November 15, 2004
More mourning for KLOL

When was the last time a radio station format change generated this many articles in the newspaper?

Clear Channel Radio's format switch Friday at KLOL-FM (101.1) from rock 'n' roll to Spanish hip-hop and other pop styles aimed at a young Latino audience leaves Houston with just two rock stations, both also owned by Clear Channel.

KKRW at 93.7 FM, known as the Arrow, carries classic rock. KTBZ at 94.5 FM, the Buzz, plays moderate rock and bills itself as "Houston's new music alternative."

So what would you call the "oldies" on KLDE if not rock? And the recent broadening of the 80s at KHPT to include the Eagles and Steve Miller means we oughtn't overlook that station, either. My problem is not that there's a lack of rock music on Houston's airwaves. My problem is that there's a lack of non-rigidly formulaic rock. That was the role KLOL filled, and it's probably as much as anything why it was ultimately killed - radio's corporate masters do not want format overlap.

Longtime KLOL listener Steve Evans said he was online this weekend seeking the comfort of other classic rock fans when he learned of an Internet petition at, which implores Clear Channel to "Bring Back Houston's Rock 101."

"KLOL is a radio legend — this is crazy," he said of the new Spanish music format.

Fewer than 100 KLOL fans had signed the petition Sunday evening.

It's at 645 right now, and if they're getting Google hits like I've been, that number will grow pretty quickly. Not that it will mean a thing to Clear Channel, of course.

Former disc jockey Dayna Steele Justiz, who was on the air for about 13 years, beginning in the 1980s, said many former listeners had called her to find out what happened.

"The station has incredible loyalty," she said. "I haven't been on the air in 8 1/2 years, yet my phone's been ringing for 24 hours."

Although Justiz said she didn't know exactly why the change occurred, she noted that change is common in the radio business.

"There are not many stations anywhere that can say they were the same format for 34 years," she said. "Radio years are similar to dog years, but even shorter."

Unlike with many stations, Justiz said, KLOL personalities were well-known around town and stayed a long time. Among them were the morning duo Stevens and Pruett (Mark Stevens and Jim Pruett, 1991-2000) and "Outlaw" Dave Andrews, from 1993 to the close.

"With radio today, you can pick up any station and plop it down in any city and no one would notice," said Justiz, a 45-year-old mother of three and president of an online business she started. "They're all playing the same thing, giving away the same thing."

You know, I never knew Outlaw Dave's last name. Hell, I never knew he had a last name.

Dayna's right about the personalities on KLOL. There were good people on the air there, and that's why we remember them. Of course, even in the pre-CC days, there were upheavals and sudden changes, like when one-time drive time DJ Donna McKenzie got unceremoniously dumped. The breakup of Stevens and Pruett was the beginning of the end, as far as I'm concerned (Rich Connelly be damned).

What happened at KLOL was probably an inevitable result of music trends, said Joseph A. Kotarba, professor of sociology at the University of Houston.

Kotarba, who has taught about rock music for 20 years, said the traditional audience for hard rock and heavy metal has decreased since the 1980s. That audience is not as lucrative for radio stations and their advertisers as the quickly growing, young Latino audience, he said.

"Traditional hard rock is falling into the category of oldies," he said.

That means the music will be heard from time to time but with less and less talk about who the performer is, where the band is touring and so forth, Kotarba said.

"Hip-hop dance music, techno and various other styles of pop music are taking over in popularity," he said. "So that is what radio stations like the ones owned by Clear Channel go for. Everyone wants a more lucrative segment of the population."

Being part of the change can be painful, Kotarba said.

"There's a real sadness when one sees the style of music one grew up with fall into that neverland of the oldies bin," he said. "It's no longer fashionable. That hurts and contributes to a sense of aging."

Boy, there's a harsh dose of reality for you. Couldn't they at least have waited until I turned 40 before laying this on me? Sheesh.

I was listening to Dean and Rog on KKRW this morning as they talked about KLOL's demise and took some calls from people who wanted to vent about it. (Since KKRW is also a Clear Channel station, they had to tread a bit lightly.) They suggested that the playlists at both KKRW and KTBZ will expand to appeal to former KLOL listeners. If that happens, I'd count it as a good thing. I still don't understand why there aren't more stations like 100.3 The Q in Vancouver, which plays a real variety of music, though.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on November 15, 2004 to Music | TrackBack

Satellite radio is your answer, Charles. I signed up to Sirius about 3 months ago and am very happy. Sirius or XM (Sirius has a better talk/news selection and XM has deeper music playlists). Check it out.

Posted by: Blake on November 15, 2004 8:37 AM

Yeah, I know. It'll be a component of my next car, believe me.

Posted by: Charles Kuffner on November 15, 2004 8:58 AM

It was all downhill after Z107 (the classic rock station that would actually play a variety of songs, rather than the same two by a particular band) went under.

Stevens and Pruitt Rule! Stevens and Pruitt Rule! Stevens and Pruitt Rule! Stevens and Pruitt Rule!

Posted by: norbizness on November 15, 2004 9:11 AM

When you're young and angry, you listen to heavy metal. When your forty and angry, you listen to Matthews, Limbaugh and Hannity.

Posted by: Chris on November 15, 2004 9:40 AM

"...leaves Houston with just two rock stations, both also owned by Clear Channel."

Why does the phrase "All your base belong to us" keep running through my head?

I'm not much of a radio music person usually, but yesterday my wife and I were out in San Francisco and ran across a station that played a set that had a live Shawn Colvin cut, the Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, The Church, The Neville Brothers, The Finn Brothers, The Who, just song after song that kept me turning the radio up. If I had something like that in town, I'd switch off my CDs or sports talk radio which BTW has grown very lame without Charlie Pallilo.

Posted by: Patrick on November 15, 2004 9:56 AM

Patrick, I'll be that was KFOG you were listening to. It's a fabulous station. IIRC, they have a webcast.

When we're not going far, Tim and I will usually listen to whatever the 80s station is, sometimes the oldies station, sometimes the classic rock station. But I get tired of hearing the same songs over and over. San Jose had an 80s station for a while and it seemed to play nothing but U2. The one here seems to have a "We guarantee one Duran Duran song an hour" rule.

Longer road trips, I take my iPod, otherwise, we'd be talking about one of the satellite radio deals.

Posted by: Sue on November 15, 2004 10:26 AM

Sue, Yep, now that you mention it, I think it was KFOG. Really nice mix from the 1960's onward and not afraid to stray off the beaten path.

Posted by: Patrick on November 15, 2004 10:56 AM

I contacted the office of cc today @ 2 different #'s & left complaints. I am posting these #'s so that hopefully there are more people out there, that will call & complain, come on houston lets get our station back! omar v thompson :210-822-2828, 212-986-6667. lets work together & JUST maybe they will give us back our radio station, if we FLOOD their phones w/ calls of complaints, & their emails! ROCK 101 KLOL ROCKS LIKE NO OTHER! NOW PLEASE LETS WOKK TOGETHER & FIGHT to get our station back!

Posted by: nae on November 15, 2004 2:27 PM

**"...leaves Houston with just two rock stations,
**both also owned by Clear Channel."

**Why does the phrase "All your base belong
**to us" keep running through my head?

That's hysterical. I am not sure what I think about this whole format change. I think it's even funnier 'CC does not want format overlap' another Tejano station will give a 'tejano variety'? HAHAHAHA. WTF are these guys thinking? CC is evil.

Posted by: Erica on November 15, 2004 5:23 PM

I think everyone who loved KLOL and their staff should send a complaint to Clear Channel as well as sign the petition that was posted here ( Here's what I posted to Clear Channel thru their website ( ..."It's a shame that the listeners in Houston weren't afforded an opportunity to express their opinions on what they wanted or desired in their radio experience. Is greed and money the only thing that matter any more?? Never mind the loyal listeners of KLOL for the past 34 years, you just come in, buy up all the stations, water them down, then pull the plug in order to satisfy your thirst for the almighty dollar! What a shame that the people that truly drive the market are no longer considered in this glutenous quest that corporations seem to have to fatten the bottom line. I for one will boycott any and all products associated with your company from now on...even if it means no longer supporting The Buzz 94.5 and Talk Radio 950amKPRC and News Radio 740am. I suppose I'll be forced to install a cd player in my car now in order to fill the gaping chasm that you have created in the only listening pleasure that me and people like me get while driving around Houston. What a shame and might I add, shame on you for reinforcing the perception of the Evil Corporations that are ruining this great country by worshing a false! When it's the working people like me and others that are the true life blood of America. You should really learn to think outside of your narrow profit-driven boxes and appreciate what you could easily reap the benefits of and that is the loyal hard-working listeners of what was the Best & Greatest Rock station in Texas. Long Live KLOL and shame on CCC!!!"

Posted by: Texas Princess on November 16, 2004 8:27 AM

To quote an SNL legend: Never Mind.

Now I get why you were looking for KLOL stuff...

Posted by: Ellen on November 16, 2004 9:47 AM

Here's cut and paste of my request to Clear Channel for some kind of status on Walton & Johnson:

Dear Sirs:

The recent format change of KLOL and resulting removal of the Walton and Johnson show is a detriment to the entire gulf south. Since we the public do not directly pay to hear your programming, you truly owe us nothing. However, posting a press release on your Clear Channel site would be the professional thing to do in this situation, considering that your move not only affected Houston and its metro area, but more than a million listeners from College Station to Pensacola, FL.

I believe the gravity of this change warrants an official statement as to the status and future of the Walton & Johnson show. The listening public, CCC affiliates and most importantly the show's sponsors deserve something more than your silence.


If you'd like to contact Clear Channel with your own comments, here is their Contact Page link:

Posted by: Ewilson on November 16, 2004 10:37 AM

This reminds me of my college years, when I took a lot of hard science and math course. The people who were too stupid to pass these courses would invariably switch their majors from engineering or pre-med to something at the School of Business. Those are the people doing market research.

I lived in Kansas City before Houston and at one time there was only one Buzz style modern-rock station. They paid some market researchers $40K to tell them to switch their format to top 40 pop, a format which already had about 3 stations. They lost 2/3rds of their audience, and in the end one of the pre-existing top 40 stations switched their format to "modern rock" (it's also called "The Buzz"). The only justification for this is that either the market researchers are idiots, or they cynically bullshitted the management of the radio station (who would not want to pay $40K to hear "same old, same old"), which would make them idiots.

I would expect something similar to happen in Houston, for similar reasons, since there were already 354239 Latin stations and there are now 0 rock stations. Surely there are enough guys with mullets in Houston to support one rock radio station.

Posted by: rps on November 16, 2004 11:27 AM

I can't say that I really did more than have 101 on my car presets on the off chance they were playing something I liked.

I don't see Houston radio getting any better. 94.5 and 101 put KKZR out of business by playing their music because it was great music. After KKZR died (for the second time), they slowly migrated their own way. 94.5 to the mostly-stale "new music alternative" that they have now and 101 more towards classic rock and away from anything that might be construed as "alternative." The problem is, that if another KKZR showed up, I feel confident that CC would adapt 94.5 to it long enough to put it out of business...then return to business as usual.

As to Joseph Kotarba above...I believe he is 100% incorrect. There is PLENTY of good progressive hard rock being made out there: Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie, Static-X, Godhead...that you absolutely do NOT hear in Houston anymore. It's a disgrace really.

Posted by: Ishi Carter on November 17, 2004 5:43 PM

From now on it's 90.1 for me and 91.7. I refuse to listen to any Clear Chanel stantions as long as they have no respect for their listeners. They are a huge corporate monster. We are a big enough city we deserve some quality stations. Although I disagreed with much of what Walton and Johnson said, they were articulate and entertaining. I will miss them.

Posted by: Molly Law on November 18, 2004 9:40 PM

Well, The Buzz changed formats. They are now Houston's New Rock, KLOL's former nickname, and they play Metallica!

Posted by: RJ Munthe on November 20, 2004 9:53 PM

I grew up on 101 KLOL, this change is almost criminal. I think there are 16 taco, enchilada, bean stations in the Houston area and 2 rock stations. Whats up with that?

Posted by: Sarge on November 23, 2004 6:25 PM

Dear Clear Channel:

Thanks for giving me the very last bit of motivation to get Sirius about music and give up on Corporately-Controlled™ Crap Radio. As a member of the so-called "money demographic", I gleefully plunked down the $12.95/month for a year's subscription to un-filtered, un-interrupted, un-adulterated music, from all ends of the spectrum.

I think I experienced a bit of engorgement the moment I deleted all Clear Channel stations from my FM presets. I'm sure your advertisers will likely benefit more from reaching those big-spending hip hop fans, right? Nice going, Einsteins.

Good luck with your silly little Spanglish Hip Hop exercise in futility. Rot in your own stench.

Best regards,

Rick in H-town

Posted by: Craven Morehead on November 26, 2004 10:00 PM

now that the dust has settled, to heck with those carpet baggers over at clear channel. i'll bet that where there heads are at don't smell to good.

Posted by: mike on April 14, 2005 3:10 PM