For the second time in ten years, Kansas City’s most-enduring Classic Rock station, 99.7 KY, has bitten the proverbial dust. The original KY-102 was born in 1974, and dominated the airwaves by the end of the decade and well into the ‘80s. KY—btw, NOT named after the lubricant jelly—was our Album Rock champion (back in the days when they actually did play entire albums), and so many of us grew up with the station that it felt like a death in the family when the corporate suits killed it in late 1997 and changed to a “Modern Rock” format (which lasted all of a year before being changed again). Meantime, KY was resurrected down the dial at 99.7 a few months later with more or less the same on-air staff, and all was well again—for a while, anyway. Their ratings were fairly dismal at the time of the first switcheroo, and they never really improved afterwards. KY rested on its own laurels and the station got stale, with only their longevity to hang their hat on. They stuck with the same tired morning show team far too long and the station just took its audience for granted. As of the last ratings period, they were ranked 17th overall—in a 20-station market! To wit, KY's demise was not only inevitable, but totally justifiable.
Now the format is being changed to something called “Quality Rock”, whatever that is. The station will be called "The Boulevard" and will supposedly feature the likes of Tom Petty, U2, Dave Matthews Bland, David Bowie, et al—essentially only Rock people who get nominated for Grammy Awards. Sounds more like "The Dead End Street" to me, therefore I won't be tuning in...
Meanwhile, KY’s second demise feels more like “Oh well, whatever...” than a death in the family. Classic Rock on the radio (as I like to hear it, anyway) has been dead and gone for years, and I’m totally bored with both KY and our other Classic Rock station, 101-The Fox, which have practically identical playlists (i.e., the same 500 songs over and over). Thus, I’ll have no problem catching all those Boston and Mellencamp songs played ad nauseam over at 101, which is more or less the KY Graveyard anyway, as 3/4 of their on-air staff are ex-KY jocks. The only reason 101 outdrew KY in the ratings is the yearly bounce they get from carrying Chiefs games (although this year the bounce was more like a muffled thud). This is what happens when radio stations are run by corporations instead of people who actually give a shit about the music.
Click here for further commentary from the guy who I really think made KY what it was back in their heyday, Mr. Randy Raley.
On my way to work this morning, I tuned in KY before the format change had taken effect, and sure enough, I came in right during the organ solo of Boston's "Smokin'"! Seemed only fitting—one more for the road, huh?
R.I.P., KY (1974-2008)