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iHeart Shuffles Four Seattle/Tacoma Stations

Power 93.3 KUBE 104.9 The Brew KKBW Alt 102.9 Now KYNW 106.1 Kiss-FM iHeartMedia Seattle

The flip of 102.9 KYNW Centralia was not the only move iHeartMedia has made to its Seattle cluster as the company makes changes to four of its Seattle/Tacoma area stations.

The moves start as Rhythmic CHR 93.3 KUBE is downgraded to the 104.9 signal that was home to Rock “104.9 The Brew” KKBW Eatonville. With the move the format will be focused on the Tacoma area as “Tacoma’s Hits & Hip-Hop”. SupaSam remains in mornings on KUBE, while Tiffany Warner moves from middays to afternoons.

That will clear 93.3 to become CHR “Power 93.3“. Positioned as “Seattle’s New Hit Music”, the new station will take direct aim at Hubbard’s market leading “Movin 92.5” KQMV. Carla Marie and Anthony, most recently of the syndicated Elvis Duran Show will go across the country to take mornings at Power 93.3 as it launches with 10,000 songs in a row. Kat Fisher, who had been part of the Bender & Molly morning show on KBKS will host middays at Power. New KPWK call letters have been applied for the station.

With 93.3 going CHR, the cluster’s existing Mainstream CHR “106.1 Kiss-FM” KBKS Tacoma has shifted to Hot AC. Bender and Molly remain in mornings as the station takes on a new “More Music, More Variety” positioning.

And 102.9 KYNW Centralia will become Alternative “Alt 102.9” giving Entercom’s “107.7 The End” KNDD a direct format competitor in the market. Andy Harms, who hosts afternoons at “Alt 98.7” KYSR Los Angeles and previously worked at KNDD will take on afternoon duties at KYNW as well.

Among the staffers exiting with the changes are KUBE PD/afternoon host Eric Powers, KUBE APD/MD and KBKS middayer Karen Wild and KBKS MD/Afternoon host Eric Tyler.

iHeartMedia Seattle announced today that it has realigned several of its stations’ programming to provide an enriched listening experience for the Seattle audience, attracting new listeners, while also retaining each station’s core listener base. Effective immediately:

  • KBKS 106.1 CHR will become a HOT AC station with the new slogan “More Music, More Variety.” The highly rated hugely popular morning show with Bender and Molly will continue to broadcast weekday mornings.
  • KUBE 93.3 FM (Rhythmic/CHR) will evolve into CHR station – POWER 93.3 FM “Seattle’s New Hit Music,” and will kick off playing 10,000 songs commercial free. Anchoring POWER’s new talent line up will be Carla Marie & Anthony, recognized from the Elvis Duran Show, with a fresh new morning show.
  • The popular brand KUBE will find a new frequency home on 104.9 FM and become dedicated to Rhythmic programming as “Tacoma’s New Home for Hits & Hip Hop.” KUBE 104.9 FM will also continue to feature Supa Sam on weekday mornings and Tiffany in afternoon drive.
  • Last week prior to today’s announcement, KYNW’s HOT AC listeners were transitioned to KBKS and it will become ALT 102.9 FM, “Seattle/Tacoma’s Rock Alternative,” playing Alternative Rock music programming. The ALT station will also welcome back popular Seattle on air personality Harms during the afternoon drive.
  • iHeartMedia has massive consumer reach and influence across multiple platforms and delivers more live programming than any other media company. These new programming shifts will help iHeartMedia Seattle better serve its listeners and advertisers by aligning its programming and complementing the significant growth enjoyed by KJR-950 AM and 95.7/The JET in 2015.

    “We have identified a clear path forward that retains these stations’ core listeners, while also attracting new ones. These programming changes will build on the strengths of each brand and what differentiates them from one another,” said Kent Haehl, Market President, iHeartMedia Seattle. “These changes aren’t traditional format changes; this is a pivot strategy to enable these brands to resonate quickly with both listeners and advertisers.”

    “This is a revolution for the Seattle market, and the success we’ve had with listeners to The Jet (KJR-FM) validates our strategy,” said Andrew Jeffries, EVPP of the West Division, iHeartMedia.”Realigning our programming content, and boasting an influx of great talent under the leadership of radio veteran Rich Davis, we are bringing a fresh new approach to Seattle listening that will drive results.”

    “It’s no secret that Seattle is a competitive market and these changes align our brands in a way that capitalizes on each stations strengths and gives us the best opportunity to win while providing a fresh new experience for our audience, “said Rich Davis, Senior Vice President of Programming, iHeartMedia Seattle. “Our talent, including new Power 93.3 morning team Carla Marie and Anthony ,Alt. 102.9’s Harms, along with 106.1’s Bender and Molly and KUBE 104.9’s DJ Supa Sam make this lineup not just a big win for our stations, but for our listeners in Seattle too.”

    Original Report 1/15: iHeartMedia is making some changes to its Seattle/Tacoma area stations.

    Hot AC “102.9 Now” KYNW Centralia/Tacoma will debut a new format on Tuesday, January 19 at 12:00pm. Hosts from sister CHR “106.1 Kiss-FM” KBKS-FM Tacoma/Seattle are featured on sweepers announcing the upcoming format change and directing listeners to their station.

    KYNW launched in June 2013 replacing a simulcast of Sports 950 KJR Seattle. In the December 2015 Nielsen Audio PPM ratings, KYNW registered a 1.0 share of the Seattle market, which is not bad considering it does not put a serviceable over half of the market including the city of Seattle. iHeart must be looking at removing 102.9’s format to prop-up KBKS’ 3.0 share.

    Also at KBKS, morning co-host Kat Fisher announced this morning she is leaving the station for a promotion within the company. Bender Cunningham and Molly Mesnick remain in place on the morning show.

    We hear from our sources that the company may not be finished with the moves in the Seattle market either. Will struggling Rhythmic CHR 93.3 KUBE be next to see some changes?

    Profile photo of Lance Venta
    Lance Venta is the Owner and Publisher of RadioInsight.com and a consultant for RadioBB Networks specializing in integration of radio and the internet. Lance has two decades of experience tracking the audio industry and its use of digital platforms.

    12 Comments

    1. Profile photo of ksradiogeek


      102.9 will probably go back to Country. That format works well with that signal.

      As for KUBE, I don’t expect much change there. I can’t see an outright flip, as that brand has 35 year heritage in the market. If anything, I could see some slight tweaking musically, and that would be it.

    2. Profile photo of TimmyWA


      So, how this is worded makes it sound like Hot AC might move to 106.1, leaving KUBE as their only CHR.. Perhaps they’ll (KUBE) adjust to more of a mainstream CHR, from Rhythmic? Country might work well, but as a 3rd station, AND being a rimshot… Hard to know. They might go Alternative or something to go up against The End… Who knows… That market is hard to decipher.

      • Profile photo of elcartero


        Alternative when iHeart has Active Rock “The Brew” in Tacoma? That I doubt.

        • Profile photo of stelly


          Alternative and Active Rock are two very different formats these days. Compare Radio 104.5 in Philadelphia (basically iHeart’s template for their alternative stations) and 104.9 the Brew and you won’t hear much in common between the two.

      • Profile photo of Eric Jon Magnuson


        If the station pretty much continues to focus on the South Sound (e.g., Tacoma and Olympia), some form of Country likely would the best option. And, of course, it’d be easy enough to use Bobby Bones for mornings.

        Most other music formats, though, would present the same issue that iHeart is apparently facing right now: inadvertently competing with the company’s core-metro stations. And, without good coverage of the immediate Seattle area, a niche format wouldn’t work.

        If not a return to Country, though, perhaps a return to simulcasting KJR(AM) would work.

      • Profile photo of ksradiogeek


        Noooooo…KBKS is doing fine as a Top 40. Granted, its behind Movin, but in terms of cume, Kiss and Movin are neck & neck. With Click around, I doubt Seattle will get a 3rd alternative. If anything, KUBE may go slightly more Urban.

    3. Profile photo of JeremyAndrews


      They’ll probably just flip it country and be done with it.

      Either that or give Funky Monkey er The Brew a little better signal (102.9) but I doubt it.

    4. Profile photo of maytableinc


      And somehow, iHeartMedia expects their listeners to just know which station they should flip to, without giving much information, both on air and on their Facebook pages. Because a listener of KUBE93.3 will know automatically that they’ll need to tune to 104.9 to continue to enjoy their station.

      And iHeartMedia is wondering why their stations have mediocre performance in the Seattle market.

      • Profile photo of maytableinc


        Additionally, the alternative station on 102.9 seems to be focused on a lot of older “gold” alternative tracks, from the 80’s to 2000’s. Haven’t heard any current or recurrent alternative tracks yet. Maybe to appeal to the popular Grunge era that started in the Puget Sound area? Wonder if this permanent for the station or just a transient thing.

    5. Profile photo of TimmyWA


      Nailed it.. ahhaha!

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