.9, which went live and local until its death in 1997.