Interesting question at radiodiscussions.com:
Now that KILT has turned into “The Bull” and only plays newly released country music, with apparently no golds or classics anymore, what could this mean for 97.1?
(For those of you who don’t remember, or aren’t from Houston or deep east Texas/ Southeast Texas, 97.1 KTHT is better known as Country Legends 97.1.)
That’s a good question. You could probably break it down into two questions:
A. Is Houston big enough for two stations that play only new country?
Somehow I doubt that. You see how things went with Young Country (KIKK) 95.7 between about 1998 and 2000 — which is to say not that well, as that only lasted a couple of years before management ditched it in search of something more profitable. Granted, I’d bet a lot of that had to do with people thinking KIKK had turned into a total clusterfuck as it did the fact that people thought KKBQ was better at KIKK’s mission, but either way it’s probably safe to say that country music isn’t nearly as popular as it was in the mid-to-late-’90s, even in Houston.
B. Is the market for the older country music in Houston really that small and unprofitable?
Judging from the ratings for it, you might think so. (Thank you, Peter!) Thing about it is, though, that has at least as much to do with the station’s coverage area as it does the station’s format. According to radio-locator.com, KTHT’s antenna is located all the way up in Polk County, just south of the Livingston Dam — which, practically speaking, makes it more of an East Texas station than a Houston station, as you’ll see on that coverage map if you click on the link. And its city of license is actually Cleveland, if I remember correctly — 45 miles north of Houston on Highway 59 and Highway 105. I listened to 97.1 in the Golden Triangle on a daily basis when I was living there. I don’t know offhand who advertises on it or exactly whom they’re targeting — but they’ve apparently met with some success, as Country Legends just celebrated its 10th year on the air, on a stick that had (according to another poster on that thread) apparently seen quite a few format changes since coming online in 1992.
And, again, if I had to guess, I’d say that the pissing on the grave rebranding of KILT would have more to do with its declining ratings than anything else. At any rate, if another poster on that thread is to be believed, Country Legends isn’t going anywhere. I am glad for that even if I am way out of the coverage area. We could always use more classic country on the dial.