Radio station B101 will be no more on Dec. 26. But it's only the name that's retiring. The station will be known as MoreFM at 101.1.
The format of the station will not change, the DJs won't change, the place on the dial won't change. Just the name.
In a statement, station owner Jerry Lee said that the name change did not reflect poor ratings. And he's right. B101 consistently dominates in the Philadelphia radio market in the ratings, a feat for an independently-owned station.
Instead, Lee thought of the change as a branding update. During market research, station head honchos found that the B101 was strongly associated with artists who are no longer played on the station (Michael Bolton, anyone?). "People still thought we played Celine Dion and Neil Diamond," vice president and station manager Blaise Howard told me. "We haven't played Barbra Streisand since 1995."
A similar move was made in 1993 when the station went from EZ-101 to B101. The station changed formats from an-all instrumental station to adult contemporary in 1988.
Howard said the name-change has been been in the works for about two years, but they decided to make the announcement during the station's annual Christmas music marathon because of their higher-than-average ratings. Howard added that with the name change, he expects a 10 percent bump in ratings.
MoreFM reflects how the station views itself after extensive market research — less talk, less attitude, more music — Howard said.
But what about Buzzby, the station's lovable bee mascot. "We thought it was time for Buzzby to retire," Howard said. "He's moving to Boca."
It's been an interesting week for Philly radio. For more, read up on Glen Macnow's hiatus from WIP.