The station claims it has expanded its playlist to over 1800 songs from the past 30 years. With the move to the crowdsourced music selection, the station will shift to a jockless presentation. Some of the staffers are being moved within the Cox Tampa cluster. Morning co-host Drew Garabo will expand his midday show on sister Hot Talk “102.5 The Bone” WHPT from two to three hours. Night host Geo will also move to 102.5 as he becomes Spice’s co-host in the evening slot.
The morning show posted a video to say farewell to their listeners and to explain the changes.
Listener Driven Radio, much like competitor Jelli, allows listeners to vote for what music to be played next via the station website or mobile app.
The Cox press release follows:
TAMPA – Jan. 18, 2013 – For the first time in radio history, a radio station is giving its listeners total control of the music. Beginning today at 5 p.m., Cox Media Group (CMG) Tampa’s radio station 97X (WSUN-FM 97.1) will give Tampa Bay listeners the musical reigns.
The station has a 12-year history of creating new and innovative ways for listeners to interact with alternative rock music. Now, armed with a refreshed brand identity, amped up social media plan and now listener driven music, 97X is committed more than ever to bring listeners a unique experience and changing the way consumers use radio.
“The way we communicate has been reinvented in front of our eyes with social media,” said Michael Sharkey, Program Director. “And today we are injecting that experience into radio and giving our radio station to the listeners.”
Listeners choose a song they want to hear from an expanded playlist of over 1,800 songs and vote on the 97X app or website. The new expanded playlist covers 30 years of rock music with deeper cuts from albums and artists not typically heard on the station before.
The station will also leverage social media with the new music voting feature to keep listeners connected to the station. The app has unique features such as Open Mic where listeners can record and upload a song introduction. The listener receives a text notification to let them know when their song introduction will air, which they can then share with their social networks.
“97X already has the most engaged and passionate music lovers in Tampa Bay,” said Keith Lawless, CMG Vice President & Market Manager. “The new 97X now allows them to control every song that plays on their favorite radio station. The complete control and mobile app features will give listeners in Tampa Bay a local radio experience like no other radio station in the world.”
The first song chosen by the listeners will be played at 5 p.m. today on 97X (97.1fm WSUN). Follow 97X on Facebook (facebook.com/97Xtampabay) and on Twitter @97Xonair. Search “97X” in the iTunes store and Android Marketplace for the free app download. www.97xonline.com