UTICA/ROME -- A month and a half after replacing local morning host Bill Keeler with the syndicated Bob and Tom Show, locally-owned 92.7 The Drive (WXUR) is making more big changes. The station has hired veteran programmer Tom Starr and veteran sales manager Chuck Hebbard. Changes to the station's rock format will take effect tomorrow afternoon.
Here's the full press release we received from Ops Manager Jack Moran today:
Changes and New Hires for 927 “The Drive”
In addition to recently welcoming the popular Bob & Tom show back to the morning airwaves, Utica radio station WXUR (92.7 FM, The Drive)
is adjusting it's music. Bob & Tom can be heard weekdays from 6-10 a.m. The change coincides with the addition of two well known local radio people to it's programming and sales staffs. Tom Starr, a veteran of Utica Radio will be programming The Drive, and Chuck Hebbard, a former sales manager with over 30 years experience in the market, has joined the sales team at the locally owned and operated station.
Station owner Mindy Barstein says, “The additions of Starr and Hebbard reflect the station's commitment to providing outstanding programming for Mohawk Valley listeners and marketing services to area businesses.
Barstein continues, "During his years as the Program Director and Operations Manager, Tom introduced an incredible number of artists that went on to become the biggest names in Rock. Tom has earned national recognition for his programming talent by Rolling Stone Magazine. He is very excited to bring a real rock and roll format back to The Utica/Rome market.”
Starr concurs. "When the local radio market was shaken up 3 years ago, there was a void in the rock station programming. That lack of choice has left a lot of listeners without a favorite radio station."
The new format on The Drive (92.7 FM) launches Friday (2/18) at 5pm.
While it will retain much of the music it has been playing, the WXUR, 92.7 FM format, will place a greater emphasis on offering a range of artists and songs that will appeal to people that grew up listening to Rock radio. The Doobie Brothers, Dire Straits, Eric Clapton, Fleetwood Mac, Bruce Springsteen and the Eagles are a few of the groups that will be prominent on The Drive.
Starr says The Drive format will include songs from acts that no area stations play. "Some people are fine on a steady diet of the same handful of artists and songs every day. But that one dimensional approach bores me and a lot of other people who, I think, will find that The Drive is a refreshing alternative."
The on air line up includes Rick Devoe, Jack Moran, Frank McBride, Tom Starr and Dave Phoenix.
As a way of introducing the new format, WXUR 92.7 FM The Drive will open with a weekend featuring three song sets from its extensive new library. The Triple Play Weekend on The Drive kicks-off at 5pm Friday (2/18), and will include back-to-back-to-back songs from an artist, a year or with a common theme.
You've got to be kidding! This is the saving grace? No other comment is necessary.
What is no one else playing? When I used to listen more I heard all kinds of obscure stuff on TK99, now and then. I would presume now that WOUR is more or less a TK99 simulcast you get the same mild variety.
One of the reasons I pretty well quit listening to music radio is I got tired of the same top 40 rock hits of each year from like 1967-1990 played over and over and over and over and over with only the very occasional surprise. When I listened to oldies it was like that; when I went to classic rock after a while it got like that. The same classic artists would put out a new album which would have a play life of maybe six months for one or two songs, unless they became a billboard top 10 hit, then dissapear. For a while you had a hard rock alternative to switch to, but then it went "alternative" and right out of my presets. I listened to country for a while, but I can only take so many sad songs, and the country playlist is similar - like the top 40 biggest hits of around 1990-2000, the top 10 biggest of 2001-2010, whatever is fresh and new has a short shelf life, and very little of anything older, so it worked out to 90% of the same constantly repeated songs. It got so in the end if a song came on I didn't like or they went to commercials I was hitting the preset buttons for as many as 7 or 8 stations, and I didn't want to be constantly doing that in the car. So I went to tapes/CDs, then over to talk radio because that I can set and (mostly) forget. There were no other music formats I had any interest in.
The reason I say this is "The Doobie Brothers, Dire Straits, Eric Clapton, Fleetwood Mac, Bruce Springsteen and the Eagles" are going to be the same tired songs that after the 3500th time this year made me tune out music radio entirely. Plus that are already played on TK99/WOUR.
Well, the market supported two stations with more or less the same format before, I suppose that's what the Drive folks are thinking here, playing more of that stuff will draw in more listeners. Plus they replace one Utica-area radio personality who got shafted by Galaxy with another. But I'll admit, I love Skynyrd, and even I only want to hear Free Bird so many times in a week, unless Savage is using it for bumper music instead of the usual for some reason.
"Station owner Mindy Barstein says, “The additions of Starr and Hebbard reflect the station’s commitment to providing outstanding programming for Mohawk Valley listeners and marketing services to area businesses."
Ummmmm seriously, what stupid thoughtless comment to make after fireing a LOCAL morning show.
Starr says The Drive format will include songs from acts that no area stations play. “Some people are fine on a steady diet of the same handful of artists and songs every day. But that one dimensional approach bores me and a lot of other people who, I think, will find that The Drive is a refreshing alternative.”
He just described WXUR to a tee!
How many times is Mindy going to change formats? It's a wonder she is still in business. Tom Starr may have been cool 20 years ago but now......
What void in rock stations? Utica already has 96.9 WOUR for classic rock and 94.9 Krock for modern/new rock. Plus there is the Syracuse stations 95X and TK99/105 for even more variety, not sure how well they come in within the city.
I agree with pontiac! What is sad is not only that WXUR apparently has no real identity and cannot decide what it wants to play musically, but in looking to fill what they saw as a void, they have merely created another one in the Utica market--now we're missing a station that plays a mix of classic rock and new rock. I liked the Drive's previous format for this reason. For those that disliked both WOUR (classic rock) and WKLL (modern rock) for their respective formats, the Drive was a breath of fresh air. Well, they have lost another listener as I will be listening to WQBJ (Q103.5 from Cobleskill, an out of town station I'm not sure everyone can get) from now on. Free Beer and Hot Wings is a hell of a lot funnier than are Bob and Tom!