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Groove 105.7 goes for personality over music in mornings

This was my weekly print column from a week ago. For some reason, it never posted. So here it is:Groove 1057

FM radio stations typically face two options when it comes to morning radio: focus on music or focus on personalities.

The former strategy is low cost, low risk, modest reward. Hip-hop station 95.5/The Beat and rock station 97.1/The River emulate this philosophy well, playing 10 to 11 songs an hour in the mornings while keeping gab to a minimum.

The latter strategy is high risk, but potentially high reward. The Bert Show on top 40 station Q100 and the Regular Guys on Rock 100.5, which play little or no music, are the financial engines for those particular stations, with deep listener loyalty that’s hard to duplicate.

New dance-pop station Groove 105.7, which boogies from disco to Prince to Lady Gaga, last week launched a personality-packed syndicated morning show led by veteran jock Elvis Duran. The high-energy show features phone pranks, celebrity gossip and topics such as the merits of spanking your child and getting into a fight to defend your girl’s honor. Mornings still feature tunes, but just five or six an hour.

“More music” fans on the AJC Radio and TV Talk blog were not pleased. “If I wanted to hear mindless banter,” wrote Frank Butler, “there are plenty of morning talk show idiots in this market to choose from… Sadly, what made 105.7 different is now suddenly gone… and so am I.”

The downside to music: competition isn’t just another radio station but Pandora or people’s iPods. Personalities are unique.

Groove program director and on-air jock Duncan (he only goes by one name) based his decison on Duran’s track record. “He’s done well in other markets,” he said, “and has been a top show in New York for 14 years.”

Syndication is a product of our times. It’s usually cheaper and easier to launch than local morning shows. Atlanta is littered with recent local failures such as Zakk Tyler on Dave FM and the Morning Mess on Star 94.

For morning shows with no recognizable name, it can take two or more years to build a sizable audience. That was the case with the Bert Show and the Regular Guys. “You have to give us a chance,” said Duran, who worked in Atlanta briefly at Z93 in the late 1980s when it was top 40.

But the Groove is going to have a tough time breaking people’s habits in a brutally competitive market. Competing teams such as Cindy & Ray on Star 94, Steve & Vikki at B98.5 and the Bert Show have been around for years.

Duncan said he isn’t expecting Duran to take off immediately. “We’re kind of early in the station’s growth cycle,” he said. “It’s hard to say which choice is better. You go with your best educated guess. But there are far more examples of shows like Elvis winning than examples of straight up music.”

13 comments Add your comment

Michael

January 25th, 2010
3:32 pm

Count me among those who prefer music over mindless banter and who have turned of the Groove for my morning drive.

e+mc2

January 25th, 2010
7:27 pm

well i will be impressed if clear channel gives this show time to catch on. so far i like what they’ve done with the format. love the 105 minutes at lunch

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Jerry

January 26th, 2010
8:29 am

radio station is great
the morning show sucks!
I listen to 97.1 or cd’s on the way to work.
I posted on 105.7’s web site but of course I have not heard back. I challenged them to put up a poll on the site asking people what they thought. I guess they are scared to hear the truth. Maybe dumb jokes and prank phone calls work in NY….but this is ATL. All we want is music. And before anyone ask…yes I gave the show a chance and listened the first week. It sucked all 5 days!!!!!!!

Teeia

January 26th, 2010
12:09 pm

I haven’t heard the show in Atlanta, but I remember it well from my days in New York. Can’t say I’m likely to listen, but It’s great to see them here and I wish them luck. If the Bert show can make it here, Elvis definitely has a potential audience in Atlanta.

RC

January 26th, 2010
12:49 pm

I which the stationed would have stayed latin with Viva 105.7! Unfortunately now this station basically plays the same songs as Q100. Like ATL needed ANOTHER one of those.

PTC DAWG

January 26th, 2010
3:04 pm

hear this, if you have mindless banter in the AM, you have NO SHOT at bending my ears.

CD player

January 26th, 2010
3:41 pm

Music, traffic, a little bit if news. Maybe a funny gag every now and then. That would work. Love the station in the afternoon, wish I loved it in the morning.

speedygirl

January 27th, 2010
10:34 am

Please shut up. I enjoyed the station A LOT MORE when it was music only.

ray

January 27th, 2010
12:51 pm

Bad move, Groove. You are almost the best station in Atlanta, except for mornings, in which now you are among the many worst stations in Atlanta. That’s right, sadly, ATL’s morning radio shows are very weak, and the Groove’s new offering adds to that weakness.

Rodney

January 27th, 2010
8:30 pm

Scarier, I think, are the people who enjoy “phone pranks, celebrity gossip and topics such as the merits of spanking your child and getting into a fight to defend your girl’s honor.”

I have LOVED 105.7 for the past few months but now, well … I just won’t listen in the morning. Hope someone making the decisions over there trolls the blogs and see that most people feel the same way.

mr. sarcasm

January 28th, 2010
4:44 pm

ooh phone pranks?!! i’ll definitely listen now!!!

ROBB

March 8th, 2010
8:39 pm

I’m SO lovin’ The Groove (Atlanta!). Takes me back to my “Z93″ days… One of the most hilarious eras of my life (LOL — gotta be a friend to understand that)! Fun stuff! LOVE IT.