All (c)rapped out… (an intro to some of Houston’s top radio stations)

Yesterday, I did something that – three years ago – I swore I would never do. I removed 104, KRBE from my radio pre-sets. This is no small thing, as I have ten total pre-sets. One would think I’d have room to spare. After tuning in and hearing nothing but rap and r&b for three songs, I decided it was time to remove “Houston’s hottest local Top 40 station…” from my dial. (–FAIR Discussion, 99)

The first day I ever tuned in to 104.1 FM was the day Sam Malone and the Morning Show first aired. It was around 5:00am, and I had woken up before my alarm clock. I had a half hour before I had to be out of bed, but – amazingly – I couldn’t go back to sleep.

I reached above my head to my boombox, and flipped the switch to FM. I figured out, quickly, that I wasn’t in the mood for Country. I started scanning the dial northward, and happened upon a station playing some decent pop-rock. I listened through two songs, and suddenly I heard the DJs voice. Then a second DJ. Then a third. Sam Malone, Maria Todd, and Psycho Robbie were welcoming us to the morning show. (Actually, I can’t remember if Robbie was on then, or not.. but I think he was.)

I listened to their show as I was getting ready, that morning, and even grabbed my walkman to listen to on the bus to school. I was impressed, pleased, and even amazed at the fact that I found a morning show with taste, and an excellent mix of talk and music. Until that time, I had tried to be content with Stevens and Pruitt on 101.1, but the “who can fake the best orgasm” contest two weeks before had turned me off to the show.

For the next several years, I listened to Sam, Maria, Robbie, Michelle Fisher, Scott Sparks, etc.. etc.. as they burned up the airwaves with excellent music, and good comedy/talk. I quickly learned to love KRBE as it played a great mix of pop and rock from the late 80’s/early 90’s, to current day. I was very pleased. In fact, three years ago, I swore to a friend who was just moving into town that 104 was THE station, and that I would NEVER remove it from my dial.

So what happened? In late 2002/early 2003, some newer r&b songs started getting major airply on the station. “No big deal,” I thought, “they’re current, and they won’t overshadow the music that I really like. Besides, I can take some r&b, occasionally.”

Over the next couple of years, r&b, hip-hop, and rap started making more and more appearances on 104. Today, the station plays primarily rap, hip-hop, and r&b. Oh, certainly they still play a lot of rock, but during five seperate days of lengthy listening sessions (1.5 – 3 hours each), I heard primarily (non-gangsta/non-hardcore) rap, hip-hop, and r&b. By the end of the third day, I was forcing myself to continue listening. At the end of the fifth, I got so fed up that I wired my Nomad MP3 Jukebox up to the tape deck in my truck.

Don’t get me wrong… I like some rap – mostly old-skool – and on the rare occasion there’s a hip-hop or r&b song that turns my head; but on the whole, I can’t stand much of it. It was the taking over of 104 by these formats of music that led to my committing and act of aural treason against myself.

After removing 104, I realized I had a blank spot in the number one position of my presets. It was time to re-work everything. So, I sat down, listed my presets, decided which ones to keep, and re-programmed the radio. Curious about the line-up? Well, here it is. Station frequency, nickname, and (when I know them) call letters. Since Clear Channel is so prevelant in our city, I’ll be listing the Clear Channel stations with a (CC) designation. These are in the order they appear on my selectors.

1) 96.5 – MIX 96.5 – KHMX (CC): Hits of the late 80’s, 90’s, and early 00’s. On a rare occasion you might hear a Christina Aguilera-esque hip-hop song, but mostly you get alternative, pop-rock, and early modern rock.

2) 99.1 – SUNNY 99.1 – KODA (CC): Deemed Houston’s at-work station, a lot of businesses play Sunny on their overhead and hold music. The station plays an AC (Adult Contemporary) format, including softer rock, and pop-rock. You’ll virtually never hear a bleep or radio edit on this station.

3) 94.5 – The Buzz – KTBZ (CC): The Buzz is a Clear-Channel station through-and-through. Part of a nationwide grouping of “Buzz” stations by CC, 94.5 programs “Alternative” music, including rock, hard rock, and harder alternative music. While you won’t hear Judas Priest, Motley Crue, or Guns’n’Roses here, you’ll be able to find bands such as Slipknot, Staind, and many other current rock favorites.

4) 103.7 – Rock 103.7 – KIOL: Taking over where Rock 101 left off, KIOL is the continuance of 30 years of legendary Houston rock. In 2004, Clear Channel Radio – owner of 101 KLOL (Now MegaLATINO 101) – changed formats for Houston’s legendary rock station. When the station that had provided Houston with top-notch rock and metal for over 30 years changed formats to Latino, many of the DJs were either let go, or quit. Cumulus Media swooped in to pick up the slack. Starting with a low-power tower in LaPorte, on 97.5, KIOL quickly snapped up the DJs from the old 101 KLOL. Now broadcasting on 103.7, Houstons Rock is here to stay – hopefully giving us the best for another 30 years.

5) 90.1 – KFPT: One of only five Pacific Foundation stations in the country, Houston’s 90.1 KPFT is know to be one of Houston’s best kept radio secrets. Primarily liberal in its politics, and bringing shows such as The World Cafe, Democracy Now, and the BBC news, 90.1 KPFT is a great alternative to current commercial stations. At night, KPFT turns to completely local DJs, with volunteer DJs coming in for two, three, and four hour shows randing from Technology Bytes (a computer tech support call-in talk show) to Death Metal and underground rap/rock shows. KPFT is the ultimate in the Houston music experience.

6) 92.9 – The New 93Q – KKBQ: One of Houston’s newer country stations, 93Q has taken the ball dropped by KIKK’s format change, and run with it. Playing much fewer commercials than their competitors, and playing today’s hottest and best country, KKBQ is the KIKKer’s new hang-out.

7) 106.9 – The Point – KHPT: The best of the 80’s and beyond. The Point is the only non-oldies retro station in town. Playing music from the late 70’s through the (very) early 90’s, The Point is a retro music lovers dream.

8) 97.1 – Country Legends – KTHT: Cox Radio’s Country Legends station is the best place to go for country stars of the yesteryear. From the Grand Ol Opry’s hayday in the 1950’s and 60’s, to the 1980’s, Country Legends plays all the old hits.

9) 107.5 – Oldies 107.5 – KLDE: Another great Cox Radio station. Oldies 107.5 plays the best rock music from the 50’s and 60’s. From Motown to the Beatles.

10) 93.7 – The Arrow – KKRW (CC): The Arrow, another Clear Channel buy-out, plays classic rock, and ONLY classic rock. If you’re a fan of the classic rock years of the 1970’s, this is the station for you.

Okay, so by removing 104, I really didn’t lose all that much. To be honest, there’s a lot more radio out there waiting to be discovered. There’s at least three Latino stations, three Christian stations, a Public Broadcasting/classical station, a jazz station, and three rap/r&b/urban stations out there – THAT I KNOW OF… and those are just on the FM dial. It just saddens me that a once truly great radio station like 104 had to lose its appeal and bow down to the horrendous monster of hip-hop that is devouring our airwaves.

Just my opinion, folks. Get out there and explore the Houston dial. The next time you’re bored, start manually moving up the dial and give every station a couple of minutes listen. You’ll be surprised by what you find.

61 Comments so far

  1. shannon (unregistered) on October 27th, 2005 @ 1:26 pm

    guys please go here and sign the petition!!

  2. David Walls (unregistered) on October 27th, 2005 @ 1:36 pm


    If your a Roula, Ryan & Eric fan and disapprove of the way KHMX handled their show, go to this site:

    If we get enougth signatures who knows maybe someone will take notice. Lets bring back the best morning show team ever Roula,Ryan & Eric.

    David Walls

  3. DJ Rage (unregistered) on November 1st, 2005 @ 6:36 pm

    Just heard that Michelle Fisher will be joining Sam Malone mornings starting in February 2006.

  4. Fyre (unregistered) on November 1st, 2005 @ 7:52 pm

    DJ Rage, can you provide back-up for this, or is it just industry hearsay (not saying it’s not true.. I’m just wondering if it’s made it online, yet)?

  5. Doug (unregistered) on November 3rd, 2005 @ 1:33 pm

    Michelle Fisher is on XM Radio now. She hosts 20 on 20 in the afternoons.

  6. heidi (unregistered) on November 8th, 2005 @ 1:04 pm


  7. Cheri (unregistered) on November 10th, 2005 @ 8:28 am

    I was not Ryan’s biggest fan, but he was far more personality than Sam Malone. Sam is a horrible radio personality. One of the most annoying grating voices I have ever heard. His co-host is even worse. Whatever her name is needs to go back to doing the traffic report.

    I hope R&R stay in Houston, if not, I guess I’ll buy me one of them satelite radio thingies. I miss, Roula’s dad, Mr. Christy, HE BE THE MAN. :o)

  8. Nancy (unregistered) on November 27th, 2005 @ 3:09 am

    Okay….I just watn to know what happened to Psycho Robbie…????? Where did he go?

    Is it tru eabout Michelle Fisher?
    What sell outs?????????

    Well, I still enjoy listening to 104 KRBE….even if Sam Malone isn’t there….

  9. Joe (unregistered) on November 30th, 2005 @ 3:48 pm

    Dear Readers,

    With all due respect you’ve got to let the Roula & Ryan/Sam Malone thing go. Face the music, IT’S OVER! Radio is a business and Sam Malone like him or not is the bigger name in town. Those are the facts. And just because the Houston Chronicle votes R&R as “best morning show” or whatever, does not mean anything in the aspect of business. It’s just a readers pole. The Chronicle has it’s own niche audience just like all other media outlets/tv and radio stations including this very website. Not everyone in town reads the Chronicle by the way. Furthermore, calling and harrasing the program director, boycoting advertisers, signing petitions and all of that nonsense is a waste of your time, trust me. Did Clear Channel switch KLOL back to rock yet? No they have not after one year of playing latino music. Did 93Q go back to top 40 yet after switching to country in 1991, did KIKK go back to playing country yet? Again, no they have not. So stop holding your breath for these things to happen and move on. Radio is a business and it changes every day. Sometime changes are made that we do not agree with, but you have to accept it for what it is.

    To Clear just some of the air here: R&R will probably be heading over to 106.9 The Point come April of 2006. Michele Fisher did not get fired at KRBE, she left on her own accord. People get bored, and need new challenges in their careers so please have some class and stop labeling these people as sellouts. It’s just not fair. Personally I’ve met Sam Malone a few times in public and he was a nice guy believe it or not. He was friendly and allowed me to have my picture taken with him, and my girlfriend. It sounds like some people who have posted here are are just negative, jealous or spiteful. It’s the holidays. Let your hate go for two minutes and think about the things that are really important to you. Morning radio is not important at all in the grand scheme of life. Think about it!

  10. Eric (unregistered) on November 30th, 2005 @ 5:33 pm

    hear, here!

    I completely agree.

  11. Amanda (unregistered) on January 1st, 2006 @ 11:49 pm

    Personally, I think ALL Houston radio sucks and haven’t listened to it in ages.

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