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Bee-otch of the Month

For July:


*the media,
*and iHeartMedia




Originally published June 21, 2018:

Once upon a time, there was a radio station in Detroit at 106.7 with some memorable call letters: WWWW.

The station was nicknamed W4 and until 1981 carried a rock format. As a matter of fact, Howard Stern handled mornings there. Of course, if you've seen Private Parts, you know the story. The ratings sucked, the station flipped to country and Howard moved to Washington, DC.

For years, W4 was the top country station in the Motor City. It consistently beat country upstart WYCD in the ratings. W4 did quite well. But then, Alice came to town.

On September 3, 1999, WWWW flipped to the weirdly-named format known as rock AC and it became Alice 106.7. The ratings tanked while WYCD took away their former listeners. Alice finally died in 2002, being replaced with classic rocker The Drive.

In the 16 years since, 106.7 in Detroit has been the home of failed format after failed format. It seemed that it changed format every year or two or even less. It even flipped back to country in 2006 as The Fox, but the ratings were in the shitter. In 2009, after playing "Shutting Detroit Down" by John Rich, they flipped to rhythmic AC as The Beat. Ratings were OK, though it hurt sister station WKQI/Channel 955. In 2012, it flipped back to classic rock as The D.

Now, 106.7 in Detroit is a format it hasn't tried before: alternative. And, whad'ya know? The ratings suck. In the six months it's been on the air, the station has never been above a 1.7 share.

Supposedly, alternative is the hot format of the day. But the sad reality is that well, it isn't. True, there are a few alternative stations that do well in the ratings (i.e. KROQ Los Angeles), but for the most part, alt-rock is a ratings dud. Before Alt 106.7's arrival, Windsor's 89X was Detroit's de facto alternative station. Yet, they couldn't muster a two share in the ratings. Oddly enough, after Alt 106.7's arrival, 89X flipped to a harder rock format. It's hard to tell how they're doing in the ratings now since they're focused more on Windsor now.

Other than Alt 106.7, Michigan only has two other alt-rockers: Kalamazoo's Z96.5 and Battle Creek's 104.9 The Edge. Z96.5 does OK in the ratings, but that's because Kalamazoo's other rock stations sadly suck. The Edge, however, is on Q106's turf. With the exception of some butt rock tunes here and there and the fact that they carry Bob and Tom, Q106 ain't too bad of a station.

Michigan used to have plenty of alternative stations to choose from, even here in Grand Rapids. WGRD was alternative for a decade and a half until 2010. As an active rocker, their ratings have been pretty good. Up north, there was The Zone. From 1998 to 2000, they were a wuss station, avoiding most harder rock. However, thanks to new program director Kimberly Fox, she cleaned out the Matchbox 20, Jewel and Paula Cole (is she still alive?) and bands like Slipknot, Rage Against the Machine and Disturbed were in. The result: they ended up being neck-and-neck with KLT in the ratings. Now as Rock 105 and 95-5, they are reportedly STILL neck-and-neck with KLT.

Let's not forget that Lansing had two incarnations of The Edge. The last time around, their ratings were OK for being in a college town and all, but it was still blown up for classic country.

So, why is Alt 106.7 a dud? Simple: alternative rock in general, well, sucks. Most alt-rock stations are very wussy-sounding these days. Some of it's very slow and just too damn folksy. Plus, many of the bands that represent alt-rock nowadays won't be around much longer. Remember Fun.? They only released one album and then they broke up. The truth is that a regular, mainstream active rocker does way better in the ratings. WRIF is beating Alt 106.7 by leaps and bounds. Yet the problem is that record labels are overhyping wuss bands simply because it reaches a younger audience. OK, so why are bands like Ghost and Five Finger Death Punch outselling the likes of regular CHR artists like Dua Lipa, Halsey and even Kendrick Lamar? The simple truth is that there is a market for great, kickass rock 'n roll but the record companies all have their heads up their asses. Because of that, we have shit stations like Alt 106.7.

Let's also not forget that Alt's morning show, Woody is tape-delayed one day out of Los Angeles. Much of Alt 106.7's air talent is voicetracked out of other markets. WRIF, however has a local morning show that gets good numbers.

Question is, how long will it last? Remember, the average lifespan of a format on 106.7 in Detroit is maybe two years tops.

There's a reason why it's called alternative. It's an alternative... to ratings.

The nominees for the Bee-otch of the Yearâ„¢ 2017 are...

January: Donald Trump

February: Donald Trump

March: Joe Gassman

April:  Sinclair


June: iHeartMedia







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