Classic hip-hop

I got a good chuckle out of this.

News 92 FM, which until last week was the home of veteran newscasters J.P. Pritchard and Lana Hughes, is now Boom 92.1 FM, home of Geto Boys, Beastie Boys, Snoop Dogg and Run-D.M.C.

Radio One, which owns three FM stations in Houston, at 5 p.m. Monday launched what it describes as the nation’s first major-market classic hip hop station on KROI (92.1 FM), which last Wednesday dropped its all-news format and filled out the week playing Beyonce songs.

It’s the newest entry in what remains a competitive but fragmented Houston radio marketplace in terms of dominant formats, and the second urban entry to debut this year, joining IHeartMedia’s KQBT (93.7 FM), which replaced classic rocker KKRW in January.


“We went from one Houston legend to another Houston legend,” said Doug Abernethy, Radio One’s Houston general manager.

Radio One also operates urban formats at KMJQ (102.1 FM) and KBXX (97.9 FM), which ranked No. 2 and No. 4, respectively, among all Houston stations among listeners 12-plus in the most recent Nielsen Audio ratings, so the addition of a third urban format was not a surprise.

“It solidifies our commitment to urban radio,” Abernethy said. “Hip hop really started in the late 1970s, and we now have better than two decades of music to play.

“If you put it in general terms, you have rock and classic rock stations, country stations and classic country, and the hip hop format has now generated enough history to produce a classic hip hop station.”

Featured artists and songs on Boom 92.1 FM, whose website is, also will include Salt-N-Pepa (“Push It”), The Notorious B.I.G. (“Hypnotize”), and Queen Latifah (“U.N.I.T.Y.”)

Abernethy expects Boom 92.1 FM to be strongest among listeners ages 25-44, at the younger end of the adults 25-54 demographic that is one of the key buying markets.

Judging by my Facebook feed, I’d say they have a decent start on the 35-44 demographic. Nothing says “impending middle age” like having the music of your youth turned into a “classic” radio format, am I right? I’ve never been a hip-hop fan, but then I was never much of a fan of 80s pop music back in the day, and now my favorite satellite radio station is Sirius First Wave – classic alternative, yo. So who knows, maybe I’ll like hip-hop more now that it’s achieved elder status. Stranger things have happened; I’ll have to give it a listen at some point and see.

So good luck to Boom 92, and for those of you that enjoy this sort of thing, I hope it’s something you’ll like. My one word of caution would be that in my experience, all terrestrial limited-format radio stations eventually begin to suck, for the simple reason that they overdo it. What I mean by this is that over time they all seem to pare down their playlists to the point where any regular listener would be likely to get sick of the same old songs over and over again. It was the case with classic rock, it was the case with “classic 80s” stations like The Point, and it was the case with “like an iPod on shuffle” station Jack FM, which basically boiled down to a combination of the other two. What I said before about “classic rock” stations will, I suspect, hold true for “classic hip-hop”, sooner or later. Maybe I just don’t have any faith in corporate radio to deliver anything remotely fresh or original. Maybe I’m just too far outside the mainstream on this. Whatever the case, I’m becoming convinced that any terrestrial station that doesn’t mix in at least some new music is doomed to eventual mediocrity. Sirius, to its credit, at least has a playlist big enough to keep me from getting bored with First Wave so far, but I’ve only been listening for a few months. Ask me again in a year and I’ll let you know if it still holds true. I wish you Boom 92 listeners a good experience, but I’d advise you to prepare for disappointment down the line. Gray Matters has more.

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One Response to Classic hip-hop

  1. Joel says:

    the narrowing will probably happen even faster here, since the number of “classic rap” artists is pretty small to begin with.

    and what of the fate of the “news” format? is it back to AM for old white men?

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