If you’re a fan of progressive rock and “deep cuts”, you don’t want to miss The Goat’s A to Z presentation. Every year at this time, WXYG in Sauk Rapids, Minnesota plays their entire music library in alphabetical order. Sure, lots of stations do ‘A to Z’ specials. The difference is that The Goat has literally thousands of songs in their archives. Once a year, it all gets played back for us to enjoy.
This year, The Goat A to Z also celebrates the life of Minnesota broadcaster and owner Herb Hoppe. As WXYG posted earlier today on their Facebook page, “Herb passed away last year, but his “life force” permeates every part of our radio stations, that he built from the ground up, starting almost 60 years ago.”
WXYG’s AM signal on 540 serves a significant portion of central Minnesota. Their FM translator on 107.3 covers the immediate St. Cloud metropolitan area. In addition, The Goat is available worldwide via high quality audio stream. Album Rock WXYG’s “The Goat A to Z” began at 4:00PM local time on Friday, June 7, 2019. It usually wraps up just before the 4th of July. Now THAT’S a broad playlist! Be sure to give them a listen. I guarantee you’ll be exposed some great tunes that you have never heard before.
When I was at KKEZ in Fort Dodge, Iowa, we did an annual promotion called “The 94 Days of Summer.” It coincided with our dial position (94.5) and our moniker (Z94.) Start date was exactly 93 days before Labor Day, making Labor Day the 94th and final day of summer. Other stations held similar events. The duration of summer varied from 92 to 108 days, depending on the station’s frequency!
Even though it wasn’t exactly original, I always thought it was a memorable promotion. 30 years later, I can still hear the sweepers in my mind. Our listeners sure seemed to enjoy the prizes. When you live in a northern state like Iowa with brutal winters, everyone loves summer. Those days between Memorial Day and Labor Day go by way too quickly!
When I was a kid, holiday weekends meant special radio programs! Not syndicated shows, but genuine, live and locally-produced specials. In Minneapolis, KDWB had “The Memorial Day 500 Countdown.” This was an obvious play on the Indy 500 which also took place over Memorial Day Weekend. Starting at 3:00PM on Friday, KDWB would count down what they determined to be the Top 500 songs of all time. #1 was always “Stairway to Heaven.” Also in the Top 10 were “Free Bird”, “Layla”, “Roundabout”, and “Hey Jude.” The usual suspects. After number one was played, the jock would start over with number 500.
There was nothing magical about this. Several markets did it. But it WAS an annual event that we looked forward to. Most importantly, it was live and local radio. The song list in Minneapolis was different from the song list on WLS in Chicago. Which was different still from WABC’s list in New York City or KHJ’s in Los Angeles. Just as their weekly countdowns were different. That’s what made radio fun and interesting.
Do you know of any stations which still do local holiday programming? Or does it all come via downloaded .mp3 files from a national syndicator? I strongly suspect the latter. Please tell me that I am wrong.
It’s not very often that I personally endorse a radio station on this website. But I’ll make an exception for Gainesville’s 104.9 WOW FM. This is one of those rare projects that put all the elements together and got it right.
To the FCC, this station is known as WYGC-FM 104.9 in High Springs, Florida. Although only spoken at the top of the hour, the call letters themselves have a long and interesting history. The WYGC calls were originally attached to the 100.9 frequency in Gainesville. The format was country and the calls stood for “We’re Your Gator Country.” Gainesville is home to the University of Florida Gators. 104.9 was originally issued the confusingly similar WYOC calls. Those stood for “We’re Your Oldies Channel.” Format at the time was satellite oldies. Asterisk Communications formerly owned both stations. They moved the WYGC calls to 104.9 when it became a simulcast of WTRS, their country station in neighboring Ocala. Now, back to the present day:
Under current owner JVC Broadcasting, this station has become 104.9 WOW FM, positioned as “Gainesville’s Classic Hits.” I consider it Classic Top 40, due to the station’s broad playlist and personality-intensive approach. Believe it or not, WOW FM features real live air talents behind real microphones! Longtime North Florida air personality “Leroy the Love Toy” handles mornings. Program Director Chris Chaos (another well known talent in the region) does middays. Legendary Top 40 jock JoJo Cookin’ Kincaid is the afternoon host. Yes, THAT JoJo Kincaid. The one whom I used to steal bits from when he was at KKLQ in San Diego! Their night guy is Doug Clifford, formerly across town at WSKY-FM 97.3. WOW FM’s airstaff complements the format quite nicely. Listen for just a few minutes and it become obvious these guys love what they do. They’re good at it, too!
Many stations have experimented with the Classic Hits/Greatest Hits format. Most have failed because the playlist was too narrow and leaned towards a Classic Rock wannabe sound. Or because the station was voicetracked, lacking live personalities who could interact with listeners in real time. WOW FM “gets it” with this format. The result is an upbeat, energetic station that’s FUN to listen to. Very reminiscent of Top 40 radio during the 1970s and 80s. The music is dead on. All your favorites are there along with plenty of “oh, WOW songs” to keep things interesting. They even play disco! I haven’t heard Debbie Boone yet, but I’m sure she’s in there somewhere.
I believe JVC has created a winner here. Give WOW FM a listen when you have a chance and let me know what you think.
These past few weeks, I’ve been listening to a new online station: K-ROB. The station promotes itself as “Non Stop 70s and 80s Hits” and they certainly deliver on that promise! KROB is currently running commercial-free. Broadcasting from the Delmarva Peninsula, K-ROB is the creation of veteran radio programmer Rob Walker.
If you’re wanting to hear the same 400 or so “carefully selected and researched” classic hits as dictated by corporate consultants and focus groups, do NOT listen to Rob’s new station. You will no doubt be disappointed. But if you enjoy hearing such lost 45s as Oxo’s “Whirly Girl”, Roger Vodouris’ “Get Used To It”, Andrew Gold’s “Lonely Boy”, and even “Soul City” by the Partland Brothers, you will LOVE KROB!
Of course, all the big Top 40 radio hits of the 1970s & 80s play here, too. The presentation is very professional and the audio quality is excellent. Give K-ROB a listen and let us know what you think!