If you’re flipping channels today and hit 102.9, you might hear some hip hop music. It’s a new station called Streetz 102.9. It’s actually a simulcast of the HD2 channel on 105.7 and has no jocks or commercials for now. (Hardly anybody, though, listens to secondary channels on HD since few people have HD radios.)
The signal is far weaker than that of rivals Hot, 95.5/The Beat or V-103 but based on spot listening by readers of radio-info.com, they can hear it in West Cobb and Lithonia. I was able to hear it okay in East Lake but it’s fuzzy in the office here in downtown Atlanta on my headphones. Steve Hegwood, a former exec at Radio One (which owns Hot), is rumored to be involved but I just got his response from the intercom at the entrance of his office in downtown Atlanta: “I have nothing to do with it.” He then hung up.
They have a web site up at www.streetz1029.com with no details but a live stream.
Tom Taylor, who writes a daily radio newsletter for radio-info.com, wrote today that “Streetz” is a translator. The FCC allows stations to simulcast other signals through a translator. Extreme Media Group owns the station and purchased it for $235,000, Taylor wrote. Gleaned from the Web, Extreme Media Group, which supposedly has the LMA for 102.9, is at the same address as Hegwood’s office.
-Despite rough economic times, WABE-FM exceeded $1 million ($1,034,385) in pledges for its spring fundraising campaign, up nearly 12 percent from last spring.
“I’m truly blown away,” General Manager John Weatherford said. “We’ve now been in a period that isn’t paper losses. People are losing their jobs. We thought the spring pledge was going to be far more impactful on individual giving than it turned out to be.”
And given that most pledges are now paid via credit card, virtually all of that money will be collected. The final tally: 10,618 donors gave money, up from 8,514 a year ago.
Weatherford said they have stopped announcing a pledge goal in dollar amounts. Instead, they asked for 10,000 donors. They also stopped asking for a minimum amount of money. As a result, people were giving $5 or $10.
Usually, the fall campaign raises much more money than the spring. This year, the spring numbers were virtually identical to last fall.
Individual contributors provide about half of Public Broadcasting Atlanta’s $11.5 million budget, which also includes PBA 30, the TV station. Corporate underwriting is down, however, more than 10 percent year over year.
“We are working to hold expenses,” Weatherford said. But the good news is no staff cutbacks.
The station is also doing consistently in the ratings, ranked 14th in February, according to Arbitron.
- 790/The Zone loves to promote itself and will occasionally do a wacky stunt to get attention. For a week starting April 27, the Zone is going to outdo itself by having all its radio personalities live for a week in one large home, with “Big Brother” cameras and free booze. (Mike Bell is going to be a happy man!). Listeners will get to vote who will get to live in the master bedroom. Otherwise, folks will be randomly rooming together. Think “Old School,” the movie.
Cody Hicks and Leslie Smith, the promotions folks, said they’ve been talking about doing this for four years, taking an idea from a Dallas sports station. They only now have been able to wrangle a home and get all the radio talk show hosts to cooperate. If it works, they said, they might try to do it every year.
“We’re intrigued by the possibilities,” said morning co-host Chris Dimino. Then again, he cracked, “it’s going to be one of my great nightmares.” He noted that “the good news of being an adult is you can choose who to live with. In this case, not so much.”
Bell, who already lives a “frat boy” lifestyle, tries to pollute his strait-laced radio partner David Pollack to no avail and doesn’t expect the house experience to change things. “I may bring some chicks over,” he said, “but David may try to minister them instead.”
-Praise 102.5 and its listeners raised $210,000 last week for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. That’s down from $280,000 in 2008.
- WSB-TV is airing a special at 8 p.m. April 15 about how to prepare yourself for tornadoes, since this is the active season for tornadoes. “Are you ready? Are you prepared? Get some life-saving advice,” said producer Dorthey Daniels, who thought this would be a good preventive news you can use show and will highlight work done by the Georgia Emergency Management Agency. I guess this beats airing a new episode of “Scrubs,” which is bumped until 2:05 a.m.
-WGCL’s Steve Schwaid sent me an email noting that while NBC’s WXIA has been doing some “good news” stories recently, WGCL has been doing so for even longer, soliciting good deeds from viewers.
- HBO has renewed “Eastbound & Down,” the comedy that is inspired partly by Atlantan and former Braves reliever John Rocker.
-NBC’s ambitious yet pretentiously portentious drama “Kings” starring Ian McShane has been a ratings bust on Sunday nights so the network has bumped it to Saturdays for its remaining eight episodes. It did the same to “Crusoe” last fall.