Posted on November 15, 2004

KLOL Goes From Rock To Latino Format (Houston), Nov. 12

An end of an era for Houston radio came Friday.

What has been Houston’s rock station for decades is now “Mega 101, Latino and proud.”

That’s right, Rock 101 made an abrupt format change Friday to bilingual-speaking radio.

There was no warning, and the station’s listeners were caught off guard as they tuned into the station.

Houston commuters accustomed to KLOLs morning rock, heard quite a different sound coming from their car radios Friday.

Houston’s longtime rock station has undergone a significant format change.

Up until 10:00 a.m., hard rock ruled. Then the station switched to a bilingual combination of Spanish hip-hop and pop-dance music.

At the Guns and Ammo store, owner Jim Pruett, a former DJ at the station, says — like many longtime listeners — the change came out of nowhere.

“This is a traumatic shock for the entire Houston area. I’ve had nothing but phone calls this morning saying, ‘Hey, I grew up with that station.’ I have to tell them I grew up on the station,” he says.

Pruett says he helped launch the station back in 1970 and eventually became half of the popular morning team of Stevens and Pruett for years.

“It’s a sad day for Houston radio, and I miss those days when it was more local and more involved with the community” Pruett says.

Clear Channel Radio owns the station and managers say the target demographic is young Hispanics ages 18 to 34. They said the overnight change was the only way to do it.

“Whenever you switch, even if you spend a couple of days saying goodbye, it’s always going to be difficult transition,” says Alfredo Alonso, of Clear Channel Radio.

Clear Channel says this is the first station to adopt this format and the change is permanent, in an effort to reach Houston’s growing Hispanic audience.