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November 13, 2004

That's sure not Led Zeppelin

When I moved to Houston over 33 years ago as a young college student, 101.1 KLOL-FM was the rock station to listen to "heavy" rock music as opposed to the "bubblegum" rock music that my little sisters enjoyed. KLOL was the rebel station -- it played Jimi Hendrix while other rock stations were playing the Bee Gees. Cameron Crowe captured this rebel nature of rock and roll wonderfully in his 2000 film, Almost Famous.

My first exposure to an obscure rocker from New Jersey named Bruce Springsteen came from KLOL. Back in the early 1970's, KLOL played some bootleg tapes of Springsteen performing his song "The Fever" at the old downtown bar, Liberty Hall, which was located on Chevenert near where Minute Maid Park stands now.

Over the years, as Baby Boom rockers aged, KLOL became more mainstream, but still retained its heavy metal and "reasonable rebel" format. Thus, as my sons reached their rebellious teenage years, they would switch the car radio to KLOL whenever they wanted to make the point that they were now listening to heavy rock music rather than say, Huey Lewis and the News. It's fair to say that longtime Houston residents who listen to rock music considered KLOL a local institution.

Well, that all changed yesterday, as this Chronicle article reports:

In a clear signal of the growing media clout of Houston-area Hispanics, radio behemoth Clear Channel Communications has yanked legendary rock station KLOL-FM (101.1) off the air and replaced it with a format that radio insiders call "Spanglish Top 40."

The switch took place Friday morning when the new station ? now called Mega 101 FM (with the tag line "Latino and Proud") ? began playing 10,101 songs in a row.

The new format is a mixture of Spanish hip-hop, reggaeton and pop/dance music aimed at listeners between 18 and 34 years old. Music in Spanish by artists ranging from the rapper Pitbull to pop star Shakira will be accompanied by DJs using a combination of English and Spanish.

Shakira rather than Johnny Winter? Longtime KLOL listeners are not taking the change well:

The move caught longtime KLOL listeners by surprise.

"There was no warning at all," said Chris Beck, a 32-year-old cook.

"I'm 35 and it's been on the air as long as I can remember," said a real estate salesman who did not want to be identified. "It's quite a shocker."

He called Clear Channel headquarters in San Antonio to complain and is encouraging his friends to do the same.

When I informed my 16 year old son of the change this morning, his response probably reflects that of thousands of other KLOL listeners from around the Houston area:

"Spanglish? -- I don't think that means we'll be hearing Led Zeppelin in Spanish on KLOL."

Houston's younger bloggers are already all over this format change. Charles Kuffner reacts here, and Kevin Whited's response is here.

As one of KLOL's most played singers would say -- "These times are a'changin."

Posted by Tom at November 13, 2004 7:50 AM |

Comments

I miss the early morning radio gods. Where are they now?

Posted by: Honey Barton at November 15, 2004 10:47 AM

This news is truly too sad.

As I have introduced my sons (ages 15 and 13) to the music archives in our home, I attempted to give them some sense of Texas lore intertwined with the tunes.

When I got to my collection of ZZ Top, I would tell them about the KLOL promo from my days in Houston back in the mid-80's:

"At KLOL, we root for the home team
- the Astros,
- the Rockets,
- the Oilers,
- and ZZ Top....."

Next thing that you'll try to tell me to further destroy Houstonian legend is there really never was "Slime in the Ice Machine" and that Marvin made it all up.....

jrb

Posted by: Jim Bob Baker at November 15, 2004 12:15 PM

Where due we tune now for the rockin music?
What happened to the DJs?
Why were we not told of this change, one day when I turned it on all I heard was spanish stuff, aren't there enough spanish stations - this is america - play our music.
The article I read in Rolling Stone about Clear Channel Communication is ever so true - it is run by people who do not listen to the music of the people.

Posted by: Patti at November 15, 2004 1:21 PM

It is really a shame killing such a great radio station in order to create this ridiculously called "Latino & proud" megastation; how could a Latino (I would rather use Hispanic) be proud of that monstrosity?

I am part of the Hispanic population living in the great Houston area, and I don't think any Hispanic who has any kind of education would even think about listening that ?Chicano subculture's? atrocity.

Posted by: jhs at November 15, 2004 1:43 PM

I think its ok to have a spanish station. There is no need to be racist. Hispanics need entertainment too.

Posted by: Maria at December 21, 2004 5:09 PM

I am a latina and am proud of our MEGA 101 STATION.We as latinos deserve to have our own radio station just like the rap station,country station,jazz station, etc. There are alot of negative comments coming thru from many people about this station and to be honest they are coming thru as racism. This station gives us the right of free speech and it reminds me of the times people were trying to ban rap music.I just believe that Houstonians need to be more open minded.So quit calling our music names and tune in.You'll learn alot about us latinos thru our music!

Posted by: JESSICA at December 29, 2004 3:41 PM

Just thought I'd mention; Christopher Guest didn't make Almost Famous, Cameron Crowe did.

Posted by: Zoso Jade at January 9, 2005 3:33 PM

There is no racism going on within this issue. That is just an excuse to give the latino community something to babble about (sorry, choose another option). Plus, there were 16 other spanish(latino) stations in the greater Houston area before this change occurred. The point of the matter here is simple - CLEAR CHANNEL destroyed a perfectly good radio station. There was nothing wrong with it. ROCK101 was making money, it was NOT a negative cashflow entity. It is like burning down a perfectly good car, or shooting an innocent person. What was the point? It shows that those in clear channel are pretty ignorant about what the community was stable with. There were plenty of other parking spots not even being used on the FM highway. If the new radio station was so certain that it was going to be a MEGA hit, then why didn't they invest the capital in building an up to date headquarters and end up with 2 great stations, and make more money? Someone was definetly a bonified dumbass. And it is not like clear channel doesn't have enough capital. They are already a corportate monster anyway.

Posted by: Brian at January 29, 2005 8:09 AM

Your right this is not about racisim. So maybe instead of bashing the station's crew and music, people should be bashing clear channel and finding a way to stop them. I am from Austin and I like mega 101.1 (internet). I just think the old rock station should not have been replaced. I personally enjoy all kinds of music. One of our hip hop stations was replace with radio talk shows. Needless to say it did not last and our hip hop is back. Unfortunatly, I can't say the same for our oldies station. It was replaced with Bob 103 which plays anything "bob thinks is good". We even have two stations 93.3 FM and 104.3 FM that are the same station! I believe there are too many of the same kind of stations in one city. Most of our spanish stations are Mexico types (Mexico rock and Mexico Bands). There is no variety in our spanish stations (ie.salsa,merengue,dance).

And yes this is America founded by Spaniard Chrisopher Colombus (check your history). And I am a 3rd generation Chicano (American of Mexican Descent). America is not just black and white. It is white hispanic and black hispanic too. Along with many other races who have and still do fight in American involved wars. I should know I served with them. SO BASH CLEAR CHANEL not spanish music or spanish people!

Posted by: Elisa at March 16, 2005 2:13 PM

I couldn't agree more with Brian. I am also a Latina, born and breed in the U.S.A., but my parents are from Mexico. I do agree that you're old radio station KLOL 101 should not have been replaced with Mega 101.Another F.M. radio station could have been used. However, it's not our fault (hispanics) that clear channel decided to do this. I personally like listening to Mega 101, but for the fans of KLOL, I'm sorry.

Posted by: Nancy at April 8, 2005 8:31 AM

I like all types of music because I grew up in a very cultually diverse family. On occassions, (and I still do) I would listen to MIX, KLOVE, Oldies, Norteno, Salsa, Classical, NPR, KTRU, KSBJ, and Rock 101 KLOL. And honestly, the radio station died when Stevens and Pruitt morning show left the show. That was Clear Channel's biggest mistake. After that, the radio show didn't carry its raw and crude (yet hilarious) vibe. Maybe it was time for a change and I think a Spanish Hip-Hop station was the best decision that Clear Channel could have made. A lot of Latinos would agree that many Latinos in Houston were waiting for this type of radio station for a long time.

For all you non-Latinos...Not all Spanish music is Tejano. Just like there are several types of Rock, i.e. classic, hard, soft, 70's, 80's, Monster, there are all types of Spanish music, i.e. Tejano, Cumbia, Salsa, Merengue, Hip-Hop, Reggeton, Norteno, Banda, Bachata, conjunto, mariachi, baladas, folklorico, etc.

Someone mentioned, "It is really a shame killing such a great radio station in order to create this ridiculously called "Latino & proud" megastation; how could a Latino (I would rather use Hispanic) be proud of that monstrosity? I am part of the Hispanic population living in the great Houston area, and I don't think any Hispanic who has any kind of education would even think about listening that ?Chicano subculture's? atrocity."

To the author of this post, what in the hell does being educated have to do with the type of music you listen to? DUH! How educated are you, you close minded loser. I'm sure a lot of professors who are now in their 50's-60's would agree that they, at some point in their life, listened and rocked to great musicians like Pink Floyd or The Dead, Zepplin, while under some sort of mind altering substance. That didn't make them "un-educated" did it?

You're a fool and a disgrace to the Latino culture. DON'T ASSOCIATE YOURSELF WITH THE LATINO POPULATION, PLEASE.

I like MEGA 101. They crew is witty and full of energy and I love the way they are also introducing new comics to Houston. And most of all I love the "crunk-ass" music MEGA blasts. So to all the "haters".....boo-hoo...get the Kleenex out because for the moment MEGA is here to stay.

Whaaaat!

peace out houston listeners!

Posted by: school teacher at August 5, 2005 9:38 AM

i support mega all the way

Posted by: joe at September 2, 2005 12:47 AM

Spanish hiphop isn't reggaeton

Posted by: hiphop at February 24, 2006 3:50 PM

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