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  1. #1

    Default Final Listen 89X, CIDR; First Listen, Alt 98.7, Virgin Radio

    From Radio Insight:

    The format change announcement at CIMX (89X) Windsor/Detroit fell into the “sad, but not entirely surprising” category. In the early ‘90s, 89X had been one of the first success stories as the “New Rock Revolution” snowballed. In recent years, it had been an Active Rock station competing with heritage rocker WRIF. 89X was now the station with the sweep starter that began with an audio clip of somebody asking, “what’s up now, bitches?!” While these anxious times have been good for Active Rock radio, WRIF never seemed particularly vulnerable.
    The surprise was the announcement shortly thereafter that Triple-A sister CIDR (The River) would be changing formats, too. In many ways, the River was the true successor to the female-friendly, pop-leaning station that 89X had been in its early days. The River was the station that still played Our Lady Peace, one of the Canadian alt bands that 89X had fostered. It was the station currently playing Twenty One Pilots. The River was also a station that occasionally played pop titles, such as recent Maroon 5. In the last hour before its format change, it played “Here” by Alessia Cara.
    89X and the River adapted their most recent approaches around the time that both stations stopped subscribing to the Detroit ratings, closed their Detroit sales office, and began focusing entirely on Canada. There were a few holdover elements, though. 89X still identified as “Windsor/Detroit,” and on the legal ID I heard, it sure sounded like the word “Windsor” wasn’t as loud. Also, 89X still had special dispensation that allowed it to play 20% Canadian music instead of the usual 35% required elsewhere.
    There was likely a viable alternative station to be created by merging 89X and the River. Instead, The River became CHR Virgin Radio while 89X took Bell Media’s Pure Country brand. Windsor already has a Country station in addition to two from Detroit, but Bell has national franchises with both formats, and has launched Country in other markets like Ottawa or Kingston, Ontario, that already had Country. Instead, Entercom’s WDZH (The Breeze) became Alt 98.7 minutes after the flip. (WRIF, meanwhile, played Offspring’s “Gone Away” at Noon, followed by Alice In Chains’ “Down In A Hole.”)
    During its nearly 30 years in Alternative, 89X had withstood three format competitors, proving, among other things, that its Cancon requirement (albeit modified) was not a vulnerability. The first was WPLT (the Planet) in 1996 which later went Classic Alternative in 1999, followed by*WXDG (The Edge) in 1997, and later, iHeart’s Alt 106.7 (now Classic Rock WLLZ) in 2017. Each of these stations lasted two years. But in the market where the White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army” amassed—a song that helped steer the format from Active Rock back to true Alternative—there should at least be room for one Alternative station.
    It’s also worth noting that the Virgin Radio launch gives the Motor Cities two CHRs again for the first time in several years. I’d like to think of the new station as a sideways successor to international CHR AM-era powerhouse CKLW (now a successful N/T station for Windsor in the same cluster), but it’s billed as “Windsor’s New No. 1 Hit Music Station” and making no overtures toward Detroit. It’s also on the frequency that had been playing 40% Cancon, not 20%.
    We’ve got a lot of “Final Listens” and “First Listens” to do. Here’s 89X at 3p on Tuesday, November 17, before the change was announced. The station’s Jay Stevens was filling in on afternoons in the middle of an 89-minute music block:

    • Falling In Reverse, “Popular Monster”
    • Soundgarden, “Pretty Noose”
    • Asking Alexandria, “They Don’t Want What We Want”
    • Royal Tusk, “Die Knowing” (Canadian)
    • A Day To Remember, “Resentment”
    • Korn, “Freak On A Leash”
    • Thousand Foot Krutch, “Move” (Canadian)
    • Bad Wolves, “Killing Me Slowly”
    • Foo Fighters, “Shame Shame”
    • Seether, “Same Damn Life”
    • Beartooth, “You Never Know”
    • Tool, “Prison Sex”
    • Autumn Kings, “Power” (Canadian, and a Windsor band)
    • Smashing Pumpkins, “Disarm”
    • Breaking Benjamin, “Far Away”

    Here’s the River, from the same hour:

    • Ria Mae, “Bend” (Canadian)
    • Marshmello f/Bastille, “Happier”
    • 10,000 Maniacs, “Because The Night”
    • Our Lady Peace, “Thief” (Canadian)
    • Imagine Dragons, “Believer”
    • CAAMP, “Peach Fuzz”
    • Sam Roberts, “I Feel You” (Canadian)
    • Police, “Every Breath You Take”
    • Twenty One Pilots, “Level Of Concern”
    • Scott Helman, “Wait No More” (Canadian)
    • X Ambassadors, “Unsteady”
    • Of Monsters And Men, “Visitor”
    • Strumbellas, “Young & Wild”

    Here’s the first 45 minutes of the new Alt 98.7, which exited the Breeze’s holiday format from the Carpenters, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” mid-song. The sweeper before the White Stripes announced “former 89X listener: we are here for you.” The station also had Alt 98.7 jingles within the first half hour.

    • Eminem, “Lose Yourself”
    • White Stripes, “Seven Nation Army”
    • Foster The People, “Sit Next To Me”
    • MGK f/Blackbear, “My Ex’s Best Friend”
    • Imagine Dragons, “Radioactive”
    • Juice WRLD & Marshmello, “Come & Go”
    • Twenty One Pilots, “Ride”
    • Everclear, “Father Of Mine”
    • Powfu, “Coffee For Your Head”
    • Lit, “My Own Worst Enemy”
    • Billie Eilish, “Therefore I Am” (staged as a Radio.com “Music Discovery”)
    • Fall Out Boy, “Sugar, We’re Going Down”

    Here’s the new Virgin Radio, which launched jockless with a 93-minute music block:

    • Dua Lipa, “Don’t Start Now”
    • 24KGoldn f/Iann Dior, “Mood”
    • Justin Bieber f/Quavo, “Intentions”
    • Sia, “Cheap Thrills”
    • Jawsh 685 x Jason Derulo, “Savage Love”
    • Loud Luxury f/Brando, “Body” (Canadian)
    • Billie Eilish, “Therefore I Am” (like Alt 98.7, staged with an artist drop from Eilish)
    • Harry Styles, “Watermelon Sugar”
    • Lizzo, “Truth Hurts”
    • Lewis Capaldi, “Before You Go”
    • Ed Sheeran & Justin Bieber, “I Don’t Care”
    • Rihanna, “Pon De Replay”
    • Shawn Mendes, “Wonder”
    • Drake f/Lil Durk, “Laugh Now Cry Later” (Canadian)
    • Camila Cabello f/Young Thug, “Havana”
    • BTS, “Dynamite”




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