First Listen: Hot 104.5 San Antonio

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Hot 104.5 KZEP San Antonio Rhythm ThrowbacksAnybody who has launched a new radio station in the last few years will tell you that it’s harder to get the market’s attention. The marketing money that used to guarantee sampling isn’t there for most operators. In Urban and Rhythmic Top 40, where word of a new station used to travel quickly, listening is diminished. And the sure-fire tactic of showing up with a handful of gold titles that people haven’t heard in a while is less potent in a world where any song is readily available.

So the initial success of the recent slew of gold-based rhythmic top 40 stations has been encouraging. Entercom’s KHTP (Hot 103.7) Seattle eventually tapered off, but not before an initial few months of the sort rarely seen these days. Since then, there’s been an attention getting relaunch for iHeart Media’s KXJM (Jam’n 107.5) Portland, Ore., which reimaged from a straight-ahead rhythmic and cut off the franchise for anybody else. Now there’s iHeart’s Hot 104.5 San Antonio. Hot 104.5 (which still has the call letters of Classic Rock KZEP, now found on a FM translator), launched barely two months ago. In the September PPM, it posted the sort of month that restores your faith in radio’s ability to get attention, soaring 3.1 – 6.9 6-plus. Rival KBBT (the Beat), a station that was by no means broken, was off 6.8 – 4.8.

As was usually the case with this sort of big launch, the effect on the market went beyond the direct format competitor. Mainstream top 40 sister KXXM (Mix 96) held at a 4.3, but Hot AC KSMG was off 4.9-4.0. Active rock KISS was down 3.9-3.1; (it also had a new Classic Rock sister launch to take advantage of KZEP’s move). And if you needed the link between ‘90s hip-hop and today’s country confirmed, both country stations (including iHeart’s KAJA) were off as well.

The initial gold-based Rhythmic Top 40 stations in Boston and Seattle were built more off a Mainstream AC or Hot AC template, playing only a handful of currents. Portland had the ability to lock up both the current and gold-based franchises with more of a 50/50 mix. San Antonio is somewhere in the middle, billing itself as “Today’s Rhythm and All The Best Throwbacks.”

Here’s an hour of Hot 104.5 on Monday, Oct. 6 at 5:45 a.m.:

Cassie, “Me And U”
Jason Derulo, “Talk Dirty”
Shaggy, “It Wasn’t Me”
Taio Cruz, “Dynamite”
Outkast, “Ms. Jackson”
Jeremih, “Don’t Tell ‘Em”
Ne-Yo, “Closer”
Chris Brown, “Loyal”
Mariah Carey, “Fantasy”
Usher & Nicki Minaj, “She Came To Give It To You”
Notorious B.I.G., “Mo Money Mo Problems”
Tech N9ne, “Fragile”
Montell Jordan, “This Is How We Do It”

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Sean Ross is author of the Ross on Radio newsletter and VP of music and programming of Edison Research.

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