iHeartMedia Launches 96.7 Pride Radio Minneapolis

96.7 Pride Radio W244BY Minneapolis iHeartMedia iHeartRadio #ComingOutFridayAs the current stunting has shifted to all-Madonna, iHeartMedia has officially announced the launch of “96.7 Pride Radio” on W244CS/107.9 KQQL-HD3 today at 5:00pm.

The Twin Cities iteration of Pride Radio will launch with two weeks of commercial-free music consisting of pop and dance hits from artists including Sam Smith, Katy Perry, Zedd, Nick Jonas and Rihanna. The station will feature the national PrideRadio hosts including Ricky in mornings, Delana from 10am to 2pm, Houston from 2-6pm, Pacey from 6-10pm, and Christie 10pm to 2am. The station will also include Twin Cities oriented content.

[alert-note]Listen To The Launch of 96.7 Pride Radio at FormatChange.com[/alert-note]

iHeartMedia Minneapolis-St. Paul today announced 96.7 Pride Radio, the pulse of LGBT Twin Cities. The new 96.7 Pride Radio, the only FM radio station in the country with programming devoted to local Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) listeners and allies, will kick off with 24 hours of Madonna’s hits on June 11 at 5 p.m. CT, followed by two weeks of non-stop commercial-free music beginning June 12 at 5 p.m. CT.

96.7 Pride Radio, a broadcast extension of the popular digital station Pride Radio on iHeartRadio, iHeartMedia’s all-in-one streaming music and digital radio service, will play the hottest dance remixes and pop hits from artists such as Sam Smith, Katy Perry, Zedd, Nick Jonas, Rihanna and others. The station’s on-air programming will include an emphasis on local community news, plus several music and entertainment shows throughout the day with popular on-air personalities: Ricky, from 6 – 10 a.m.; Delana, from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.; Houston, from 2 – 6 p.m.; Pacey, from 6 – 10 p.m.; and Christie, from 10 p.m. – 2 a.m. 96.7 Pride Radio will also feature special mixes, exclusive on-air interviews and localized online content.

“June is Pride Month, and I can imagine no better time to launch a station this important to the Twin Cities community,” said Hartley Adkins, Executive Vice President of Operations for iHeartMedia. “This groundbreaking station represents a place for amazing music and entertainment, but also a platform for the LGBT community. 96.7 Pride Radio is a destination to express opinions, be heard and connect.”

The launch of 96.7 Pride Radio follows the success of Pride Radio, iHeartRadio’s digital entertainment destination for the LGBT community, which is consistently one of iHeartRadio’s most listened-to dance hit and remix stations.

“We’re thrilled to bring 96.7 Pride Radio to the Twin Cities LGBT community,” said Don Parker, Pride Radio Brand Manager and Senior Vice President of Programming for iHeartMedia. “Our Pride Radio programming and content has proven to develop a strong connection with the community on a national level through our iHeartRadio digital platform. With Minneapolis-St. Paul having one of the most active LGBT communities in the nation, we look forward to an even greater bond with local listeners, who will now have a customized version of Pride Radio available on FM in the Twin Cities!

Original Report 6/10: iHeartMedia is preparing to launch another station via translator in the Twin Cites on Friday, June 12.

96.7 W244CS Hudson, WI has completed its move to the IDS Center in downtown Minneapolis and city-of-license change to Calhoun Beach, MN operating with 170 watts vertical at 236 meters (Coverage Map) rebroadcasting 107.9 KQQL-HD3. The translator is currently airing a broad mix of music with many of the cluster’s stations getting in on the promotion for the new signal.

When the new format officially launches all signs point to it becoming the first local version of iHeart’s LGBT oriented “Pride Radio“. 967PrideRadio.com was registered by iHeart last week and is currently redirecting to the national site. The #ComingOutFriday hashtag utilized on Twitter also ties into the Pride Radio theme. W244BY was previously running the national version of the network before it upgraded its signal.

While it would be the first LGBT oriented analog radio station in the United States, W244BY would join Evanov’s “103.9 Proud-FM” CIRR-FM Toronto in programming to the LGBT community.

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  1. Fightingirish says

    Well, there was the old KNGY in the San Francisco Bay Area, which aimed pretty directly toward the LGBT population before going straight CHR. And the Pride stream has aired on HD Radio subchannels (WXXM in Madison comes to mind).

    As for the Twin Cities, I recall hearing about at least one commercial station (1470 AM) running an LGBT-oriented show back in the 80s.

    Translator frequencies in larger markets are proprobably best served aiming toward niche markets. These signals will never compete with all those 100,000 watt stations in Shoreview, nor does anyone expect them to. And the LGBT market is ridiculously lucrative and very loyal. I’ve never listened to Pride Radio, but I am intrigued to see what IHeart is going to do here. So far, looks like Hot 102.5 is getting good buzz, though Alt 93.3 is overwhelmed by stiff competition.

  2. Autodyne says

    I was going to say, another station stalking a niche 4% of the population, but apparently Minneapolis might be one of the better markets to target in this fashion.


  3. saladressing says

    It makes all the sense in the world to target these peashooting translators at niche markets. In a market like Minneapolis that has had so few choices on commercial FM over the years, these recent moves are a breath of fresh air.

    Hopefully someone will return the Rhythmic CHR format to the market at some point as it’s the sole major market without the format.

    1. airplane777 says

      Wasn’t the LPFM service supposed to target niche markets?

      1. Bongwater says

        They are. But those dang translators for corporate HD channels keep popping up everywhere and the LPFM application process is a minefield. It’s kinda discouraging…

  4. JeremyAndrews says

    Well, they did “Evolution” to promote the iHeartradio stream on a number of stations the past couple of years. Boston was the most notable. Miami was the other. These days, Evolution an HD-2/Online format.

    Pride Radio was one of the first “Format Lab” formats Clear Channel had when HD Radio became to take shape. At first, it was stereotypical music for the most part, later on it evolved to the dance-based format it is today. It has a full tracked airstaff. It’s on a number of HD-2 channels, closest to Minneapolis being WXXM HD-2 in Madison, WI. The raw internet stream simulcast (They all have one) is on KPLV HD-2 in Las Vegas.

    This may be short term for Pride Month to promote the stream itself. Or it might be long term to see how it goes. I know Minneapolis had a Pirate dance station that was quite popular in the 90s (Beat Radio 97.7) which eventually went to the former Radio Aahs AM network for a short time.

  5. raydiodude933 says

    Not to be a Debby Downer but the reality of this launch is that it has already failed, it will continue to fail until they quickly flip to another format, resulting in the PRIDE format looking bad & not likely attempted in other markets WHERE IT SHOULD BE! First, why not launch PRIDE in Miami on one of iShart’s translators there, why not in Key West where i believe iHeart owns multiple stations, why not San Fran, etc. Minneapolis is a poor test market choice. Next, any radio station targeting the LGBTQ COMMUNITY needs to programmed for that COMMUNITY by a staff (even if it’s a small staff) in that COMMUNITY. Each city has very specific needs in and around it’s LGBTQ people that need localized attention. But once again CleariHeartChannel thinks that a NATIONALLY programmed Pride format with personalities from elsewhere in the U.S. and not Minneapolis will work just fine. They didnt break any ground launching this PRIDE formatted station, they simply flipped a switch to start simulcasting the already existing national iHeartRadio PRIDE Channel thats existed for years now. This isn’t NEW, it isnt GROUNDBREAKING, it is set up to fail on an FM translator with generic, stereotype gay music & programming that certainly doesnt represent all, and probably not even half, of the GLBTQ communitites ACTUAL musical tastes. I am gay and the PRIDE format doesnt come close to representing me or any aspect of my life. (Not all gay men LOVE Lady Gaga for example, just like not all black people like hip hop music, not all farmers/small city folk love country, etc). The Gay Community in Minneapolis should be offended by this fake attempt to serve their needs… and hould be even more offended and insulted when the iHeart sales slaves start asking the gay businesses for their money to advertise on this station. I can already hear the sales spin now to potential clients “this is YOUR station, and advertising shows that you SUPPORT the gay community and that your proud to be on the “first gay station” launched blah blah blah bullsh**. Clear Channel/IHeart didnt spend ONE PENNY launching this station or format, they wont invest ONE PENNY into the Minneapolis gay community but they’ll be HAPPY to collect as many “gay dollars” as they can for themselves. Sorry for the rant… this just pisses me off.

    1. Eric Jon Magnuson says

      The City Pages has a critique that’s more subdued, but still along a lot of the same lines…


  6. kevtronics says

    I believe in the Seattle area there were several graveyard channel AM stations which formed an LGBT-oriented network In the late ’90s. That venture didn’t last long and the stations ended up playing automated music with only the hourly ID for a while until they were sold.

  7. kevtronics says

    I found it! From the November 14, 1999 NERW: “gay talk radio (really!) on KNTB (1480 Lakewood) and KARO (1490 Bremerton)”
    So, W244BY is definitely not “the first LGBT oriented analog radio station in the United States”.

    1. Eric Jon Magnuson says

      I actually forgot about the “Triangle Radio Network” myself; see http://historysdumpster.blogspot.com/2014/06/lgbt-radio-stations.html for more. (The call letters for the station at 1490 are actually KBRO.)

      I also forgot about Montreal’s French-language “Radio Fierté” (CHRF), which is co-owned with CIRR.

      1. Eric Jon Magnuson says

        That article also reminded me about Portland’s “Wild Planet Radio”, which was supposed to be part of a shared-time LPFM (along with the “Portland Radio Project”). Does anyone know if it’s truly on the air (instead of just streaming or testing)?

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