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Occupation: media giant
Last Seen: San Antonio, TX
Bee-otched For: another dud format on 106.7
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
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
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
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.
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