This is something I’ve been wondering about, myself.

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.

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5 Responses to “This is something I’ve been wondering about, myself.”

  1. Peter Drysdale Says:

    Here’s a link to ratings I found.
    http://ratings.radio-online.com/cgi-bin/rol.exe/arb033

  2. AeroDillo Says:

    Only two stations playing strictly new country?

    Here we’ve got (that is to say we can pick up) four, including one that displaced a perfectly good classic rock station. Because if there’s anything Waco needs, it’s another outlet for urban shitkicker music.

    To wit, one of ours (I forget which since they all run together) played a block of ‘classic country’ during the lunch hour a while back.

    Tim McGraw, Shania Twain, and Faith Hill.

    I think we’ve reached the nadir of country radio.

    • southtexaspistolero Says:

      Woof. That SUCKS, dude. And is incredibly disheartening, as I remember WACO 100 was actually pretty good once upon a time. I was listening to it between 1998 and 2000 when I was in Bryan-College Station.

  3. mattexian Says:

    I sure hope Classic Country in Houston doesn’t change their format just to be more competitive, as I think they’ll fail, losing listeners to the local stations. Granted, the Houston advertisements I hear on the station don’t do much, as I’m in Beaumont, and ain’t driving that far for a new car from any of the multitudes of dealers. (Crazy aside: 95.7 has put up a couple of billboards in Beaumont, but their signal still sucks, can’t pick it up most days, I have better luck listening to the stations from Lake Charles, and I can think of three offhand.)

    It’s been a couple of years since I’ve listened to WACO 100, but I was pleased by what they played, especially on their “Texas Saturday Night” program (which I listened to on drives between Beaumont and Copperas Cove to visit a dying aunt), and I mainly did that since Texas Mix 105.3 doesn’t have a strong enough signal to cover beyond a Cleveland-to-B/CS area along 105, being based in Magnolia.

  4. southtexaspistolero Says:

    95.7 has put up a couple of billboards in Beaumont

    I read about that! I think they were actually east of Beaumont out in Orange County. Which is just bizarre.

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